At the north end of this floor, placed in a high part of the roof, there are two large tanks, each holding nearly 30,000 gallons, one for brewing-water, and the other for hot water for washing purposes. Passing down a circular iron staircase (with as many as thirty-six steps) we found ourselves on the floor of the mash-tun stage, a chamber of great height, depth, and width. The floor is constructed of cast-iron tablets, 30 inches square, grooved in circles of 3/8-inch with the same thickness of metal. This formation of sunken circles is to prevent the possibility of slipping. Before making observations on this department we followed our guide through an archway, leading to the water-copper stage, 120 feet by 40 feet.
This hop-back, which is an intermediate handsome copper vessel, 40 feet long and 18 feet wide, possesses a false bottom constructed of gun metal. The wort here gradually drains itself from the hops with which it has been mixed in the coppers, and is pumped to the coolers. In this department, each man has a cabin, wherein he exchanges his ordinary costume for a suit of white flannels, supplied by the firm, and which are washed out at the end of every days work (so particular are they as to cleanliness, etc.) On leaving this gallery or stage we descended to the ground floor, underneath the copper hearth, where there are four large hop-presses, and several smaller ones for extracting the wort from the spent hops, and two sets of three-throw brass pumps, which deliver the wort direct on to the coolers, fixed on the top of the next building. Also, under the mashing room, there are two engines for driving machinery, three sets of three-throw pumps, four ice engines and a set of three-throw pumps for hot water, all to be described hereafter.
"Noted breweries of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. I" by Alfred Barnard, 1889, pages 134 - 138.
I suppose you're expecting me to pick that lot apart, aren't you? Reveal the fascinating facts you might have overlooked. But it's just after christmas and I'm feeling lazy.
Oh, OK then. Allsopp had two hot liquor tanks. One brewing water, the other for washing water. This wasn't unusual. Especially in a Burton brewery, where the very hard water wasn't necessarily perfect for other uses.
A 60 quarter mash tun isn't huge. That's enough for around 250 barrels of standard-strength (for the day) beer. The big London brewers had larger tuns than that. The weekly capacity of 4,000 plus 2,500 quarters is the equivalent of about 25,000 barrels per week. Or 750,000 barrels annually.
Good to learn that they used both an external Steel's masher and internal rakes. Not that it's particularly unusual, but still good to know.
A forty barrel underback? Seems a bit small for a 60 quarter copper. How many chains to the hogshead is that?
The coppers. They look open to me. Now isn't that fascinating?
Hop presses. They were so economic, those Victorians. Extracting every bit of worty goodness the hops had soaked up