Friday, 28 August 2009

Confusing Youngers

Slow. I am. Bit. We've been there before. Finally spotted what Younger were up to.

Younger's logs span two pages. Two to four lines per brew. To help people like me who take separate photos of each page, the beer name is recorded on both pages. Except often it's crossed out and another name substituted. XX became XXX. 3 became XXPS. Then I noticed what they were up to.

Take a look:

Do you see? It makes my life bloody difficult. But it gets worse. Much worse.

I'll tell you about that tomorrow.

Did I mention I'd finished Volume IX of my Mini Book Series? "Trips! (South)" Pages (exactly how many I can't recall) of South German fun. There's a copy for whoever best explains what Younger were doing. Based on that image. Above. Obviously.


Ed said...

I can't really make it out but did they have some unusual barrel sizes - half and quarter hogsheads?

The Beer Nut said...

Were they watering it: "liquoring back"?

Ron Pattinson said...

Beer Nut, that's part of it. There's a whole list of stuff they were blending in after fermentation. Any guesses as to what, other than water, that was?

The Beer Nut said...

"Pruss"? Prussic acid, for that yummy almond flavour?

Ron Pattinson said...

Beer Nut, I think not, somehow. Any other guesses?

Barm said...

Liquid smoke to give it the authentic peaty flavour?

Barm said...

Seriously, is that "Press" rather than "Pruss"? Liquid extracted from the hop press?

First Stater said...

I will guess they pressed the spent but saturated mash grains and added it into the boil kettle.

Ron Pattinson said...

First Stater, no, that's not it. This was somnething done at the end of primary fermentation.

The Beer Nut said...

Deep frying?

Gary Gillman said...

They added compressed (pressurised) air to assist the liquoring-back process.


Kristen England said...

Yeah, looks like press to me also. I've found a few other references to using the hop 'pressings'.

Gary Gillman said...

I did a little further reading and thinking. My suggestion of use of compressed air is, I think, right.

But it may not have had to do with blending the constituents, fermented beer, water, maybe caramel or some other permitted additive. (The idea was suggested to me by the practice of using compressed air to mix effectively different whiskies).

Air pressure was a common way to dispense beer in Scotland. Maybe the finished blends were charged with compressed air before barreling for this reason. That now seems the most likely explanation to me.

Compressed air is used in refrigeration equipment too, so perhaps the temperature of the tanked beer was kept low through some use of compressed air.

I think the explanation must be one of these but pressurisation to assist beer dispense is perhaps the most likely.


Ron Pattinson said...

Gary, slight problem with the compressed air theory - whatever "Press" was it was added in quantities measured in barrels. And it was only added to a couple of the beers.

It has to be something liquid.

Gary Gillman said...

I saw that Ron but assumed compressed air was kept in barrels, as in tanks today. But maybe I am wrong.


Graham Wheeler said...

I am unable to decipher that log, and I can not be bothered to labour over it, but one thing that is important is that we are now in the racking hall, which is not the same thing as the fermentation room. The heading "cleansings" gives a nod-nod wink-wink, as to why there are some impossibly high final gravities in some of Patto's other postings.

If a brewery cleansed in the traditional manner, then the stuff was dropped from the fermentation room, to the racking room (the cleansing room at a big brewery) at half-gravity or possibly third-gravity. What the brewer noted in his logs was the gravity he dropped at (or attemperated at before dropping), not the final gravity of the beer, which accounts for some of the high final gravities shown in some other stuff. Once it goes down to the racking hall, in a big brewery at least, it probably does not figure in the brewer's log, but is the realm of another departmental manager.

Bateman's, for example, were still cleansing in trade casks until the late 1950s. From local photographic evidence, I think Brakspears were probably doing so too.

Kristen England said...

Barm and I are correct as I said before.

Check out Wahl 1902 pg 672. Goes on about hop pressing and hows its done. Also says that its not great and describes a 'hop sparging apparatus' to use instead.

Ron Pattinson said...

Graham, I disagree that the FG's I've been listing are unrealistically high. True, they might be a point or two off, but not much more.

Take a look at the cleansing gravities - most are about a quarter of the SG. And I have a cross-check, too. I've plenty of analyses from Whitbread of Younger's beers at time of sale. There isn't a huge difference from the cleansing gravities.

A Barclay Perkins log from the 1930's very handily gives both cleansing and racking gravities for all their beers. The cleansing gravity is between 2 and 4 points higher than the racking gravity.

So yes, the finished Younger's beers would have had a lower FG than I've shown. But not by a great amount. I'm not going to make up an FG and the cleansing gravity is the only hard number I have.

Gary Gillman said...

I read the Wahl & Henius paragraph to which you refer, Kristen. As I read it, they are talking about compressing boiled hops to extract their absorbed wort. They say the liquid produced is added to the "wort" by which I take it, this is a pre-fermentation step.

Yet I understand the account being discussed is post-fermentation and indeed post-cleanse. Are you saying that this unfermented wort was added to finished beer? (Not in itself unreasonable if the beer was intended to ferment a second time, plus a fresh hop or concentrated hop flavour would be added, but at first blush it did not seem to me that this is what W&H were saying at any rate).


Barm said...

Were they priming the trade casks with unfermented wort from the hop press? Why would they add this stuff?

Kristen England said...


The logs are awkward but when you look they usually go form L-R with the process.

If you look they use the term 'ullage'. It means the 'empty' space in whatever vessel. That with the 'pressings'...all in volumes no doubt tells me its about whats being blended with what.

Graham Wheeler said...

Well, I have to bow to your research, and it has taught me lots, but I will say that the Whitbread Gravity Book makes far more sense than some of the brewer's logs that you have published. Depending upon date, ..... Sod it I will not bother with that.

cleansing two to four degrees above ... On what planet do you reside. No Way!

Ron Pattinson said...

Graham, take a look at a post I'm about to make. It's the cleansing/racking gravities of Barclay Perkins beers in 1936.

Ron Pattinson said...

Graham, I would also add that FG's vary much more than SG's. In the logs, they often vary by 3 or 4 points. And in the Whitbread Gravity Book you see the same thing, especially in draught beer.

But you are correct that the real FG of the Younger's beers would have been lower than I've indicated.

Ron Pattinson said...

To be honest, colour worries me far more than FG. With Younger's beers.

Though their Stouts had some interesing ingredients. As we should find out on Wednesday. If Kristen does his thing.

Graham Wheeler said...

I too am rather flummoxed about colour, in the Whitbread Gravity book at least.

One of the problems of the old Series 52, brown scale, colour glasses is that there was not enough red in them for dark beers, giving colour matching errors. Whitbread overcame this by using red glasses in conjunction with the brown glasses. Adding the densities of the glasses used should give you the colour density of the beer. The colours have never seemed right to me.

The EBC glasses were introduced to correct the red deficiency by incorporating red into the EBC glasses. The scale was also realigned slightly.

In one of your very recent showings of the gravity book; Scotch ales 1925+ you can see the Whitbread transition, in the 1950s, from the Series 52 to EBC. The colour approximately doubles suddenly. At most I would expect a difference of a couple of points.

This seems to indicate that Whitbread were using a non-standard path-length in their Series 52 colour determinations, perhaps half-inch rather than the one-inch standard of the day.

Either that or I am missing something really obvious, but it does explain why colour has bothered me on occasions.

Some of the colours in the "Let's brew Wednesday" posts also confuse me, but that is probably a different story.

The Americans still use the old Series 52 glasses to this day, and at half-inch path length too. I wonder if they bother to stack a red glass in front for dark beers.

Ron Pattinson said...

Graham, Whitbread generally used a 1 inch cell. Except for Stouts, when they used a 1/16 inch cell.

I would love to know how to convert the old colour measurements into EBC values.

Kristen England said...

There is no conversion. I've talked with a professor in the US that does light optics stuff with physics and on the side he does beer colors with his fancy equipment. The problem he said is that they are total different measurements that the current ones. He said there is no 'correlation' and what I would have to do is use their technique on new current beers where the current EBC is known and then 'back calculate'.


John Keeling had a very good point about the color of beers. Even if you hit the logs right on there could be colorants they add in the cask that would never be in the logs.

Graham Wheeler said...

Yes, the brewers can use whatever cell that brings the density down to within range of the colour glasses, which in the case of S52 range between 4 and 30 units. They either use an appropriate cell size or dilute the beer in the case of a very dark beer (or both).

However, after the measurement they normalise the result mathematically to represent a one-inch cell. In the case of the 1/16th inch cell, they would multiply the result by 16 to arrive at the true 1" reading.

To convert between S52 and EBC I use:

EBC= S52*1.345-0.61

Perhaps my confusion with the 1925+ Scotch ale Whitbread gravity list is that maybe I am not comparing like with like.

If, however, we assume that the McEwan 1088 stuff of 1950 is the same as the McEwan 1088 stuff of 1955, then adding the red and brown of the 1950 sample gives us an S52 of 46. Using the above formula gives an EBC of 61, which is close enough to 65 to not matter. Indeed it is well within the limits of human visual colour perception when one considers that they are two different sets of colour glasses that do not match.

I must say that the colours in the example are very dark for "Scotch Ales". 95EBC for the John Smiths is approaching the colour of Guinness.

Graham Wheeler said...


It depends upon what you mean by "no conversion". The formula I gave previously is pretty close I believe, certainly close enough for all practical purposes. It gets a little more complicated for dark beers in reality, but any error is much less significant in darker beers, so I did not elaborate.

They are only optical densities for heaven's sake. If the worst comes to the worst, just shove the glasses into a photometer and measure their densities and use a lookup table for conversion.

The S52 glasses range in one unit steps between 4 and 30, so you only need a 26 row table. This would give bang-on conversion for beers up to about 40EBC, the area where colour differences are most noticeable.

Of course there is more red in EBC glasses, so there could be errors of the odd EBC unit or two due to humans perceiving some colours to be brighter than others of similar density, but the red is only significant in darker colours and S52 is not very good at dark beers anyway - hence the red glass that Whitbread used up until the 1950s.

Another problem is that the S52 glasses were devised in 1885 and do not track modern photometric optical densities particularly well. This too was corrected for in the EBC glasses.

In the American situation this gives the dilemma that an optical comparator is used for malt colour measurement (because photometric methods do not work well for malt), but use a photometric measurement for beer colour (SRM), and the two do not track. American home brewers tend to treat Lovibond and SRM as equivalent, but they are far from it. However, a formula similar to the one already given can compensate for that.

Indeed, American home brewers have screwed up beer colour in other ways, namely by often using the Morey equation to predict beer colour, which in turn is based upon the data of Dr. Fix's flawed Michelob experiment. Unfortunately, such absurdities have found their way into popular brewing software, such as Beersmith and Promash. Surprisingly, apart from the occasional muttering on forums, few people seem to have noticed that the colour predictions are miles out, which indicates to me that beer colour is not that important to home brewers anyway.