Saturday, 26 September 2009

Fermentation rooms at Truman's Burton brewery

This may well be of limited interest to you lot. A bit specific and all that. For me, it's fascinating. Probably because I've spent the last week with my head stuck in logs from Truman's Burton brewery logs.

"As we descended, by an open staircase, on to the floor of the fermenting room, we were struck by its noble proportions and elegant appearance. It is decorated in blue and red, and the floors are composed of iron plates. The vessels are ranged in three divisions and there are altogether thirty-six squares, somme constructed of slate and others of copper and timber, many of these vessels being used for skimming beers, and contain attemperators and parachutes for conducting yeast into troughs below. The total content of these fine vessels is 3,000 barrels. Here we saw the beer in several different stages. In some vessels the fermentation showed a cauliflowered head, others a rocky one, and in a third, a close yeasty head was seen. As we progressed through these avenues of vessels we had a peep of the union room beneath, through the perforated iron plates of the floor, and we noticed here and everywhere else fire mains running along the walls, the stop cocks and hose in every room for use in case of fire.

The union room, which we next visited, is the largest in the place, measuring 2220 feet and, as will be seen from our illustration on the next page, is of handsome proportions. On the asphalte floor are fixed several rows of stanchions and frames, constructed of timber resting on iron columns, forming several long avenues, whereon are placed as many as 320 union casks. Thy are divided into 20 separate "sets", the casks of each set communicating by pipes running alongside and capable of holding one brew or "gyle". From each cask rises a bent copper tube or "swan neck", through which the yeast, produced by fermentation in the cask, is foced up into the trough above, leaving the beer "cleansed" and in a finished state ready to be run down to the racking rounds below.Like the fermenting vessels in the room above, these casks contain attemperators for controlling the fermentation."
"Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. I" Alfred Barnard, 1889, pages 221-224.
3,000 barrels sounds a lot. The normal brew length was 130 - 150 barrels. But, having several mash tuns, there could be as many as 5 brews in one day. Or 750 barrels. So those fermenters only had a capacity for about four days of brewing.

There will probably be more of this. Stuff about Truman's brewery in Burton. I did mention this blog was my notebook, didn't I?


Gary Gillman said...

Ron, all fascinating and Barnard is a hard book to find (I never have or not at a price I would pay). One thing if you see it that would interest me and many here I think is any consumer-style taste notes from him, I know he did give some for some beers tasted.

There are few modern-style taste notes in the 1800's literature, you can sometimes piece one together from various statements but it is always interesting to find one from then "complete", e.g., when he said a 2 year old strong ale had a Madeira odour.


Ron Pattinson said...

Barnard is way too expensive for me. But there's an alternative: a CD version. I got it from Ireland from a place called Archive books on CD which is, I think, run by Trinity College in Dublin. It cost 20-odd for all four volumes.

Gary Gillman said...

Thanks for that Ron.