Thursday, 30 September 2010

Coloured Malts

The results of my little poll on articles from the Journal of the Institute of Brewing are in. Guess what won? That's right, coloured malts. How did you guess?

Coloured malts won by a considerable margin, receiving double the number of votes (six) or its nearest rivals (a three-way tie between: non-deposit bottled and cask beers, modern mashing and arsenic in beer).

But I'm not going to dive into the article straight away. I'm going to start with a few details from the Roasted Malt Act of 1842. I'd never realised all these restrictions existed. It demonstrates just how tightly regulated brewing and related trades were in the 19th century.

"AN ACT to provide Regulations for preparing and using Roasted Malt in colouring Beer.

(18th June 1842.)


1. Prohibiting the roasting of malt for sale, or the selling thereof except by persons duly licensed.

2. Roasters of malt and dealers in roasted malt to take out a licence. — Penalty.

3. Duty on licences to be under the management of the Commissioners of Excise, who shall grant the same.

4. Roasters of malt to make entry of their premises and utensils.—Penalty.

5. Roasters of malt to mark their premises and utensils corresponding to their entry.

6. Officers of Excise empowered to enter the premises of roasters of malt.

7. Roasters of malt not to receive any other grain than unroasted malt, and dealers no other than roasted malt.—Penalty.

8. A malt book to be delivered to every roaster of malt and dealer in roasted malt, in which they shall respectively enter all malt received, roasted, and sent out by them.

9. Stock account of malt to be taken.

10. Book may be made up before taking the account, and malt in the cylinders may be included,

11. Malt not to be roasted at night.

12. A certificate book to he delivered to every roaster of malt, and all roasted malt to be sent out by certificate.— Penalty.

13. Brewers intending to use roasted malt to provide deposit rooms in which all roasted malt to be deposited, and the certificate delivered up to the officer of Excise.—Penalty.

14. All malt received by any roaster shall be roasted on his premises; and all roasted malt shall be sent out unground.

15. No roasted malt to be bought of any but a licensed roaster.

16. No maltster at his malt house, or within one mile of it, or any druggist or grocer, to be a roaster of malt or dealer in roasted malt

17. Power of Commissioners to except maltsters whose premises were within prohibited distance before 1st April 1842.

18. Roasters, &c. of malt subject to like prohibitions as to the custody, &c. of certain articles, &c. as brewers of, or dealers in, or retailers of beer.

19. Act may be altered this session."

They clearly didn't trust roasters and maltsters much. Weird that you weren't allowed to roast malt within a mile of a grocer. The similar restriction on druggists makes a chill go down my spine. It makes you wonder what they were getting from druggists to help with malt roasting. Couldn't have been anything pleasant. And I wonder why they weren't allowed to roast at night?


Gary Gillman said...

That's an early measure to prevent pollution and noisome smells I'd say.

Just speaking generally, the measure is typically administrative/regulatory in its framing. The urge to regulate is not new, it goes back centuries and one sees it here in full flower despite the seeming humdrum nature of the occupation.


StuartP said...

I think it intended to mean that a druggist or grocer cannot also be a dealer in roasted malt. Neither can a maltster within 1 mile of his malt house.

Ron Pattinson said...

Gary, I don't think it's an anti-pollution measure. Why just grocers and druggists? They allowed chemical works, steel works and all sorts of much more obnoxious business right in the centre of towns.

Gary Gillman said...

I meant operations at night Ron for the roasting of malt because of the smoke - also too the danger of fire would be greater at night with greater risk of damage to person and property.


Ron Pattinson said...

Gary, but why just grocers and druggists? Why not "other buildings"? It seems very specific.

StuartP said...

I'm sure Mr G Wheeler would put us straight on this roasted malt thing.
Is he still out there?

Gary Gillman said...

Ron, I was talking about your point 11, i.e., in relation to roasters of malt (not druggists and grocers).


Ron Pattinson said...

Gary, I've seen excise rules before. They're purely concerned with stopping anyone dodging tax.

Gary Gillman said...

Well, when was the duty calculated and charged? I doubt it was after kilning, but I don't know for sure (and will check further).

If the duty was already paid before roasting, the pollution/nuisance argument seems reasonable.


Gary Gillman said...

Point 18 in the link below states the malt tax was levied and paid after steeping and a short rest in a dry cistern. This would be before kilning of any kind. Wikipedia gives a similar explanation, in its entry on malt tax, citing various references, and also states that these operations of steeping and couching had to take place in the daytime. And it makes sense why, since preparing malt at night could entail it being further processed without paying the malt tax. But if the tax was levied and paid before nightfall, I don't see how preventing roasting at night would preserve the national revenue. It would be interesting to know if the kilning of pale malt also was prohibited at night, but in any case, so far I don't see a connection to revenue.


Ron Pattinson said...

Gary, it's because they didn't trust the roasters and feared they might start interfering with the malt.

That's the reason why they als insisted that roasted malt was sold unground.