Tuesday, 23 November 2010

A pure beer brewery in Sheffield (1a)

More from the Departmental committee on beer materials. The interviews are fascinating. Hearing brewers describe their trade fleshes out the brewing records a treat. The passage below provides an insight into how ingredients were selected.

I've seen Bavarian hops many times in brewing logs. But never known exactly why they were being used. I do now.

5946. You say that it is your rule "to purchase all " English malt of fine to finest quality, and selected from  three distinct districts." Why have you specially selected three districts?  —I was advised by a friend of mine, who is a large brewer, when I first took the management of the brewery, to get them from two or three distinct districts; he said : " What you may be deficient in one district, you may gain in another" ; and we now buy our barleys as far as possible from three distinct barley-growing districts.

5947. Have you any objection to specify those districts? —Oh, no ; at the present time we have a contract for malt with a Mr. Haynes, of Ratcliffe-on-Trent, near Nottingham.

5948. A maltster ? —Yes; and we have one with Sandars and Company, of Gainsborough, Lincolnshire.

5949. Also maltsters ? —Large maltsters. Then we buy another portion from Mr. Milnthorpe, maltster, of Barnby-Don, near Doncaster. These are the three districts that we get our malt from.

5950. You buy your malt ready made ? —That is so.

5951. You do not buy the grain and malt it yourselves ? —No.

5952. (Professor Odling.) You do not actually know where the barley itself is grown ? —Well, it always comes out of those districts.

5953. In which the maltsters' places are ? —Yes; of course, it would hardly pay them to get it out of another district.

5954. (Chairman.) It is from information which they give you that you know that a certain proportion of foreign malt is blended with it ? —We buy the foreign malt independently.

5955. And blend it yourselves ? —We blend the malts ourselves.

5956. Where do you get your foreign malt from ? —We buy the foreign malt from Sandars, of Gainsborough, chiefly; we buy California and Smyrna malt, as a rule.

5957. But you do not blend it until it comes to your brewery ?—That is so.

5958. You say you use a certain proportion of what you call choice Bavarian hops ?—Yes.

5959. Do you consider that that is a hop which is conducive to the brewing of better beer than English hops, or is it a matter of economy ?—No, they are fully as dear ; the price is fully as high as that of the best English hops.

5960. You think it adds to the flavour of your beer ? — And to the keeping qualities.

5961. A certain admixture of Bavarian hops adds to the keeping quality of the beer?— We think so; that is our experience.
"Minutes of evidence taken before the Departmental committee on beer materials", 1899, page 227.
Evidence given by George Harston, Managing Director of the Anchor Brewery, Sheffield.

Using a blend of several malts was pretty much standard practice by this point. I'd always assumed that this was to even out the differences in any specific batch of malt,. And it seems I was right. Hooray for me!

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