Monday, 2 May 2011

Mr. A. Henius speaks.

I'm revisiting a very early post. One about Barclay Perkins Lager. At the time, I couldn't be bothered to transcribe the text and just posted page images. This is your lucky day, because I've finally got my finger out.

The Mr. Henius in question was Barclay Perkins head Lager brewer. He was brought in from Denmark. Was he related to the Henius in that comedy double act, Wahl and Henius? The article appeard in Barclay Perkins inhouse magazine.

Address to Maidstone Rotarians

THE brewing of beer is one of the oldest industries in the world, Mr, Arthur Henius told the Maidstone Round Table, on Monday, May 27th, when he spoke on "The brewing of lager beer."

The brewing of beer could be traced back 6,000 years, he said, when brewing began in Egypt and contemporaneously in China and Japan. At that time no hops were used, but barley, honey and herbs, especially ginger, were the ingredients. It came to France and the British Isles about 2,000 years ago, and thence to Germany and Scandinavia.

The use of hops could be traced back 2,000 years, when they were first used in the brewing of beer in Finland. England did not use hops until 1524, but afterwards Parliament prohibited their use, and later permitted their use again. Bohemia was the first country really to cultivate hops for business purposes. Lager beer really meant stored beer, and was a German expression. Englishmen wrongly called it only lager, but on the Continent it was only called beer. Its manufacture could be traced back only 120 years and first began in Bavaria, in Southern Germany.

Ingredients Practically the Same.

The ingredients were practically the same as for ordinary ale, namely, malt, hops, yeast and water, but the process of brewing was different. Fermentation took about two weeks, whereas in ale and stout three to four days was the period of fermentation. Lager beer should be stored for at least four months at freezing temperature.

When lager beer goes on to the market it should be kept at a cold temperature, but the difficulty here in England was that they would not do that; 50 per cent, served it just like English beer, and that was the reason why it was not so good here. Lager beer was drunk all over the world, except in Great Britain. When he was in America, said Mr. Henius, they sold 66 million barrels of lager beer, and only 100,000 barrels of ale and stout. Lager beer was not exposed to the air from the minute it came from fermentation until it was drunk, but goes into sterilised casks. The alcoholic content of lager beer was 3.5 to 4 per

Hops do not Strengthen Beer.

Mr. J. S. Lock, who accompanied Mr. Henius, answered several questions. Hops, he said, had nothing to do with the strength of beer, but were employed for three purposes: To give a pleasing aroma to the beer, to give it a bitter taste, and also as a preservative.

Mr. Lock also told of the work of the chemist in a brewery. His utility was employed in various ways: In determining the best type of fuel to employ, in advising the brewer as to the barley he is buying, and the hops too. One farmer in Kent every year sent samples of his coal to him, said Mr. Lock, which he intended to use in drying his hops, in order to determine whether it contained any impurities which might contaminate the hops in the drying process.

In answer to another question, Mr. Lock said it was his opinion that the hardness or softness of water had much to do with the character of the type of beer. A farming member of the Table asked Mr. Lock why brewers in this country seemed to prefer foreign barley to barley grown in England.

Use of English Barley.

Mr. Lock, replied that it was due to the English climate. The brewers must have sun in their barley, so that a certain amount of foreign barley was essential. About two years ago the Chancellor of the Exchequer entered into a sort of unwritten agreement with the brewers, that the latter would increase, wherever possible, their percentage of home-grown barley, and in his experience, said Mr. Lock, the brewers had fulfilled that up to the hilt, and were using the maximum of home-grown barley.

The Chairman was Tabler Haydn Parker, and the speakers were thanked by Tablers Drury and Wilson.
"The Anchor Magazine", pages 194 - 195.

Not so sure about some of those numbers: "66 million barrels of lager beer, and only 100,000 barrels of ale and stout" That figure for ale and Stout looks way too low. Surely Ballantine alone brewed more than that?


JessKidden said...

What's the year on that article? 66 million US barrels wasn't reached until the early 1940's according to the Brewers Almanac.

Ballantine's production in 1938-1940 era was around 1.3m bbl., and it was claimed (in the 1938 Fortune Magazine article) that was about 75% ale (mainly XXX Ale- I suspect their other top-fermented beers- IPA, Brown Stout and Porter - were marginal sellers). So, around 1m bbl. from Ballantine alone.

The other ale brewers (predominantly in New England and other Northeastern states) were quite small by comparison. Croft, out of Boston, claimed to be the largest ale brewery in the US with the best selling ale mid-1934, with a capacity of around 250,000 bbl expanded to 500k.

American Brewer magazine's "25 Years of Brewing" estimated that US ale production was 15-20% of the total in the early post-Repeal years, and was down to 5% a quarter of a century later when US barrelage was in the 90m bbl. range.

Ron Pattinson said...

JessKidden, I think the article was published in 1936.

The Ale number just seemed so obviously wrong. I thought you'd have some more reliable ones.