Saturday, 12 November 2011

How to Manage the Brewing of One Boll (part two)

Hey, hey, hey as Crusty would say. Today's when we get the details of the parti-gyling combined grist brewing. Bet you've been waiting for that all week.

After the Strong Ale come two more: the inspiringly-named Middle Ale and Table Beer. I wonder if reading descriptions like the one below is what has confused everyone about parti-gyling? It's a huge mistake to extrapolate domestic practice into commercial brewing. If only because the laws governing the two were quite different. When this passage was written, for example, the use of sugar was prohibited in commercial enterprises. That's one of the reasons domestic brewing hung on for so long: it was as fettered by government regulation. Being able to use ingredients forbidden  to professionals could give the domestic brewer a price advantage.

That's enough of me rambly preambling On with the main course:
"While the boiling of the first wort has been going on, the second wort for the middle ale has run from the mash-tun, and is now in the underback; its strength has been tried with the saccharometer and noted down, and two pailfuls of it are ready to be poured into the boiler the moment it is empty, to prevent the copper from being injured by the fire.

After the first wort has boiled from an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half, and been treated according to the above directions, the fire must be completely damped and the furnace door thrown open. The piece of canvass must be fixed on the straight tap of the boiler as directed in page 639, and must be allowed to hang down into a large hair-sieve, placed above the tub which is to receive the wort, in order to keep out the hops. Open the tap, and let a person keep stirring the wort while it runs off, to prevent the hops from subsiding to the bottom of the boiler.


The moment the copper is empty, let the two pailfuls of the second wort be poured into it. Put in the rest as quickly as possible, and put into the copper other two pounds of fresh hops, reserving the hops which came off with the boiled wort for the table-beer. The strong-ale wort must now go into the coolers, and should not exceed in depth four or five inches.

Stir up the fire, and let the second wort boil briskly for one hour and a half. After the wort has boiled one hour, put in a half pound of fresh hops, and, in twenty minutes after this, cool some of the wort to 60°, and try its strength with the saccharometer. Should it stand 57 on the instrument,-—that is, one pound and two-thirds of saccharine matter to the gallon, or 50 pounds more of the extract,—put into the boiler sugar to bring it up to 74. If there are 30 gallons of wort, 15 pounds of sugar will do this. After the sugar has been boiled a few minutes with the wort, draw off the contents of the copper as before, and distribute it in the coolers. This should make ale equal in strength to that which is sold by the Edinburgh brewers at £3 per hogshead, but, from the addition of the sugar, lighter and more delicate in flavour.


As soon as yon have drawn off the second running from the boiler, pour into it the table-beer wort, having previously tried its strength with the saccharometer; and put in with it the four pounds of hops boiled in the first copper. It must boil two hours. If, as we supposed, 84 pounds of the saccharine matter were extracted from the malt in the first wort, and 50 pounds in the second, (134 pounds,) the remaining saccharum in the mash will amount to about 16 pounds,—and it may not be possible to extract all this in the process. When the wort begins to boil, make five or six gallons of it to percolate through the 2.5 pounds of boiled hops from the second copper, to extract the ale-wort from them. Then drain these hops well, and, throwing them away, return the strained wort to the copper. After the wort has boiled in all an hour and three quarters, I cool some of it to 60°,—try its strength with the saccharometer, and add sugar to raise it as high as you wish. The strength of the wort will perhaps not be more than from 30 to 34, and a. half-pound of sugar per gallon will give an additional gravity of 17, which will raise it to 48 or 50. If then there are 16 gallons in the copper, add eight pounds of sugar. This will form a light refreshing drink during dinner, and when you are not inclined for the middle or strong ale.

See that of each kind of ale you have two gallons more than your casks will contain when the ale is put into them; for it will continue fermenting two or three days,or longer, in the casks; and a good deal will be thrown off in this process, which must be supplied regularly from this extra quantity. In case of shortcoming after all, it is well to have a few extra gallons of the table beer. You can then fill up the strong-ale cask with the middle ale, and the middle-ale cask with the extra table-beer."
"The cook and housewife's manual" by Margaret Dods, 1847, pages 647 - 648.

One point worth noting from the first paragraph: they're using a direct-fired copper. But doing their best to avoid caramelisation. I just thought I'd throw that one in.

The Middle Ale also gets two hop additions: two pounds at the start of the boil and another half pound 30 minutes before the end of the boil. The second wort is boiled longer than the first, but not by much, just 15 minutes or so. No evidence here of long, caramelising boils. Probably because it would have been a waste of fuel (and money).

Middle Ale similar to £3 Edinburgh Ale? Let's see what William Younger's 60/- was like in 1847.

Two and a half pounds of hops for half a hogshead is the equivalent of 3.33 lbs per barrel. That's quite a lot for an Ale of this strength. Younger's 60 bob only got 1.13 lbs. Though that was lower gravity than 1074º. It was closer to the gravity here before the addition of sugar, namely 1061º.

The process of hopping the Table Beer is intriguing. The spent hops from the Middle Ale are sparged with the Table Beer wort to extract the absorbed goodness, but are then thrown away. Only the 4 pounds of spent hops from the Strong Ale are used. Why not boil all the spent hops? There must have been a reason why they didn't.

As with the first two beers, the gravity of Younger's Table Beer is about the same as the one in the text before the addition of sugar: namely 1033º. 1048º to 1050º seems rather strong for Table Beer. Funnily enough, Younger's Table Beer was more heavily hopped than their 60/-: it had 1.33 lbs of hops per barrel. And not second-hand ones, either. I'll let you decide if a beer of 4.5% ABV is a  "light refreshing drink during dinner".

See how a few gallons extra of each wort were collected? For topping up during the cleansing process. How did they store this wort? Wouldn't it start going sour if left unfermented? Unlike at a commercial brewery, this topping up is the only time different-strength worts are mixed.

Still fermentation to go. On the off chance any of you are still awake after the first two instalments. I know I'm struggling to keep my eyes open and I'm writing this stuff.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps if all the hops were boiled the resulting small beer would have been just a little too bitter. The hops from the large beer would have had much less bitterness extracted during there boil due to the density of sugar being higher.
The storing of the extra wort to top up could have been solved in various ways. Either a small seperate fermentation to reduce the risk of infection, or possibly if beer was being brewed regularly enough then wort from seperate batches could have been mixed.

Ron Pattinson said...

Anon, domestic brewing was not a daily, or even necessarily a weekly thing.

Interesting point about the hops. Has anyone ever looked into hop re-use? Younger had Stouts with only spent hops. How would that taste?

Rod said...

"The hops from the large beer would have had much less bitterness extracted during there boil due to the density of sugar being higher"

No - I don't think that the amount of sugar in the wort affects the amount of alpha acids extraced from the hops during the boil does it?

"Younger had Stouts with only spent hops. How would that taste?"

I don't know, but perhaps the re-used hops are being used in the boil purely for their preserving qualities, rather than bitterness, in the same way that some Belgian Lambic breweries, such as Cantillion, only use 3 year old hops, for the bacteriostatic function, rather than bitterness.
Just a guess...