I've written before about the exchange of ideas, styles and techniques between the USA and Britain. It's a fascinating topic and one that has been much neglected. Ask yourself this, how was it that American breweries came to brew IPA? The name didn't exist at the time of independence. It's a sign that developments in brewing in Britain were still having an impact in the USA more than 50 years after it became a separate country.
By the end of the 19th century, the traffic was mostly the other way, with American brewers pioneering new techniques. One in particular was to have an enormous impact on British brewing: chilled and carbonated bottles beers. We'll be getting to that in a while. The article in the Journal of the Federated Institutes of Brewing I found when looking for stuff on bottling contains more. Much more. It's essentially a snapshot of American brewing techniques in the 1890's. And because we're seeing it through the eyes of outsiders - a British brewer Horace Brown on a study trip - everything gets explained. Including the stuff that would have seemed self-evident to an American brewer.
Brown seemed quite impressed by his American colleagues:
"The Americans are essentially a practical nation, and, as a rule, trouble themselves far too little about first principles, bat they make up for these deficiencies to some extent by their willingness to make experiments on a large scale, by the fearless manner in which they attack new problems, and by the entire absence of that extreme conservatism which generally characterises the pure empiricist in all the older countries.
In the mechanical arrangements of their breweries, and in the introduction of the best labour-saving machinery and appliances, the Americans are unquestionably far ahead of us, and the remarkably ready manner in which they can adapt their processes to the changing requirements of a community must strike all who have seen anything of their manufactories, a great contrast to the painful slowness with which any new idea is turned to practical account with us.
"Journal of the Federated Institutes of Brewing", Volume 3, Issue 6, November-December 1897, page 468.
A British brewer going to study developments abroad wouldn't have happened in the first half of the 19th century. Then the traffic was the other way around, with Continental brewers like Dreher and Sedlmayr visiting Britain to catch up with the latest advances. There seems to have been a big change towards the end of the century. British brewers became very conservative and set in their ways, where a few decades previously they had led the world. Though I suppose the same is true for many other industries.
Brown continues with a description of the types of beer brewed in the USA:
"Broadly speaking, there are two great classes of beer brewed in the United States, "lager" and "ale." The "ale," as with us, is the product of a top fermentation, and although it is almost unknown in the West, where lager has undivided sway, it still holds its own in the New England States, and far from being played out, as some would have us believe, will probably receive a stimulus from the improved methods of manufacture now coming in, which will enable it to enter into competition with lager, even in the West, that stronghold of the low fermentation beer."
Journal of the Federated Institutes of Brewing, Volume 3, Issue 6, November-December 1897, page 468.
Brown then goes into greater detail on the types of Ale brewed:
"Up to recently, the ale brewers produced only about three qualities of ale, one, which we should call a "running ale," but which is there known as "present use" or "lively ale;" a so-called "still ale;" and a "stock ale." By far the greatest amount of trade was, and in fact still is, done in the "present use" or "lively ale." This is of a gravity varying from 21 to 24 lbs. Long, and is brewed very much on the lines of an English running ale, but since they require in America an extremely high state of condition, it is racked at about one-third of the O.G., and is generally primed or "kräusened" heavily, and stored for about a week at 60º F. the krausening consists in adding up to 20 or 25 per cent, of fermenting wort, with the object of producing a very vigorous after-fermentation, which must be sufficient to develop a cask pressure of from 80 to 100 lbs. on the square inch. This pressure of from 5.5 to 6.5 atmospheres of course necessitates extremely strong casks, and is sufficient to force the beer from the basement cellar to the saloon bar, which may be several stories above, and to completely empty the cask without any artificial aid in the way of pumping or air pressure. Such beers, as may be well imagined, are seldom quite bright when treated in this way, but they carry an enormous "head," without which they appear to be quite unsaleable.
The so-called "still ales" are brewed very much on the same lines as the "lively ales," but are attenuated somewhat lower, and as they are not kräusened they only acquire an amount of condition about equal to the most lively beers of this country. The stock ales are of higher gravity, and are matured in the cask for from 9 to 12 months; they very much resemble some of our English stock ales."
"Journal of the Federated Institutes of Brewing", Volume 3, Issue 6, November-December 1897, pages 468 - 469.
"Present use" is a term that was also used in Britain, though it's more common early in the century. Basically, it was the equivalent of Mild Ale, though with a particularly American twist. 21 to 24 lbs. Long is 1058 - 1067. That's a little higher than English X Ales of the time, as you can see from the table below. They were in the range 1050 - 1058.
|English X Ales 1894 - 1900|
|Date||Year||Brewer||Beer||OG||FG||ABV||App. Atten-uation||lbs hops/ qtr||hops lb/brl||Pitch temp|
|24th Dec||1891||Barclay Perkins||X||1058.0||1015.8||5.58||72.78%||5.93||1.45||61º|
|5th Jun||1900||Barclay Perkins||X||1052.8||1010.0||5.67||81.11%||8.01||1.75||61º|
|7th Jul||1894||Truman||X Ale||1056.5||9.0||2.19||60º|
|Fullers brewing records held at the brewery.|
|Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/01/063.|
|Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/1/587 and ACC/2305/1/593.|
|Truman brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/175.|
I'd noticed kräusening in the records of Amsdell, a brewer in Albany, New York. I'd wondered why they'd adopted such a typical Lager technique for the brewing of their Ales. This explains it: they wanted a huge amount of CO2 in the beer. I assume that this method was replaced by simple external CO2 pressure. Having that much pressure in casks sounds scary. I guess they must have pitched the inside to make them airtight. Otherwise the pressure would just leak out.
I just happen to have details of Amsdell's kräusening:
|Amsdell kräusening details|
|date||year||gyle number||beer||barrels||C removed||kräusen added||when kräusen added||added at racking||barrels racked||when racked||date||year||gyle number||beer||kräusen removed|
|1st Oct||1900||56||XX||167||46||11th Oct||7||204||12th Oct||11th Oct||1900||58||Winter Stock||46|
|9th Oct||1900||57||XX||169||27||49||12th Oct||7||196||13th Oct||12th Oct||1900||59||Scotch||49|
|11th Oct||1900||58||Winter Stock||260||46||0||0||235||3rd June|
|12th Oct||1900||59||Scotch||249||49||59||16th Oct||7||261||17th Oct||16th Oct||1900||61||XX||59|
|15th Oct||1900||60||XX||162||57||18th Oct||8||222||19th Oct||18th Oct||1900||62||Polar|
|16th Oct||1900||61||XX||209||59||49||19th Oct||8||191||20th Oct||19th Oct||1900||63||XX||49|
|18th Oct||1900||62||Polar||209||57||0||0||159||5th - 15th Nov|
|19th Oct||1900||63||XX||352||49||104||23nd Oct||8||403||25th Oct||23nd Oct||1900||65||XX||104|
|22nd Oct||1900||64||XX||191||0||62||25th Oct||8||178||26th Oct||25th Oct||1900||66||Winter XX||62|
|23nd Oct||1900||65||XX||356||104||70||26th Oct||7||330||27th Oct||26th Oct||1900||67||Scotch||70|
|25th Oct||1900||66||Winter XX||392||62||101||29th Oct||8||392||30th Oct||29th Oct||1900||68||XX||101|
|26th Oct||1900||67||Scotch||255||70||66||30th Oct||8||256||31st Oct||30th Oct||1900||69||XX||66|
|29th Oct||1900||68||XX||282||101||58||1st Nov||8||226||2nd Nov||1st Nov||1900||70||XX||58|
|30th Oct||1900||69||XX||368||66||97||2nd Nov||8||394||3rd Nov||2nd Nov||1900||71||Polar||97|
|1st Nov||1900||70||XX||389||58||103||5th Nov||8||399||6th Nov||5th Nov||1900||72||XX||103|
|2nd Nov||1900||71||Polar||305||97||0||0||189||19th - 27th Nov|
|5th Nov||1900||72||XX||265||103||60||8||233||9th Nov||1900||74||Winter XX||60|
|Amsdell brewing records.|
And here are some of those figures re-arranged to show the percentage of kräusen added:
|barrels||kräusen removed||kräusen added||% kräusen|
|Amsdell brewing records.|
It's funny that the "Still Ales" had condition equal to the liveliest English Ales. That gives some ides of how fizzy the "Lively Ale" was. I suppose this was a reaction to the greater CO2 content of Lager. I'd love to know when Ale brewers started kräusening. Probably when Lager became popular.
It sounds as if the Stock Ales were the most similar to their English counterparts. 9 to 12 months in cask is pretty impressive. Though I know, for example, Ballantine, a famous Ale-brewer in Newark, New Jersey, were still bulk ageing beer long after the repeal of prohibition.
Next time we'll be looking and chilling and filtering beer.