Thursday, 9 April 2015

Brewing in the 1950’s – how to lay out your brewery (part two)

We’re looking at the cooling end of the brewing operation this time. It’s so exciting. I can barely stop myself from weeing my pants.

Remember that we’d got as far as wort receiver. This is what came below that:

“Directly below, again, will be the refrigerators. In an up-to-date brewery, these will almost certainly be of the totally enclosed type. Where refrigerators of the older, open type are used they should be housed in a completely enclosed room supplied with purified air. Means will have to be provided, in these cases, for getting rid of the steam.”
"Brewing Theory and Practice" by E. J. Jeffery, 1956, page 23.

In old-style refrigerators the wort flowed over the top of the cooling pipes, totally exposed to the air. That’s why Jeffery recommends placing them in a sealed room with the air flow controlled. Otherwise there would be a risk of infection.

It seems that back before WW I, brewers relied on high ABV and high hopping to quite a degree. Doubtless they had to tidy up their practices after gravity and hopping rates fell because of the war. I can imagine that the transition was a difficult one.

Here’s an explanation of how cooler and refrigerator worked in tandem to cool the wort to pitching temperature.

“A word of explanation may be added here as to the terms 'cooler' and 'refrigerator' as used in a brewery. The old type of shallow vessel into which the wort was discharged from the hop-back, was called the 'cooler'; in it the wort cooled from the nearly boiling temperature (say 180°-190° F.) at which it left the hop-back, to a moderate temperature, say 120°-140º F. The wort was cooled here simply by loss of heat to the air and to the vessel. The wort then passed to the 'refrigerator' by which it was cooled by water to the required final temperature of 60ºF. This piece of plant, therefore, is not what is popularly understood, as a refrigerator. With the elimination of the open 'cooler' the 'refrigerator' is responsible for the whole cooling operation.”
"Brewing Theory and Practice" by E. J. Jeffery, 1956, page 23.

Remember the word is “cooler” not “coolship”. And that a refrigerator in a brewery isn’t a fridge.
I love the detail with which Jeffery describes the fermenting equipment:

“Finally come the fermenting vessels and racking backs.”
"Brewing Theory and Practice" by E. J. Jeffery, 1956, page 23.

Next time it will be more ranting about coolers.

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