Monday, 9 January 2017

Whitbread’s brewery in 1960 (part three)

Mostly just photos again this time. I do like to have some life at the weekend. That’s my excuse for being lazy every now and again. I’ll need to write at least another two posts today. Hopefully before the kids get up at start pestering me for cash.

First, a rather frightening looking piece of equipment:

“Yeast, the vital fermenting agent which turns wort into beer, is now put into a central yeast mixing vessel. This method, which was developed in Whitbread's Brewery, ensures greater control. Until two years ago it was pitched into the fermenting vessels manually.”
The Sphere - Saturday 23 July 1960, page 33.
I guess they mixed some wort with the yeast in that vessel. I suppose it meant a more even distribution of yeast. If you want to see how they did it before, there’s a photo on page 23 of “The Home Brewer’s Guide to Vintage Beer” showing someone tipping a bucket of yeast into a fermenter. Note that it’s taking four or them to work the machine.

This is so weird. I blogged a couple of days ago about Whitbread’s beers at the time this article was written. I mentioned that one beer I knew that they brewed, a Pale Ale for the Belgian market, was missing. Did they brew it elsewhere, or had I just missed it as I quickly skimmed through the logs? Turns out the latter was true.

Peter Symons – whose Bronzed Brews, a book about historic Australian beers and how they related the British beers they were inspired by, I can highly recommend – emailed me an image of Ex IPA this morning. And blow me if it didn’t contain an entry I wouldn’t have understood without this article from The Sphere:

That must mean that they’d done it the old way, with a bucket full of yeast.

“At all stages of brewing, samples are taken for checking. Left: The wort flows first into this vessel where a duty brewer takes a sample in a measuring cup to examine it against a strong light for strength and colour.”
The Sphere - Saturday 23 July 1960, page 33.

I suppose that vessel would be the underback. I can understand that the brewer might be checking the colour. Probably checking for clarity, too. But he wouldn’t be able to check for the strength by eye. Doubtless he had a hydrometer for that purpose.

“Right: A sample is taken from a storage vessel in the cellars.”
The Sphere - Saturday 23 July 1960, page 33.

This looks much more like a modern brewery. Though these are flat-bottomed vessels rather than conicals. What were they storing here? Beer for bottling, according to the text. If they were using the classic carbonated beer method, they’d be cooling it down to precipitate out anything that could cause a chill haze.

A bit more text next. Promise.


Anonymous said...

Off topic, but I thought you might get a laugh out of this bit on "Scotch Ale."

Anonymous said...

Oh dearie me. 'Talk like an expert' :-)