Thursday, 14 December 2017

Inversion

I was so excited at finally getting my hands on some Newark brewing records that I initially missed something.

There's a section in the Warwicks brewing records that I've never seen before, titled "Inversion". It might sound a bit odd, but once I'd spotted it, I immediately understtod what it was. They were inverting sugar themselves:


The example above is from a Mild Ale and the suagr in question was something called "Glebe".

This next one is from a brew of Double Stout and in this case the sugar was "Trinidad".



The name Trinidad implies that this was cane sugar. I'm not sure why some beers used one type of sugar and others a different one. Especially as both were being inverted.

Obviously, you need the acid to invert the sugar, so that's no surprise. I'm not so sure why the chalk is there.

The Double Stout inversion, despite using only about 25% less sugar, had far less water: 8 barrles as opposed to 18 barrels. Which would have produced a thicker, higher gravity invert. Would it also produce a darker invert? Everything else looks the same: the time, quantity of acid and quantity of chalk.

I've read in brewing text books about brewers making their own invert. But that's a good bit earlier than this. With commercially-made invert sugars readily available, it seems odd that Warwicks were still making it themselves in 1910. Seems like a lot of extra trouble.

13 comments:

Bacon said...

I think the chalk is added to stop the inversion process before all the sugar has been inverted. Chalk is a base, so would neutralize the acid and stop the conversion process (if I understand the process correctly). As I recall, the same thing is done when making Golden Syrup, which is only 50% invert sugar.

Ed said...

The chalk would be to neutralise the acid after inversion

InSearchOfKnowledge said...

I think the solution to your answer is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_sugar_syrup#Inverting_sugar, but I think I also read it on other places. When conversion is ready the solution is neutralized using chalk. I just searched further and saw also a reference to this on https://www.google.it/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwirk5bumInYAhVNZFAKHbHeDAIQFghOMAU&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.homebrewtalk.com%2Fforum%2Fthreads%2Finvert-sugar-creation-use-flavor-etc.224699%2F&usg=AOvVaw0aTG86Dn1q-Lf5xdK9ejrW.

StuartP said...

Adding chalk at the end is a cheap way to neutralise the acid you added earlier.

Phil said...

As for Glebe sugar, my guess is that they were talking about this place.

(I had the same thought about chalk being alkaline, but it's nice to have it from people who know stuff.)

Robert Pugh said...

It's obviously a guess but Glebe looks like a sugar refiner so perhaps one was refined sugar and the other was some kind of unrefined, or less refined, sugar syrup (less water used because there was already some in the sugar).

Robert Pugh said...

"The duties on sugar were abolished in 1874, and there was no duty for 27 years thereafter. An increased consumption naturally followed, and so greatly were Greenock refineries affected that in 1881 the meltings were 260,299 tons, the largest figure they have ever reached. Of this, no less than, 100,000 tons were beetroot sugars, principally from Germany, while of 220,000 tons melted in 1890 213,000 tons were largely German, the remaining 7000 tons having come from Java. It was the Glebe Refining Company , who in 1891 offered the first strong practical opposition to the flood of beetroot, and so skilfully was the assault conducted that Messrs Kerr's cane sugar enterprise became a brilliant success."

http://www.mawer.clara.net/greenock.html

Michael Newman said...

As others have said the chalk neutralizes the acid but it then precipitates out and can be removed from the final product.

I quess Glebe was refined sugar and formed a light coloured invert whereas Trindad was raw sugar giving a dark and flavoursome invert.

Interesting find!

Martyn Cornell said...

One other interesting point: that's clearly a printed, commercially available brewer's record book, with the various headings for the inversion process pre-printed to be filled in by whichever brewer bought the book - implying that inverting your own sugar was common enough for some manufacturer of record books to consider it worthwhile to supply something that would spare brewers the drudgery of writing out all those headings themselves. That makes it somewhat surprising you've not seen this before …

Ron Pattinson said...

Martyn,

I've seen so many different format brewing books that I think brewers got them printed to their own specifications. There are some general types of brewing book, but every brwery's seems to be slightly different.

Ron Pattinson said...

Robert Pugh,

so Glebe were refining cane sugar. Good to know.

qq said...

@Martyn - I'd guess they were custom-printed, it seems to have been quite normal to do that back in the day. There are a few places where the practice continues, normally the archives of traditional-minded places that aren't too sure about the durability of the modern fad for electricity.

I wonder if there was something about the way the economics worked when sugar was under heavy duty but allowed for commercial brewing (ie 1847-1874), that made it particularly attractive to invert your own? Heavy taxes often lead to people doing things they wouldn't normally, to take advantage of loopholes in imperfect legislation.

TeleCustom72 said...

Hi Ron, could you scale down these two invert sugar recipes to a homebrew scale please? Maybe enough to make 1L. Would be great to try making this based on actual brewing records. The stuff I’ve made so far was ok, but the Ragus brublock is worlds ahead in flavour complexity.