Sunday, 14 September 2008

Ale Brewing circa 1850 (part three)

Here are the remaining instructions on how to brew Ale 1850's style.

This was a very important process, intended to remove yeast from the wort. Beer was transferred from the fermenting tun to cleansing casks. As it began to ferment again, beer would be forced out of the casks and into stillions. During the the first 8 or 9 hours, the fermentation would be vigourous enough to require refilling the casks with the beer that had overflowed in the stillions every hour. As the fermentation slowed down, refilling would only be needed occasionally. (Source: "The Brewer" by William Loftus, 1856, page 50.)

Beers were usually cleansed within three days of the start of fermentation. (Source: "The Brewer" by William Loftus, 1856, page 50.)

When fermentation in the cleansing casks had ceased, the casks were left open to allow the beer to lose its CO2 before racking. The beer was left to stand for 7 or 8 days during which time the yeast would gradually settle to the bottom of the cleansing cask. When clear, the beer was racked into new casks, leaving the sediment behind in the cleansing casks. During racking, mild Ale fresh from cleansing could be mixed with old Stock Ale, in a proportion of 2 parts mild to one part old. (Source: "The Brewer" by William Loftus, 1856, page 50.) The casks were bunged shut, but were vented as the beer began to condition. After a few weeks, it was ready to be drunk. (Source: "The Brewer" by William Loftus, 1856, page 51.)

supply of Stock Ale was maintained for blending with fresh beer. One method of accomplishing this without wasting space or time was like a solera system. A vat of beer of moderate age was divided over two vats which were then filled with young beer.The old and young beers blended better if the fresh beer was added through a tap at the bottom of the vat. This process was repeated every four to six months. In this way steady supply of Stock Ale of a constant quality was always available. (Source: "The Brewer" by William Loftus, 1856, pages 52-53.)

Beer could be encouraged to age more quickly by adding the spent hops from two or three brews. The hops also helped to clear the beer. (Source: "The Brewer" by William Loftus, 1856, page 53.) In April, pouring a couple of pints of olive oil on the surface of the beer in a vat to helped seal it off from the air and prevent it spoiling. (Source: "The Brewer" by William Loftus, 1856, page 53.)

The maturing vats were airtight and only the best malt and hops were used for beers to be aged. (Source: "The Brewer" by William Loftus, 1856, page 56.)

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