Friday, 19 September 2008

Ale Brewing in the 1830's (part two)

Here's a little extra for you. Example logs taken from "A Practical Treatise on Brewing" by William Chadwick, published in 1835.

Very revealing they are, too. Quite a handy guide to the world of British brewing logs. Most of the professional ones have the headings abbreviated, often to a single letter. These ones are nice and clear.

The method of noting temperatures is typical. They give the temperature of the water, but not of the mash after it had been mixed with the grains. There is sometimes a second temperature, but this is "Taps". The temperature of the wort when drained from the mash tun. It took me a while to work that one out.

The whole mashing process took a long time, 378 minutes for the Table Beer and 398 minutes for the Table Ale.

I was quite surprised to see sparges in both. Especially the way Chadwick described sparging as some funny foreign process from Scotland. I think the difference is that in the Scottish method there was a single mash before the sparging started. These English logs show three mashes followed by sparges with quite modest volumes of water. For the Table Beer 25 out of the 367 gallons of water used, for the Table Ale 62 out of 425 gallons.

From the small quantities involved, it's clear that these were private brewings. Both were also entire-gyle, that is all the worts were used for a single beer. You'll also note that just one type of malt and one type of hops were used. That's pretty typical for the period. Only Porter grists usually had more than one malt.


B. said...

Ron, could you clarify this process a little? I'm reading from the Table Ale table that they:

-add 190 gallons of 174F water
-mash for 40 minutes
-drain for 110 minutes
-repeat process for two different volumes and temperatures of water
-cold sparge with 40 gallons (drain open the entire time?)
-cold sparge with 22 gallons (drain open?)

Is this correct?

Also, cold sparging seems odd to me. Were they doing this to reduce tannin extraction perhaps? Or were they simply unfamiliar with the process?

Kristen England said...

A lot of the older mashing techniques were used to get every single little bit of sugar out of he grains. Usually at the end of a mash they would have the 'return' which would be a very low gravity wash used for the next batch.

Cold sparging is not really with 'cold' water but is a relative term. However the water comes out of the pipe is considered cold. 'Not heated' sounds so plebiscite. Cool water will definitely remove a good amount of sugars but the removal of tannins from a mash is much more dependent on pH than either temperature or gravity of wort/mash.

There are a lot of breweries that still 'cold' sparge. Its a very simple way to save money.

Ron Pattinson said...

b, what I've read elsewhere suggests sparging with the taps open. Or fly-mashing as it used to be called.

I thought the 100 minutes was standing - leaving the liquor on the mash before opening the taps.

They really did mash three times.

B. said...

Thanks for the responses Kristen and Ron, that makes more sense now. A little searching seemed to indicate that cold sparging is done with just enough water to force the remaining hot liquor out of the grain bed, which would make sense as a cost saving process. It would also explain why the sparge volumes were so low for these examples.