Friday 31 October 2008


Brewing texts, unsurprisingly, emphasise the technical aspects of making beer, Just occasionally, they stray into the world of subjectivity, when they talk about character: the character of a brewery's beer; the character of a type of beer. It always grabs my attention, a glimpse into the soul of the technician; all good brewers have a spark: a passion, a passion for beer. You see it immediately, when you talk to a real brewer; their passion for what they do; it's much more than just a job, brewing. A calling: that's how I'd describe it. Those long-dead technical writers, however hard they try to maintain their rational, scientific persona, every now and then, let their guard slip; their true feelings leak through the pages; flickers of emotion, flaring against a grey background of fact.

I've never hidden my emotions in my writing; facts may impress us, but feelings draw us in.

I started this post with a different destination in mind; a rather dull one, I now realise. One about beer character. But that isn't what matters: the character of the brewer is what really counts; he determines how the beer in your glass tastes, unless the accountants have taken control: then you're buggered.

Not one to release a theme into the wild without a revolver in my ribs, here's what I meant to say. (Apologies if it's an anticlimax; I warned you it had already drifted from my affections, like a favourite pub, badly run.)

Water, yeast strain, mashing scheme, fermenting system, cleansing method. And brown malt. All important for character, according to the old writers.

I told you it was dull.

Mashing with raw grain 1880 - 1914

I've not finished with the late Victorian/Edwardian period yet. Oh, no. Which is probably what you're saying to yourself. What I'm going to describe today, I can't imagine any of you homebrewers having a go at. Why on earth would you want to use raw grain in homebrew? With the possible exception of rice, which was sometimes deliberately used for its flavour (in Germany at least) the only reason for the using raw grain is saving a few pennies.

Just about as soon as it became legal, some British brewers began to use raw grain. Not something to be particularly proud of, but a fact nonetheless. Barclay Perkins, for example. Some of their beers had 10% raw grain, 20% sugar and just 70% malt. That's a similar grist to a DDR Helles.

My source is, again, "Principles & Practice of Brewing" by Walter J. Sykes & Arthur R. Ling, published in 1907.

Mashing with raw grain
Before 1880, the use of raw grain had been illegal in commercial breweries, though some authors had advocated its use amongst domestic brewers.

One method of using raw grain originated in the USA, where grists could consist of 50% raw maize. Maize grits were gelatinised in a "converter" by heating them with a small amount of ground malt to 200º F and keeping them at that temperature for 30 minutes. They were then allowed to cool. The malt was mashed in the standard way and after standing for 60 to 90 minutes the gelatinised maize was added to it. It stood only a very short time before the wort was drawn off, as the gelatinised maize was converted very quickly. Malt made from coarse-skinned barley was used to help filtration in the tun. The malt was dried at a very low temperature to boost its diastatic power. Some British breweries made limited use of this technique.

In Britain it was more common to use raw grains which had already been gelatinised, such as flaked maize, flaked rice or flaked barley. Torrefied maize and torrefied barley were also employed. None of these necessitated a change in the mashing scheme. Between 10 and 20% of the grist could be made up of such material.

In 1900, Barclay Perkins Bitters - PA and XLK - both contained about 10% rice, the darker beers none. By 1910, they had switched to maize, though still only for their pale beers. In 1910 Fuller's grists had between 3 and 6% "flake". Which type of flake isn't specified, though it is clearly some form of unmalted grain, either rice, maize or barley. Whitbread, on the other hand, used no raw grains.

The reason for using raw grain was economy.

"From practical experience one of the authors (A.R. Ling) is unable to recommend unqualifyingly the use of any form of raw grain, prepared or otherwise, as these invariably contain, besides starch, a greater or smaller amount of substances which tend to impair the flavour and stability of the beer. Among these may be mentioned albuminoid bodies which cause turbidity and instability, pentosans which may give rise to thinness and bad flavour, and oil, which, besides imparting an objectionable flavour, exercises a prejudicial effect on the head-retaining properties of the beer. Raw grain cannot be regarded as a malt substitute in the same sense as sugar, the service of which is generally admitted. In the case of the very best beers, any form of raw grain is best omitted altogether, and the authors are inclined to place a limit at which these materials may be used for any description of beer without prejudicing its quality at 10 per cent. of the total grist calculated on the extract yielded."
"Principles & Practice of Brewing" by Walter J. Sykes & Arthur R. Ling, 1907, page 519.
That's pretty clear: don't use raw grain unless you don't mind your beer being crap.

Thursday 30 October 2008

Mashing 1880 - 1914

Here's some more about mashing. In particular, the method where the temperature of the mash is raised part of the way through.

My source today is, I believe, a bit more reliable than Faulkner. It's "Principles & Practice of Brewing" by Walter J. Sykes & Arthur R. Ling, published in 1907. I like it anyway. If only because it has one of the first mentions of brettanomyces in a brewing manual (it was only discovered in 1904).

I've not looked at the theoretical part of the book yet. Maybe they'll prove to be as misguided as Faulkner. They are at least talking about different kinds of dextrin.

In well-equipped breweries, water for mashing was heated in the hot-liquor back. Usual practice was to boil the water the evening before before brewing for 15 minutes. It cooled overnight and needed to be reheated to get to the correct mashing temperature. Boiling ensured that the water was sterile. Most water contained chalk, which precipitated out when boiled, taking with it any organic matter in the water to the bottom of the back. To stop this getting into the mash, the opening through which the water was drawn off was always a few inches above the bottom.

If the water was hardened with gypsum or other salts, it was added while the water was being boiled.

The mash tun was warmed with hot water or steam before mashing started.

The initial temperature, that is the temperature of the mash after the grain had been mixed together, varied depending on the variety of malt being used and the type of beer required. Initial heats varied between 145º F and 145º F. The striking heat, that is the temperature of the water before it was mixed with the malt, was determined by taking into account a number of factors, such as the temperature of the malt and the volume of water per quarter of malt. Brewing manuals contained tables to allow brewers to easily calculate the necessary striking heat.

"Beers intended for storage are, as a rule, brewed from pale malts. These are mashed at a somewhat higher degree of temperature than high-dried malts, for we require, in this class of beers, a fairly large quantity of those dextrins which ferment very slowly, and which, since they provide for a long, slow, continued fermentation, keep the ale (through the period of its storage) charged with gas. High-dried malts are mashed at a somewhat lower temperature, since the beers produced from them are quickly consumed, and here we require a wort which contains large quantities and of those maltodextrins which give fulness and sweetness to the beer. Between these two types of beer, which may be seen as extremes, there are many other intermediate ones that are brewed to suit the particular wants of different neighbourhoods."

As most malt contained more than enough diastase, a temperature high enough to destroy some of it was used. If all the diastase remained active, too much maltose would be produced, resulting in a thin-bodied beer.

Despite all the theory, experience still played a big part. "A delicate appreciation of the right initial heat to be employed with different malts to produce different beers of the required character is only to be obtained by actual experience and is one of those things for which hard and fast rules cannot be laid down."

If the mash tun was fitted with a Steel's masher, hot water, at the correct striking heat, was run through it into the mash tun until it just covered the false bottom. Then grist and water were put through the masher which mixed them together and pushed them into the tun. Brewers learned to be able judge if the proportions were right by observing consistency of the stream as it tumbled into the tun. If it were not quite right, the flow of grain and water could be adjusted accordingly. The Steel's masher was very efficient as it heated the grain uniformly. Which is doubtless one of the reasons it is still in use today.

If the tun had an internal rake masher, the procedure was somewhat different. First a little more water than actually required for the mash, at a slightly higher temperature than the striking heat, was run into the mash tun. When the tun had warmed up, the taps were opened to flush the spend pipes. If the water were still too hot, the masher was switched on and after a few revolutions it would have cooled to the right temperature. The tun was closed and the grain dropped quickly into the water. The rakes were kept turning as the malt was being added at a little less than on revolution per minute. After all the malt had been added, the rakes were kept turning for a further 15 minutes until the grain and water had mixed to an even constituency. The disadvantage of this method was that not all the grain was heated to the same temperature, as it was with an external masher.

The total amount of water needed to brew a beer of a certain gravity was calculated taking into account the water that would be absorbed by the malt (28 to 30 gallons per quarter) and the hops (53 gallons per 100 pounds) and would be lost through evaporation during the boil, cooling and fermentation (around 30%). The amount of water used in the mash was between 1.5 and 2.5 barrels per quarter of malt. As the total amount of water was constant, the thicker the mash, the more water could be used when sparging. A thick mash and generous sparge was the best way of getting the greatest extract from the grain.

After the mash had stood for about 15 minutes, more water, at a temperature 10º to 12º F higher than the striking heat, was added via the underlet. If the tun had a rake masher, this was given 4 revolutions to mix the new water evenly through the mash. In tuns with an external masher, the water was added very slowly so that it could gradually spread through the mash.

There were two reasons for raising the temperature of the mash: to produce a greater proportion of higher maltodextrins; to compensate for poor quality malt. When doing the former, the temperature of the mash was raised to 158º F or more in order to check diastatic activity. The time standing was also usually reduced to just an hour. When compensating for poor malt, the initial heat was very low - 140º to 145º F. After half an hour, the temperature of the mash was gradually raised to 155º F and then left to stand until all the starch had been converted. The mash could be heated either by adding extra water through the underlet or by the use of a heating device within the mash tune, such as a steam coil.

The mash was left to stand until all the starch had been converted. Samples of wort were taken at regular intervals and tested with iodine. As soon as no starch was detected, the taps were opened and the wort run off.

Some breweries still performed a second mash. Around half the brew length was drawn from the first mash and sparge, then a further 1.5 barrels of water per quarter were added to the grains in the mash tun. It was left to stand for 1.5 hours, after which the wort was drawn off and a second sparge performed. While some brewers though this method gave a better yield, many considered it a waste of time. In rare cases, even a third mash was performed.

There's a good example in the Fuller's 1910 brewing log of a mash heated by means of the underlet.

March 14th 1910 Fuller's AK
Ingredients: 27 qtrs pale malt, 2 qtrs flaked maize, 7 qtrs sugar
65 barrels water @ 164º F; initial heat 150º F; mashed 1 hour, stood 25 minutes
15 barrels via underlet @ 175º F; raised temperature of mash to 155º F; stood 80 minutes
sparged with 114 barrels of water at 168º F and 165º F

Using 2.25 barrels of water per quarter of grain, this was a relatively thin mash.
The mashing scheme was quite different for their darker beers:

August 10th 1910 Fuller's Brown Stout and Porter
Ingredients: 35.5 qtrs pale malt, 7 qtrs brown malt, 3.5 qtrs black malt, 2 qtrs flaked maize, 24 qtrs sugar
103 barrels water @ 155º F; initial heat 146º F; mashed 1 hour, stood 20 minutes
15 barrels via underlet @ 175º F; raised temperature of mash to 150º F; stood 100 minutes
sparged with 199 barrels of water at 170º F and 180º F

The initial heat was 4º F lower than for the AK and the mash was left to stand for 20 minutes longer. The temperature of the sparging water was, however, a good it higher.

Wednesday 29 October 2008

Mashing 1850-1880

No more jokes for a while. Not until I travel again. It's back to book extracts, I'm afraid. Today we're taking a look at mashing.

Fascinating subject, mashing. There are so many different ways to mash. I've been really intrigued by some of the older methods, especially the 3 or 4 mash approach. If I were still brewing, I think I'd give one of those a try. Even though it's more work than just a single one-step infusion mash.

The material today comes from Frank Faulkner's "The Art of Brewing", published in 1876. It's a collection of essays originally published in the Brewers' Journal.

Reading Faulkner's theories has got me wondering about the old three-mash method and whether or not that acted in a similar way to a step mash. One method described by Loftus ("The Brewer", 1856) gave these striking heats:

1st mash 178º F
2nd mash 184º F
3rd mash 188º F

Though, of course, the first wort had already been drained off before the temperature was raised. However, some wort would have been absorbed by the grains and so would be heated during the second mash.

The mashing process and the theory behind it were evolving constantly during the 19th century. In 1800, London brewers mashed three times and sparged with relatively modest quantities of water. Picking up on techniques first employed in Scotland, by the middle of the 19th century, many were using a single mash and sparging with a much greater volume of water. Towards the end of the 1800's the simple step method, as described by Faulkner, where there was only one mash hot water was added part of the way through to raise the temperature, came into use.

There was more than one reason for the changes. Brewers were concerned with obtaining the best possible extract from their malt, but were also conscious of the need to speed up the process and to use as little energy as possible. Getting the desired proportion of different sugars in the wort - maltose and dextrin - later became equally important.

Faulkner's theories on mashing
During the mashing process, starch is converted to dextrine and then into sugar (maltose). By controlling the temperature and mashing time it was possible to control the proportion of dextrine and sugar (maltose) in the wort. How much dextrine was desirable, depended on the type of beer being brewed. Beers with a full palate, such as Stouts, and beers intended to be aged or exported, larger amounts of dextrine were benficial. Dextrine would not only add richness to the finished beer, but help to slow fermentation, something essential in a beer that would not be sold immediately. In beers intended to be fermented and sold quickly, relatively small amounts of dextrin were needed.

Worts with large amounts of detrine did not clear as easily nor ferment as readily.

Faulkner made specific mention of the difficulties of getting Stout right: "Much difficulty is experienced by many brewers in obtaining full tasted stouts, the error in the generality of processes being the excessive employment of saccharines; beyond this, the brown malt of a porter grist, besides having a different latent heat, has had its original strach so modified by the torrefication that it has undergone, that if ordinary heats are employed you are certain to procure from it a large proportion of actual sugar; and thus, from one cause or another, your stouts are highly saccharine and yet very deficient in palate fulness."

To get the required proportions of sugar (maltose) and dextrin, good quality malt, the right type of water and careful control of the mashing temperature were essential. Starch was converted into dextrin at one temperature and when the heat was increased dextrine was converted into sugar. By starting the mash at one temperature and then increasing it and leaving it to stand for a specific length of time, the conversion of dextrine into sugar could be controlled.

"You first of all use such a degree of heat as is capable of dissolving disatase, enabling it to convert starch into dextrine; and then you, by a simple addition of a further quantity of liquor at an increased temperature, enable the diastase to induce a further change - the conversion of dextrine into sugar."

Presumably this is why part of the way through the mash water hotter than that initially used was introduced via the underlet. This technique can be found in the logs of Whitbread and Fullers.

According to Faulkner, darker malts such as black and brown cooled mashing water less than paler malts and the same initial temperature could be obtained with a lower striking heat. A thicker mash required a higher striking heat (pretty obvious, as there was less water to heat the malt) and gave a less clear wort. A thin mash produced a clearer wort, but a worse extract.

This was Faulkner's preferred method of mashing when using an external Steel's masher:

"I am in favour of using two barrels of liquor per quarter when through a mixing machine at about 168º, which gives me an initial temperature of of 150º, rising to 156º or 158º before setting tap, and a tap gravity of 33º per barrel [og 1090º]. Now such a mash gives you, I believe, dextrine and sugar in equal proportions, with a satisfactory malt. If the malt is imperfectly malted, your dextrine is in greater proportion, since the diastase has had more work to effect, and you must adopt either some special kind of fermentation to allow of this dextrine being decomposed, or you may keep your wort for some time at a temperature of 170º after it runs from the mash tun, to allow of the diastase exerting its converting power on the excess of dextrine before the power of this converting agent is destroyed by the boiling temperature in the copper, or you may increase the proportion of sugar in your worts by the addition of saccharine."
As we'll see in the next chapter [this is book stuff, "next chapter" doesn't apply here] , "dextrine and sugar in equal proportions" is a bit wide of the mark. The ratio of maltose to dextrin was at best 3:1.

Faulkner's recommendation was somewhat different for breweries equipped with an internal rake masher:

"With rake machinery you mash in with about one and a-half-barrels per quarter at some 162º, and you allow this mixture to stand some thre-quarters of an hour; and then a secondary quantity of liquor, at a much higher temperature than the first, is forced under the false bottom and mixed in by the machinery. . . . If a dextrine beer is required - and I had better remark that it never is wanted in a small brewery - you take a sufficient quantity of second flow liquor at a rate of half a barrel per quarter to bring up the heat of the mash to 156º or 158º, while you stand some hour and a quarter after final mixing is finished, and then, on setting tap, bring the wort to the boil as soon as possible, to destroy the converting agent, and prevent the proportion of constituents being altered. . . .If, on the other hand, a saccharine beer is wanted, your second flow of liquor is taken at such a heat that the initial temperature is raised to 165º or 170º . . . . Time is another important feature. The longer you allow the mash to stand at this elevated temperature the more sugar you will obtain; but you must, on no account, stand so long as to allow cooling down taking place."

With the "saccharine beer" method, it was important to ensure all the starch had been converted before applying the higher temperature water, otherwise starch might end up in the wort. Iodine was used to test the wort for starch as it was run off. If it were present, the wort was kept at 170º for an hour in the copper before being boiled.

Faulkner recommended sparging in the same way, no matter which type of mash had been employed. The sparging water needed to be warm enough to convert any remaining dextrine in the cooler upper portion of the mash to maltose, but not so hot as to dissolve unconverted starch nor destroy the diastase. If the temperature fell too low, lactic acid was likely to form. To satisfy all these considerations, 176º F was the perfect temperature.

Tuesday 28 October 2008

Bokbier Festival 2008

I always go to the Bokbier Festival. Unless I'm out of town, which has happened a few times. Though not with Mike, my usual festival companion. He's away in New York. Not that he would have gone, anyway. He can't stand the festival.

I'd arranged to meet Mikey there at 15:00. I wanted to check out the bookstall and try to taste a couple of beers properly, so I turned up earlier, 14:15.

The bookstall, which you'll find at most Dutch festivals is pretty good. It has obscure second-hand stuff, as well as the more common modern books. Most of it's in Dutch, but there are some in English and German. My problem wasn't so much finding things I wanted as staying within budget. I'd taken out extra cash, but still needed to be careful. That ruled out the technical book, published in the 1920's. Eighty euros was just too rich for me. I limited myself to just five. A history of Westvleteren, one about breweries in Delft, brewery histories of Grolsch and Dommelsch and a book about breweries in Dutch Limburg. Only 70 euros or so for the lot.

Just as I finished paying, I noticed Stephen Beaumont was standing next to me. That's weird. Exactly the same thing happened at the Copenhagen festival "We must stop meeting like this." Is what I should have said. In reality, I came up with the less than imaginative "Hello, Stephen."

I wasn't surprised to see him. He'd told me he'd be in town for the festival. We were soon talking of cocktails, Canadian licensing laws and the humans that threaten the universe. I won't go any further here into exactly those humans are. I'm sworn to secrecy. (If anyone knows where the phrase "the humans who threaten the universe" comes from I'll be most impressed. Especially if they don't resort to Google.)

While we were chatting the bloke who sits behind me at work walked past. He's a PINT member. I've never worked with another beer enthusiast before. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to attract his attention. And dashing away in the middle of a conversation would have been impolite.

At 15:30 there was still no sign of Mikey. Then my mobile phone made a funny noise. Wasn't that an incoming text message alert? I don't use my phone often. I normally don't take it out with me. Only when I'm meeting Mikey. At his insistance. There was a huge queue to get in, the message said. He was in a pub around the corner.

I'd unwisely begun my chat with Stephen before getting a beer. I'd been in the festival getting on for half an hour before having my glass filled with De Lekkere Roden Toren. There was no great deliberation leading to my choice. It was just the nearest stand without a queue. I'm like that. I'd rather have any beer now than wait three minutes for one I really want.

Roden Toren wasn't at all bad. A bit sweet, with caramel, burnt and liquorice flavours. Pretty much the classic Dutch Bok profile.

Don't expect much in the way of tasting notes in this report. Juggling my camera, a bag of books and glass didn't leave many hands for writing notes. And the fact that there were only three seats and two tables. I exaggerate slightly about the lack of seating. But only slightly.

Next I bumped into John Clarke. He was there with a bunch of Stockport CAMRA people. They come to all the Amsterdam festivals. Both the Amsterdam festivals, I should say. The Bokbier and Meibok. They had seats. Squeezing up, they managed to fit me in, too.

In the remote possibility that you might be interested, here are my pathetic tasting notes:

Phoenix Bok: sweetish with some liquorice. OK if not overly exciting.

Drie Horne Horne's Bok: smells a bit like solvent. Strange.

Bokkendonk: like pear drops, but pleasantly fruity.

Zwarte Schaap: smells like carrots.

John mentioned a pub that had supposedly recently vamped up its beer selection: Batavia on Prins Hendrikkade. "I know that pub. It's a nice Art Deco job. Nect to the catholic church. Never been in it, though." We decide to give it a try when all our tokens were done. We'd all started with 11 tokens. But they'd got in earlier than me. They had one. I still had four.

I like a challenge. Especially when involves drinking beer. I had little doubt that they wouldn't finish before me. Four glasses of 20 cl isn't that much. Not much more than a pint and a half. It wasn't the volume that was a problem. It was the serving temperature. After knocking back three in a few minutes my mouth was painfully frozen. Why oh why do they serve beer so cold? You can drink much quicker when it's warmer.

I had to pass on my usual festival finale, SNAB Ijsbok. There was a queue almost to the middle of the hall.

Batavia isn't far from the Beurs where the festival is held. The inside is almost as pretty as the exterior. In Batavia, I mean. The interior of Beurs is nicer than the restrained exterior. Batavia looks quite modern inside, but the panelling and light fittings are surely original. All in all, rather atractive. Add to that 8 draught beers and a couple of interesting bottled ones and you've got a definite new entry for my Amsterdam Pub Guide. Mike will be pleased.

We finished in Wijnand Fockinck. At least I finished there. The others still had a way to go. I had a rather nice Zuidam 5 year old. The landlady in Olofspoort has got me on Zuidam. Very pleasant, soft jenevers they make. I wonder if they have a tasting room at the distillery?

I was back home by 19:30. "Dad, you're not drunk!" Don't sound so surprised, Andrew.

Monday 27 October 2008


There's a lot of resistance in the beer world to the idea of terroir. The concept that certain beers belong to a specific location. And it's not just from big brewers, wanting to shift production around as it suits them. New brewers like to think they can brew any style in world, no matter where their brewery happens to be located.

EU attempts to protect certain beer types have been met with derision in the US. Why can't you brew a Kölsch in Colorado, a Münchner in Minnesota, a lambic in Los Angeles? Ignoring the fact that a microbrewery may well lack the necessary equipment to brew an authentic version, some styles are about more than the chemical composition of the liquid in your glass. There's a social context, too. That can be just as important to the drinking experience - and enjoyment - as the beer itself.

Stephen Beaumont said something very telling to me at the weekend: "I never got Kölsch until I went to Cologne." I know exactly what he means. Looked at in isolation, Kölsch isn't of itself particularly exciting. Yet who fails to succumb to its charms when sitting in Früh or Malzmühle, as the Köbes, rings of foaming glasses held aloft, dance through the crowds of merry tipplers? The tiny glasses, jam-packed pubs and blue-clad waiters are an essential part of the experience. If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, they're a liar or an idiot.

Looking back, I can think of many similar experiences. At 9:30 on a Monday morning, sitting in the brewery tap surrounded by weirdoes, Hebendanz Export is the nectar of the gods. At home, alone, on a wet and windy Wednesday, it's just a well-made lager.

Beer is about a lot more than just beer. It's about people and places, too. That's why the concept of terroir does apply to beer. We should all rejoice in and respect that.

Back home

It was a short trip. Just two nights in London. Our return flight was at 14:45, which meant being on the train in Liverpool Street around midday.

I had suggested a quick trip to the archive, 10:30 to 11:30. Dolores soon shot that idea down in flames. "That's too much stress, Ronald. What can you do in a hour, anyway?" You'd be surprised. I can rattle through five logs (the most you can request in one go) in twenty minutes, if I put my mind to it.

The day started in Cafe Polski again. It was pretty full. Workmen in overalls settling down to a full English. Seemed a good idea, so I joined them. I substituted black pudding for the sausage. "What's that black stuff, dad?" Lexie asked. "Pig's blood. Fried." "Daaaad, what is it really?" I've given him enough humourous answers in the past for him to be suspicious. What would you rather hear, an entertaining lie or a boring truth? If the former weren't generally preferred, tabloid newspapers would go out of business in a week.

When I finally convinced him it really was pig's blood, he went: "Bleurgh!" "Do you want to try some?" He didn't bother to answer, just gave me his patented slit-eyed stare.

Lexie's bacon, egg and sausage didn't last long. He must have liked it. Andrew took more time to get through his sausage, egg and chips. Mostly due to the trouble he had getting the ketchup out of its plastic bottle. He can't eat chips without ketchup.

The kids looked confused when I walked them straight past our hotel. "Where are we going, dad?" asked Andrew. "It's a secret." I replied. "The pubs aren't open yet, dad." "I know." "There isn't time to go to the archive, dad."

What a sense of direction he has. We were walking towards the London Metropolitan Archives. It's awkwardly placed between King's Cross and Farringdon tube stations. It wouldn't have taken more than 15 minutes to walk there. But that wasn't what I had in mind. I wanted to photograph the Lucas Arms. Andrew looked relieved when I got the camera out. "You just want to photograph some stupid pub!" What else did he think I wanted to do? He has such little faith in me sometimes.

We took a cab to Liverpool Street. We'd worked out it would cost about the same as the tube. Single tube tickets are ridiculously expensive. I'm not sure it was any quicker, but the view was better. And we didn't have to hunk our lugguge through the catacombs of King's Cross.

After we disembarked from the cab, I took a quick snap of the Railway Tavern opposite. That was a boutas close as I'd be getting to a pub. I'd reconciled myself to the fact that there just wasn't time for a quick one before catching the train. I'm really mellowing out. Honestly, I am. There was a time when I would have been over the road and half way down a pint before Dolores had time to grab my coat.

When we finally found two seats without pigeon poo, we left the kids to guard the luggage and rushed off to Tesco. I realise I'm giving Tesco a lot of mentions. Honestly, it has nothing to do with them asking me to judge their beer competition. Though now I think about it, maybe I should get them to sponsor this blog.

Our shopping list was pretty simple: sandwiches for the train, mini scotch eggs, giant mini scotch eggs, pies, sausage, bacon and Oxo cubes for Mikey. Just basic healthfood. And a couple of beers for the train. Just because I'd admitted a pub visit wasn't on, didn't mean I was going to ignore my thirst. A bottle of McEwan's Champion and one of Old Puke. Which just happened to be the two strongest beers they stocked. Well, apart from Duvel. But it would have been silly to buy that.

There are a couple of good derelict pubs just out of Liverpool Street. I tried using Lexie's head as a tripod to get photos of them. He wasn't too happy. And I was a bit to slow on the button and missed the "Truman, Hanbury and Buxton's Entire" sign. "Look, Dolores, there's Balls Brothers wine merchants. I should go there one day and tell them Pete had promised me a case of champagne."

At least we didn't have to take our shoes off at security this time. Or our belts. And they didn't pick out Dolores's bag, as they had at Schiphol. Even after stocking up on precsription drugs in Boots, I still had a few quid left. What better place to dump them than Weatherspoons?

Greene King Abbot and Marston's Pedigree was about all they had that a CAMRA brainwashee like myself would feel comfortable drinking. I'm not even sure I should feel comfortable about those two, either. Pint of Pedigree it was, then.

Loads of people slag off Pedigree. My brother never liked it, even before Marston's became a "new national", as CAMRA so nattily names them. There's a good deal of obscurantism amongst beer geeks (take a look at the top 50 of RateBeer or BeerAdvocate if you want confirmation). Anything widely available must be crap. Anything you can only drink every third Thursday of the month in a pub half way up K2 must be wonderful. Myself, I try to keep an open mind. Some of my all-time favourite beers - Tetley's Mild is a good example - are mass-produced by big brewers.

My Pedigree was much as I remembered it. A nice farty smell from the Burton water. Crisp, well-defined bitterness. Really quite nice. Just like a Best Bitter should be. Exactly why does it get so much hate? Because people don't like the company that brews it? That's pretty pathetic, really.

I was half way down my second Pedigree when Dolores appeared. Andrew was starting to panic because it said "last call" next to our flight on the display. I know that trick. It wasn't really about to depart. They just wanted to get everyone out of the bar and to the gate.

There was the usual mob around the gate. When I fly by myself, I always pay the extra for speedy boarding. But X4 it starts getting expensive. Luckily, we got ourselves at the front of the plebs boarding group. Just as well. We grabbed the last set of three seats. Lexie, as always, took the window seat.

"Two Bells, please." I didn't mean the brass things that make a ringing noise. "Daaad, I'll tell mum." Lexie warned. Bastard. Dolores was sitting two rows back, out of sight. Hasn't he learned not to grass up his dad?

We decided to take the train rather than a taxi. The connection to Amsterdam Zuid is pretty good. We only had to wait a couple of minutes and even got seats together. But then disaster struck.

Dolores had to restrain Lexie as he tried to barge his way past some fellow passengers wishing to alight at Zuid. This distracted her to such an extent that she forgot about the suitcase she'd put up on the rack. Only when we were at the GVB counter buying a strippenkaart did she remember. By that time the train was long gone. On its way to Groningen. About as far away as you can get from Amsterdam without dropping into the North Sea.

Fortunately my fliptop wasn't in the bag. Just the bacon, sausage, most of the pork pies and Dolores's clothes. It could have been worse. Next day, Dolores rang Groningen station. Yes, they had found the bag. Hooray! But they'd destroyed all the food. Aaaagh! Dolores had a five hour round trip to collect it. It didn't work out too badly. But it was a shame about the bacon.

Sunday 26 October 2008

Pork pie, cider and curry

The highlight Stonch's pub was the display of the Sun's page 3 above the urinals. That's a lie. Really it was the impromptu tour of the cellar. I love getting a glimpse behind the scenes. I took a half of cider back up for Dolores. She loves a proper cider. What a wonderful woman she is. I'm a very lucky man.

I couldn't complain about the beer, either. Both the Landlord and Brakspears Bitter were pretty spot on. I was starting to get into slurping down large volumes of weak beer. Just like Friday nights in Leeds, when we'd down ten or eleven pints of Tetley's Mild.

I'd promised the kids a taste of Stonch's pork pie. Bribed them, more like. They weren't disappointed.

We got talking to the bloke on the bloke on the next table. I don't remember London being so friendly. I'm always striking up conversations now. Perhaps fat, old blokes like me aren't threatening. Who knows. Maybe I just beamed out negativity when I lived in London. I was shocked to discover that the bloke on the next table had read my blog. I thought my readership was limited to a few hardcore homebrewers, other bloggers and trolls. I was amazed a normal member of the public might look at it.

"Can I have your musket?" Lexie asked Stonch, pointing at one of the old guns on display. Like I said before, he has a disturbingly good vocabulary when it comes to small arms. "No." "Why not?" "Because it's not mine." It's a sign of Lexie's developing maturity that he left it at that.

Dolores was on the look out for a big WH Smith. She wanted to get a couple of their special offers for Christmas presents (just as well the kids don't read my blog). Stonch suggested the one on Hatton Garden, just a couple of minutes away. Dolores decided that I'd had enough beer ("But they're only 4% alcohol.") and dragged me off.

I didn't really mind. I quite wanted to visit a big Smiths myself. I was after a copy of the 2009 Good Beer Guide. The one in King's Cross still had the 2008 edition on display. To my delight, the Smiths on Hatton Garden had the 2009 edition. Two beer books in one day. I'll remember this day for years to come.

How to get back to our hotel? Then Dolores spotted a bus heading to King's Cross. We'd been planning on getting a bus at some point. This was the perfect opportunity. Andrew wasn't keen on negotiating the the stairs, so he and Dolores stayed on the bottom deck. Me and Lexie got the panorama seats - front row, top deck. It really is the best way to see London. If you're not in a hurry, which we weren't.

A curry was also in our plans. No point taking the kids along. So we left them with pop, a bag of crisps, petrol and matches. I've done that joke already, haven't I? Never mind. We had a choice of two curry houses just over the road. We chose one at random.

I'd forgotten how hot curries can be in Britain. Even my two star one had me sweating all over my nan. It was nice, though. Small, but perfectly formed. Except for a few too many onions. I'd started with an onion bhajee. It's a tradition. I always have an onion bhajee. Ever since my first encounters with curry in Leeds. That's why I usually have a nan or chapitis instead of rice. No-one ate rice in Chakwal or Nafees.

The kids were lying in a bloody heap when we got back to the room. That's why I'm writing this in a prison cell. I blame Dolores. I always do.

Mini scotch eggs in the park

The weather was so nice, we decided to lunch al fresco in Green Park. Nothing at all to do with being cheapskates. Oh, no. That's why Dolores had been to Tesco. To get the mini scotch eggs and salt and vinegar crisps essential for a healthfood picnic.

Any of the parks. Other places I'd failed to take Dolores to. In our two years living in Swindon, we only went to London twice. That was my fault. I'd had enough of the city after a couple of years living there.

Green Park looked lovely on such a sunny and clement autumn day. We weren't the only diners. A couple of suits were tucking into sandwiches on the next bench. A squrrel, its tail longer than its body, cavorted erratically behind us. "I hope it doesn't attack us. A squirrel can break your arm with its tail." I like to alert Lexie to any possible danger. "Daaad, that's not true." But I spotted a glimmer of doubt in his eye. I wonder where he got his fear of chickens from? He'll cross the road to avoid walking past a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet. Though maybe that isn't really so irrational.

I washed my sarnie down with a bottle of Old Speckled Hen. Did it taste like the draught version I'd had the day before? If I were an obsessive ticker, who wrote tasting notes for every beer that passed his lips, I might be able to answer that question. Unfortunately, I'm just a pisshead with a penchant for the past. When Andrew pointed out the unwise use of a clear glass bottle, my heart stirred with pride. He does listen to me, after all.

After the Pride and the Hen, I was pleased that there were public bogs on the edge of the park. Clean and free. Very civilised. Dolores was impressed, too, and she's German. They even had bog paper in the ladies.

Andrew wanted to take a look in Foyles. He still had ten quid to spend. While he was busy there, I decided to take a quick look in the second-hand bookshops that line Charing Cross Road. Maybe I'd find some more beer books. You can never have too many beer books.

I arranged to meet Dolores and Andrew outside Foyles 15 minutes later and set off with Lexie down Charing Cross Road. It took a while to find a suitable shop. "Do you have any books on beer or brewing?" "No." Seven minutes were already gone. We'd have to start back soon. I had more luck in the second shop. "Over there in the food section." was the reply. They had a copy of Brian Glover's "Prince of Ales" for eight quid. It looked brand new. That'd do. Dolores would be so pleased I'd found another beer book.

We were only a minute late getting back to Foyles. I'm so reliable nowadays. It's almost safe to let me out on my own.

We'd discussed letting the kids have a ride in a black cab. It seemed like a good time to carry out the plan. I'd told Stonch I'd see him at 15:00 and it was already five past. Getting there by tube entailed a change and then a walk up the hill. I'm so used to Holland, the slightest incline seems like the north face of the Eiger. Taxi it was.

Saturday 25 October 2008

More museums, no pies

We all get to pick at least one activity when on holiday. Dolores's choice was the Victoria and Albert. She'd wanted to visit it for years. Unsure that it would impress the kids much, I decided to take them to the Science Museum over the road.

Our day started at Cafe Polski. Me and the kids. For breakfast. It's not actually called Cafe Polski, but it seems a fair enough name. There's a pretty Polish girl serving. London can be an expensive city. But not for breakfast. It only cost a tenner for a big cooked meal for all three of us. Filled with a high-carb breakfast, the kids could coast on sandwiches the rest of the day. Saved us a fortune.

In South Kensington we split up and arranged to regroup 90 minutes later in the Zetland Arms. A pub that, despite the "Over 21's only" sign, does let kids in.

Kids in school uniform were swarming around the entrance of the Science Museum. I wasn't sure if that were a good or a bad sign.

My kids were suitably impressed by the giant steam engines in the first hall. There was even one under steam. The only working steam engines I've seen before were the model one my dad built and the miniature one in Brauerei Schmitt. The ones in the Science Museum were a good bit bigger. In fact the scale models of them on display were as big as Schmitt's.

In the adjacent rocket/space travel room, Andrew was immediately drawn to the display on Peenemünde. "It says they've got an ME 163 on the third floor." he told me excitedly. I wouldn't mind seeing one of those myself. An aircraft that was possibly a greater risk to its pilot than the enemy, given its tendency to spontaneously explode. The film of one taking off was impressive. It climbed vertically like, well, a rocket.

After a quick look at the materials exhibition (the bomber jacket that looked like it was made out of brillo pads is possibly the most impractical piece of clothing I've ever seen) on the first floor, we went looking for the ME 163. The museum hadn't looked that big on the map. You'd think that a hall big enough to house two dozen fullsize aircraft would be easy to find. It wasn't.

The Me 163 was tiny, little more than a wing. The Vickers Vimy bomber Alcock and Brown flew the Atlantic in dwarfed it. Funny how little credit they get for the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic. Guess they were the wrong nationality.

Our time was up and we'd barely seen 10% of the museum. But when Andrew complains about his knees aching, I know it's time to leave. We bumped into Dolores 100 metres from the Zetland. Surprisingly, it isn't a Greene King pub. The four handpumps offered Sharpe's Doom Bar, London Pride, Blueberry Bitter and Greene King Abbot. I wonder why they didn't have the IPA? I love a proper, authentic IPA. I ordered a pint and a half of Doom Bar. Halfway through pulling the pint the Polish barman gave up and turned the pump clip around. "It's off." he said. "Pint and a half of Blueberry Bitter then, please."

"Is this Bitter?" Dolores asked. The Golden Bitter revolution has passed her by. She expects her Bitter to be amber. I'd wondered about the name. It couldn't really have blueberries in it, could it? Despite the very pale colour, it tasted as if it could have. At least it was 5% ABV. Could have been worse. But I prefer my Bitter fruit-free. "You're a traditionalist." Hang on, I haven't said "You can call me a traditionalist" yet. Wait for your cue, please.

The Zetland Arms is one of those pubs that still has a pub theme. You'd be surprised how many don't nowadays. "You're old-fashioned." What did I say about waiting for your cue? I quite like pubs that bear some resemblance to a pub.

What to drink next? Much as I like a drop of proper IPA, I opted for London Pride. I feel I owe it to John Keeling to drink some of his beer. Just over three quid for a pint. I suppose that's normal for London. It shows how much a foreigner I've become in the land of my birth that I'm shocked every time I have to pay more than a quid for a pint.

I had a bit of a thirst after all that walking around looking at things. And the Pride was remarkably drinkable. I was on my third when Dolores got back from Tesco's with Lexie. They'd only been gone 15 minutes.

Despite having received a shiny, new flippy-top for my birthday, I had to take my notes on paper. Lexie was using the computer. I checked what he'd written. "You've mis-spelled 'bastard', Lexie." I wasn't sure of his ability to spell the F-word. He'd asterisked out all but the first letter.

Zavvi, pie, but no peas

Two items were on the agenda for our first day. The Imperial War Museum and Zavvi on Tottenham Court Road.

Unwisely, we changed from the Bakerloo to the Northern Line at Charing Cross. It's about a two-mile walk along a winding, underground passage. It'll help wear off the chips and crisps. Stay positive. That's what you have to do.

The kids like Zavvi. It stocks all the games they can't be arsed to release in Holland. I like it because they have an enormous range of DVD's. There was just one downside. The music being played. Some horrible industrial, hardcore sub-jungle dance music. The sort of stuff you'd put on just before a club closes to drive everyone out into the street. I'm not quite sure why you would want to play it in a shop. Maybe that's why the kids were able to choose remarkably quickly. Last time they'd hummed and hawed for nearly an hour. This time, there was barely even a hum.

I was the one taking his time. Should I get that Likley Lads boxed set? Yes, of course. Look, they're even drinking pints on the cover. Who could resist that? All three series of Bottom? Yes. Lexie's bound to like it. All that swearing and hitting each other. Right down his street. A dozen Goodies episodes? Yes. The kids love them. Should only come to 100 quid or so. Peanuts compared to what I spend on books.

That evening, we left the kids with my new fliptop, a USB stick full of films, a can of petrol and a box of matches. (Just joking about the last two. Really it was a half bottle of vodka for Lexie and a couple of stick hand grenades for Andrew.) Dolores and I headed off for the pub over the road. The Lucas Arms.

I noticed with surprise that it was another Greene King pub. I didn't remember them having such a big London presence. Man United were strolling through their tie against Celtic. The only free table was directly under the large screen. This time, I opted for Abbot. It was quite a shock when I tasted it. Not a bit like the Old Speckled Hen and County I tried earlier. Greene King must have at least two recipes. It was a bit pepperminty and lacked the malty depth of the other two. We only stayed for one.

Wandering further south on Gray's Inn Road, we came across another pub after a couple of hundred yards. The Blue something or other. Yet another Greene King house. And not a particularly inviting one. We continued our walk. "Oh look. There's a Young's pub. Calthorpe Arms. That sounds familiar." The door was covered with Good Beer Guide stickers. Good enough for me.

There was just a single, not that large, room. Not quite so many watching the footie. A single figure number of customers. Maybe they get busier at dinnertime. I ordered a pint and a half of Special. It was a bit gloomy. The ancient decoration wasn't helping. "They could do with some new curtains. I wonder when they last redecorated?" I suggested. "At least the carpet isn't sticky." Dolores was referring to the Esplanade in Melbourne. Its carpet had disintegrated into a sticky black mess that made it difficult to lift your feet. Like walking through treacle. I wonder if they've replaced it yet?

On the way back, Dolores suggested a detour to see if we could find a Tesco's. A drunk with a Tesco's bag had crossed our paths earlier. Tesco's are a bit like rats. You're never more than 10 feet away from one in a British city. The one at King's Cross was managing to escape us, somehow.

I was in a pie sort of mood. Nothing else would be able to fill the pie-shaped hole in my stomach. Finding pies is becoming a nightmare in London. Most chip shops appear to be kebab shops with a sideline in fried fish. (A couple of years ago me and Matt walked right across Soho in a vain search for a pie.) We came across a fish and kebab shop. "Oh look, they've got pies." I'd spotted the cheerfully colourful foil of Pukka pies. Result.

The kids were still alive. Without even any visible signs of injury. They immediately noticed my pie. "Can I have some pie, dad" Lexie said. "I want some, too." chipped in Andrew. I got a couple of mouthfuls. Better than nothing, I suppose. Lucky I had those four bottles of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout to console me.

Friday 24 October 2008

The International Museum of Killing

Did I mention we spent a couple of days in London this week? No? We spent a couple of days in London this week. There, I've told you now.

We had a morning flight and were in our hotel by midday. Not bad going, really. Especially as they'd annouced as the train stood in Tottenham Hale that Liverpool Street had been evacuated. Surpisingly, taking the tube from Tottenham Hale directly to King's Cross was actually quicker.

The kids were excited to discover that our room overlooked the Circle Line. A train rattled by about every 30 seconds. Sort of reassuring, in a way. I can't say it disturbed my sleep. Though I am like a corpse as soon as the lights go out. Particularly if I have a few beers in me.

To get through everything we had planned, we couldn't afford to hang about. First on the list was a visit to the Imperial War Museum. Or the International Museum of Killing as I'd been calling it to the kids. I'd been past it plenty of times on the bus when I lived in Thornton Heath. But never been inside. It's that typical never-visiting-anywhere-in-the-place-you-live syndrome. Lack of political correctness was a factor, too. I'm surprised they haven't changed the name.

We walked past an OK looking pub on the short walk from the tube station to the museum. I made a mental note. Loads of picnic tables outside, and a temperature above freezing. No need to worry if they let kids in. And tied to Greene King. Even better. A chance to try an authentic IPA, not one of those stupid, new-fangled, strong, hoppy ones.

Even Dolores had to admit the main hall was impressive. A Jagdpanther, a V2 and a German midget submarine. The breech of the gun virtually filled the interior of the Jagdpanther. "How many people were inside? Two?" Dolores asked. "At least four or five" I replied. "How did they all fit in?" I looked at the little plaque. "It actually had a crew of six." "Six midgets, they must have been." I don't think they could have persuaded Dolores to be in a tank crew.

Dolores wasn't impressed with the exhibits of smaller items - clothing, rifles, etc - further on in the museum. It was too dark. Only the radio made from a wine bottle a razor blade and a few bits of wire attracted her attention. Andrew soon found the display of WW II German stick hand grenades. He pressed his nose against the glass. He's easily pleased. "Look dad, there's a Sturmgewehr." What interesting German vocabulary Lexie has picked up. He was right, too.

What most struck me was the low-quality of the uniforms. Coarse cloth and amateurishly-made insignia. They look much better quality in films. The real ones looked rough and itchy. Though I suppose an itchy uniform was one of a soldier's lesser worries.

Dolores had soon had enough and went for a sit down. Lexie joined her.

"Let's go and look at the WW I exhibition. That'll cheer us up." I suggested to Andrew. The bright, shiny peacetime uniforms were in stark contrast to the mud-coloured jobs adopted a couple of weeks into hostilities. They looked even more cheaply-made and uncomfortable than the WW II ones. Still, many soldiers didn't get to wear them for long.

Did I mention one of my uncles fought in WW I? My mum's eldest brother. He was captured and spent a couple of years in a POW camp. A good way of losing weight. In the later stages of the war, the Germans weren't able to feed their own frontline troops properly, let alone prisoners.

When we'd finished being cheered up by trench warfare, I made a suggestion. "What about a drink in that pub we walked past?" "Thats a good idea." Dolores was disarmingly enthusiastic. "What do you want to drink?" "A pint of some nice beer. Whatever you're having." As a German, Dolores has no hangups about drinking pints.

As I've already mentioned, the Three Stags is a Greene King house. So I was expecting a pretty good beer selection. IPA, Ruddles County and Old Speckled Hen. Hard to beat that lineup, eh? "Two pints of County, please." The barmaid was reassuringly Polish. In my youth, County was very highly regarded. One of the early CAMRA cult beers, along with Courage Directors and Old Peculier. They used to sell it in Kirrages, Newark's first real ale showcase. To be honest, I never cared for it. Too heavy and sweet for my taste.

"That's nice, Ronald" Dolores said, draining half her glass in one draught. All those guns must have given her a thirst. It was better than I remembered it. Malty, but not cloying. We watched a convoy of number 159 buses pass. "That's the bus I used to pass the museum on." What enthralling conversation I have.

"Anyone want another drink?" My glass was worryingly empty. "I'll just have a half." The barmaid was squeezing the last few drops into my pint when I noticed she was pulling the wrong handle. She'd served me Old Speckled Hen. A quick check of the pumpclips revealed that, at 4.5% ABV, it was actually a little stronger than the County. Didn't County used to be 5%? No wonder it didn't taste as cloying as before. "I asked for County." "Oh" The barmaid looked uncertain. "It's OK, I'll take that instead." No point wasting a perfectly good pint.

Seated, I took a sip of the Hen. You know something. If I hadn't seen it pulled, I wouldn't have noticed it was a different beer. I let Dolores have a taste for confirmation. "Mm it does taste the same." Maybe it was the same beer. Or perhaps the two are party-gyled. What did I care. It was pleasantly malty. And had alcohol in it. Best of all, the moderate carbonation meant it slipped down with no effort.

Thursday 23 October 2008

Progress report

People keep asking me how the book is going. Well, a couple of people have. Maybe the rest of you are just too polite to ask.

It's hard to say what percentage of it is complete. I'm not sure yet exactly what I'll include. Without a bit of discipline, it could easily get totally out of hand. There's so much information out there that I could continue researching for years.

A couple of chapters have a good bit of flesh on their bones. 1700-1750, 1815-1850 and 1850-1880 are getting there. In fact, the 1815-1850 chapter is probably a little overweight and in need of a rigorous diet. The chapters 1880-1914 and 1914-1920 have a good bit of the required information, but still miss some elements. Most of the 20th century chapters I've barely started.

Here's an overview by chapter of how much I've done:

Chapter 1 1700-1750 45 pages
Chapter 2 1750-1780 6 pages
Chapter 3 1780-1815 10 pages
Chapter 4 1815-1850 67 pages
Chapter 5 1850-1880 33 pages
Chapter 6 1880-1914 15 pages
Chapter 7 1914-1920 17 pages
Chapter 8 1920-1939 3 pages
Chapter 9 1940-1949 6 pages
Chapter 10 1950-1973 2 pages

In total, there are just over 60,000 words.

So how far am I? About 40% done, I reckon. Of course, that's without the recipes. They'll be another couple of hundred pages.

Monday 20 October 2008

Brewing 1790's style

I've finally managed to tear myself away from the 1830's. Back a few decades to the 1790's. When they still had the annoying habit of writing "s" more like "f". You get used to it after a while, but you do wonder what the point was. At the end of words they wrote them the normal way, so you come across things like "bufinefs". Very odd.

Today's source is "A Treatise on the Brewing of Beer" by E. Hughes published in 1796. A work I hadn't heard of until I stumbled across it in Google books a couple of days ago. It's not too great on the details of mashing, but has a lot about cleaning techniques.

Thermometers were just coming into use at the start of this period, but many brewers were still accustomed to brewing without the aid of one. Water was boiled in the copper and then transferred to the mash tun. There was s imple method for ascetaining when it was at the correct temperature for mashing "do not put your malt in for mashing till the steam has escaped and you can see your face in the water; but if time will not admit of this, add about one gallon of cold water to eighteen gallons of hot."

After stirring well to mix the water and grains, the mash was left to stand for at least two hours. There was then a second, shorter mash. Finally, boiling water was poured over the grains to make small beer.

The wort was quickly brought to the boil in the copper. A vigorous boil was maintained in order to break the wort as quickly as possible. The boil lasted thirty or forty minutes for Ale, 6o minutes for Strong Ale.

As soon as the boil was completed, the wort was moved into the cooler. This was of a sufficient size so that the wort was no more than two inches deep. If the wort was not sufficiently shallow, it would not cool quickly enough in the summer and was likely to become "foxed" and quickly turn sour.

After cooling, the wort was transferred to the gyle or "working" tun. This was often done in a slow, thin stream to help cool the wort even more. Hughes recommended adding the yeast a little at a time to ensure that the fermentation was not too rapid, which could lead to problems with clarity later on. After each addition of yeast, the wort was stirred.

When the head of yeast began to collapse, the wort was cleansed. If it was left in the tun until it had stopped fermenting and the yeast fallen to the bottom, it was difficult to start a secondary fermentation in the cask. It could also be difficult to get the beer to drop bright.

The casks in which the wort was cleansed were kept filled so the the yeast would discharge from the bung hole more easily. This was important if the finished beer were to be clear. It avoided the need for fining with isinglass, which was considered a last resort as it tended to remove condition.

Cleanliness in breweries is nothing new. "Care should be taken to keep the brewing utensils as clean and as sweet as those used in a dairy; for without cleanliness tis impossible to have your beer in a good and wholesome state."

Coppers were cleaned after each brewing and, if not used for a while, before brewing to remove any verdigris. The mash tun was cleaned with boiling water after use. In warm weather, it was brushed with a solution of quick lime which was washed off after 24 hours. Coolers and gyle tuns were frequently cleaned with boiling water and lime to prevent "foxing" and unpleasant odours.