Saturday, 6 February 2010

Brewery piping and beer ageing ca 1885

Someone asked the other day about the pipes in breweries. What were they made from? I've just found the answer.

"Mains for beer and wort should be always made of tinned copper pipe, with gun metal flanges and caps, and all T pieces should be formed of tinned sheet copper, with smooth surfaces and easy throats. Water pipes may be made of cast or wrought iron, but lead pipes are not adapted for brewery use, and should be entirely excluded from breweries."
Source: "A systematic handbook of practical brewing", by E.R. Southby, 1885, page 24.

 I also found this about ageing and storing beer:

"The methods of storing beer in different parts of the United Kingdom vary considerably. In Burton the beer is run into the trade casks, and these are often stacked in the open during the winter months, and only placed under cover as the season advances. In other localities the trade casks full of stock beer are stored in underground cellars, where a very uniform temperature is maintained. Of these two plans, the former answers well if the beer is sound and good enough to stand it, but if there is any doubt on this point the latter plan must of course be adopted. Then again, black beers and old ales are frequently stored in vats, and vatting greatly improves the quality of these varieties of malt liquor." (Source: "A systematic handbook of practical brewing", by E.R. Southby, 1885, page 143.)

That's it for today. Though there's more to come from Southby. If you can stay awake.


Anonymous said...

Great stuff.
Seems the copper industry held great stake in brewing industry then. Today, stainless steel is the predominant metal for pipes in the modern brewery. The change has me wondering about beer comparisons of foam and sensory perceptions, copper contributing to both between past and modern beers

So glad the economy is the way that it is otherwise Ron would own my pocketbook AKA wallet. The books he has written, prepared, and self published, are of great interest to me. They will be soon in my own "Beer library."


Anonymous said...

Trade casks = casks sent out into the trade, of course. Smaller brewers actually ran the wort into the trade casks to let it complete the primary fermentation before then sending them out, letting the yeast fob out of the top bung: Bateman's were still doing this until the early 1950s, before they finally installed a proper fermenting vessel.

Adrian said...

Great stuff, Ron. Thanks for posting.