Tuesday, 2 February 2010

A glimpse inside Barclay Perkins in 1902

I'm on a roll with titles. Snappy. Zingy. Crappy.

Just for a change, I'll be doing without words. Just pictures today. Taken from "Britain at work: a pictorial description of our national industries", 1902, pages 159-166. Enjoy.



Paul! said...

maybe one of the few instances where a picture is really worth so many words.

Tandleman said...

Especially the cool ships.

Gary Gillman said...

I was surprised to see cool-ships still apparently in service. These are equivalent to the famous method in San Francisco to cool the wort intended for steam beer - i.e., the latter is (surely) a survival of a once-generalized practice. Yet, considering the scale and location of BP circa-1900, I would have thought that some form of artificial cooling would have been used at this stage. (It does appear cooling was practiced in the fermenter itself, but that is different). Perhaps different methods were combined.


Ron Pattinson said...

Gary, I believe at this time Barclay Perkins had both cool ships and heat exchange coolers.

Cool ships continued in use after other coolers were introduced because of their secondary function of removing sediment from the wort.

Oblivious said...

Guinness I believe where using the cool ship/heat exchange and or brine refrigeration around the same time

Adrian said...

Whoa! Great photos! Comments/Questions:

Did the mash tuns utilize some sort of mechanical stirring device? I can't imagine something that large was stirred by hand.

The "Copper Stage" photo is, I presume, showing the hops being tossed into a kettle below the floor shown. Steam in the background?

How long did the wort sit in the coolship?

Did Barclay's use a drop method of fermentation or was the wort pumped from the cool ship directly to the vat shown? Considering how smooth modern fermentation vessels are, it's very interesting to see the convoluted tubing all over the place.

Was every stage of the brew gravity fed or were pumps used to, say, move the boiling wort to the cool ships?

Adrian said...

Ooh, more questions:

How were the vats cleaned/sanitized? Boiling water? Caustic chemicals? Children with toothbrushes?

Also, what material was used in the piping to transport the wort/beer along to each stage? Cast iron? Copper?

Ron Pattinson said...

Adrian, the mash tuns were fitted with internal rake mashing machines. They also had external Steel's mashing machines.

"Copper stage" tells you what it is: a raised platform. Breweries have them to give access to the equipment.

The wort was pumped from the hop back to the coolers. From the coolers the wort moved to the refrigerators (heat exchangers).

They had different types of fermenters. The rounds were skimmed of yeast. The squares used for Porter seem to have been more like a dropping system, with the wort being moved to other vesssels to remove the yeast.

I can't find anything specific about the material used for the pipes.

Gary Gillman said...

As an aside, once I stayed in a hotel in Manchester, on the river, not far from Granada Studios. The building was a converted factory, I believe for textiles. The cast-iron pillars, joists and brick walls looked very similar to what these pictures show.

In all the discussions about recreating period beers, I cannot recall having seen an attempt to duplicate the function of coolships. Yet, this pre-heat exchanger method of cooling was prevalent at one time. I would think beers fermented from worts cooled in this way would have had a special characteristic. (Although, Anchor Steam Beer, otherwise very estimable especially on draft, seems not to - maybe that is due to the bottom yeasts used to ferment this beer).

In writing this, I realize that I am not aware how boiling worts are cooled in home-brewing, so perhaps the latter does typically offer a method that compares to what the cool-ship did.


Adrian said...

"The wort was pumped from the hop back to the coolers. From the coolers the wort moved to the refrigerators (heat exchangers)."

So the wort was cooled twice on it's way to the fermentation vessel. Interesting. As such, I would then guess that the time spent in the coolship was somewhat short compared to Belgian lambic (which was cooled overnight, yes?).

Probably just long enough for the hops and protein matter to drop out.

Gary, most experienced homebrewers cool the boiling wort by either:

1) submerging a hollow copper coil into the boil kettle and pumping cold water through the coil


2) pumping the hot wort through a small heat exchanger

As for Anchor Steam, I wonder if they still employ that method of cooling. I remember seeing a video recently that contained a clip of hot wort splashing into a coolship at Anchor Steam. If they still use that method, it's probably under clean-room conditions much like the way they open ferment:

(picture wrongly labeled as a "coolship" but you get the idea)

Anonymous said...

Considering how smooth modern fermentation vessels are, it's very interesting to see the convoluted tubing all over the place.

Looks like the inside of a fermenting vessel in almost every British family brewery I've ever been in.

Hook Norton used open coolers (which afaik were never called coolships in the UK) until only a couple or three decades ago, I believe.

Adrian said...

I guess I'm thinking of the popular cylindroconical containers. As far as I know, temperature control is done by a cooling the sides of the container so there isn't convoluted tubing inside to get dirty. I assumed modern squares used the same method to cool (i.e. "jacketed"). I wonder what type of squares Anchor Brewing and Sierra Nevada use.

Speaking of temperature control, so I've seen that the squares usually had some sort of attemperator. What about the rounds where the wort only spent 6-18 hours? Were these controlled or was it simply a matter of cooling the wort to about 60 degrees, letting it sit in the round with the yeast until it warmed to about 70 degrees, and then dropping it into the temperature controlled square below to finish out?

Ron Pattinson said...

Adrian, that's how the Fuller's dropping system worked. I'm pretty sure only the settling squares had attemperators.

Remember the squares in the photograph weren't settling squares. The wort would have been pumped directly into them from the coolers.

I'm not sure Barclay Perkins ever used the dropping system. I got the stuff about the rounds from Barnard's Noted Breweries of Britain and Ireland. It isn't very clear from the text what happened when the beer was removed from the rounds.

The main system of fermentation at Barclay Perkins seems to have been squares fitted with skimming parachutes.

Fortunately, Barclay Perkins' logs have a reasonable amount of info on the fermentation. If you hang on a bit I'll post some examples.