Saturday, 20 February 2010

Guinness Park Royal

I came across this is a Brewery History Society newsletter from 1998. A diagram of the layout of the Guinness Park Royal brewery in London.

Remember that disscussion about Barclay Perkins fermenters? Perhaps this will shed more light on their brewhouse organisation.

Item 31, "Skimmers" particularly caught my eye. Is this what Barclay Perkins were doing? Moving the beer into shallow vessels to remove the yeast after fermentation? It would seem to fit with what's in the brewing records. Unlike in the dropping system, they transferred the beer when fermentation was done.

It turns out there are plans of Barclay Perkins brewery in the archives. Though the earliest is from 1942. I really should go and look at it, shouldn't I?


Adrian in San Diego said...

"I really should go and look at it, shouldn't I?"

Yes! :)

Graham Wheeler said...

You have enough information now to have a good idea of the Barclay layout. I reckon that I could draw it out, apart from the actual physical layout, but some of that is obvious anyway.

I cannot imagine that a major brewery in a major city did not escape lots of internal photography. Such stuff is more likely to be in Southwark library I suppose.

There are one or two gotchas in that Guinness layout.

One is that it seems that only the 'stale' goes up to the settling backs. That makes sense, I suppose.

The mild stuff, which was 90-95% of a Guinness, is run directly from the fermenter into vessels (30), before being pumped over for blending with the 5-10% stale on the way into the racking tank. Guinness obviously did not want to draw too much attention to the fact that 95% of the beer was not 'aged'; they kept that bit of pipework fairly low key.

I know it is only a drawing, but the, so called, skimmers look too shallow to be skimming vessels. After all, if you are going run off the beer from under the yeast head in the fermenters, there would not be a busting lot to skim off by the time it gets to the skimmers. They are more akin to settling backs. which makes a good deal more sense. Perhaps there is some cross-fertilisation of terminology with the porter brewers.

Gary Gillman said...

Apparently all modern Guinness incorporates some aged beer even the regular draft, aged 3 months I understand. I think I can sometimes tell (sometimes there is a slight leathery or winy note).

When you get a good Guinness, i.e., served not too cold, fresh and through clean lines, it is a nice drink although I imagine rather different to what it was when Southby was writing, say. And FES (at least the Irish-made one) and Special Export are still excellent as often discussed here.

As a nod to tradition, they should replicate the system Zythophile was describing here recently from before the nitro era, the high and low casks. Even though it seems unique, I think I can detect a hint in it of the old mixing again - I suspect the high casks were older product, possibly the "stale" of that day. They should do that, I think it would be a grand gesture to their history and maintain interest in the company and its famous product. Why not offer it a few pubs in Dublin or the famous tasting rooms? I wonder if the people associated with the company today have the knowledge of what came before the nitrogen gas era...



Kristen England said...

This is pretty sweet. My granddad ran the Park Royal clubhouse for many years. My mum basically grew up there. Funny how history comes back around....