Saturday, 7 August 2010

Patent malt

This advery in Barnard's "Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. 4" attracted my attention. And it wasn't just because of the testimonial from Guinness.Take a look:

This is getting as bad as brewing sugars. Now there are patent malts, too. So what the hell were patent chocolate malt, candied malt and golden malt? Good question. To which I have a partial answer. From Barnard's own article on the Plunkett Brothers maltings.

"After a pleasant chat with the partners, we were taken to the sample room, to witness some experiments with malt and barley, and to inspect the numerous shades of colour, produced from black, candied, amber and high dried malts, all of which are shown in tall glass vases, bearing labels relating to the history of the product, etc. One specimen was new to us - golden brown malt - a speciality of the firm, which they make for a number of brewers whose names were mentioned to us. It is used for both ales and stouts, where flavour and richness are a desderata."
"Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. 3", Alfred Barnard, 1890  , pages 555 - 556.

The order in which the malts are listed, seems to be going from dark to pale. Which implies candied malt was relatively dark.

"Progressing onwards, we next reached the No. 2 roasting house, a lofty building with an iron roof and stone walls. Here are placed five other roasting cylinders, some of them on the same principle as those already described, and near them, is an extensive cooling floor. Two of these machines, which are of a peculiar pattern, are used exclusively for making the sweet-tasting candied malt."
"Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. 3", Alfred Barnard, 1890  , page 557.

What does this tell us? That candied malt was roasted. And that it was roasted in a way unlike other malts, because they had special machines to do it.

"To the right of the loading-out room, is the "candied" malt department, where scores of sacks filled with this speciality of the firm were awaiting removal. This make is peculiar to Plunkett Bros., and is used by brewers, in conjunction with pale ale, for public-house mild ales. We were informed that candied malt, which is most nutritious, can only be made from the finest quality of barley, and that it imparts a delicious aromatic smack to ales. In another store, we saw some of the ordinary crystal malt, which, in some respects, to our uninitiated eye, seemed to resemble the candied malt."
"Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. 3", Alfred Barnard, 1890  , pages 557 - 558.

Intriguing. Candied malt seems to have been used in Milds to add flavour. And, at least in appearance, it resembled crystal malt.

"In these maltings Messrs. Plunkett Brothers have their kilns for the preparation of amber brown malt made by a very old-fashioned but favourite process. the furnaces are fired with oak chips, which give out an agreeable smell; but, unfortunately for the maltster, this fuel is consumed very quickly. Over the fires, is the drying floor, which is ventilated by adjustable louvres. Here, after being subject to a great heat for one hour and ten minutes, the malt is withdrawn on to an iron bridge or gangway leading to the cooling loft, situated in the upper storey of one of the malt houses, where, after it has got cold, it is screened in a very careful manner."
"Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. 3", Alfred Barnard, 1890  , pages 558 - 559.

This bit isn't to do with candied malt, but interests me for another reason. I've just found some Lees records that mention "oak dried" malt. I'd wondered what the hell it was. Sounds like it was probably a type of brown malt.

"We were informed by our intelligent guide that the firm have a peculiar and secret process for fixing the aroma of their patent malt, which is fully retained until it is found in the mash tuns, where it communicates the rich flavour for which their Dublin porter malt iis so justly celebrated.

The firm work off their stocks of roasted malt daily, and frequently have to divide up their orders to satisfy the demands of the brewers. A stock of roasted malt is under no circumstances ever kept in hand, Messrs. Plunkett Bros. being of the opinion that it is safer to send out freshly roasted malt to their customers."
"Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. 3", Alfred Barnard, 1890  , pages 561 - 562.

This isn't a cndied malt thing either. But I've included it to take yet another swipe at the ridiculous theory that Guinness based their success on the use of unmalted and untaxed roast barley. Yet Plunkett Brothers had been supplying Guinness with patent brown malt for more than 50 years (according to the testionial in the advert) in 1873. Sounds to me like Plunketts were the source of Guinness's patent malt for the whole of the 19th century.

1 comment:

Thomas Barnes said...

From the description, it's possible that "candied malt" was a dark crystal malt.