Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Prince of Wales visits Truman (part one)

Royalty, eh? Do bugger all productive but get feted wherever they go. Parasites.

What do they do all day? Swan around breweries and the like eating and drinking their fill. Like I said: parasites. Though, admittedly, it would also be my preferred lifestyle. Working is greatly overrated.

You can see that all the high-ups at the brewery - the Hanburys and the Buxtons especially - turned up to see the prince. He seems to have made a regular habit of visiting breweries and drinking beer. I suppose that's a point in his favour. Still a parasite, mind.

On Tuesday the Prince of Wales visited the brewery Messrs. Truman, Hanbury, Buxton, and Co., and spent a considerable time in viewing various departments that great establishment. His Royal Highness, who was accompanied by the Duke of Sutherland, and attended by Colonel Grey, arrived at the brewery about half-past 1 o'clock. He was received by Mr. R. Hanbury, sen., Mr. R. C. Hanbury, M.P., Sir T. F. Buxton, M.P., Mr. C. Buxton, M P., Mr A. Pryor, Mr. C. A. Hanbury, Mr. T. F. Buxton, Mr. H. Villebois, and Mr. Alexander Fraser, manager of the brewery. Having entered the premises through the counting-house in Brick-lane, Spitalfields, the Prince was conducted to the enginehouse. The malt loft was next visited. Here 17,000 quarters of malt are kept for immediate brewing; but in premises out of town the firm usually stow about 120,000 quarters, so that they have stowage for the enormous quantity of 137,000 quarters of malt. The machinery for mixing the malt is very extensive and ingenious. The grain is placed in huge vats, and revolving jets throw boiling water upon it, which percolates evenly and gradually through the grain. The water used in the various lofts is pumped by steam power to the amount 250,000 gallons daily. A series of prongs, something like those of field rake, revolve through the liquid malt and thoroughly mix it up before the process of fermentation. In the production of the various kinds of beer brewed in Messrs. Truman's establishment no less than 174,674 qrs. of malt and 900 tons hops are used annually, the refuse of the hops is utilized by being mixed with coal dust, the combination making excellent fuel, which is thrown into the furnaces as required by self-acting cylindrical fire-feeders. Notwithstanding the large number of furnaces in the brewery, and the immense quantity of coal and waste hops used in them, the smoke is all consumed."
Shoreditch Observer - Saturday 14 July 1866, page 3.
I've chopped up the article because the original, in its paragraph-free format is pretty unreadable.

137,000 quarters is enough to brew about 550,000 barrels of standard-strength beer. And I happen to know how much Truman in 1866: 596,769 barrels*. Which means they were keeping about a 12-month supply of malt. Which is sort of confirmed when it states later that they used 174,674 quarters of malt a year.

Taking those figures for hop usage and amount brewed, I can come up with an average hopping rate: 3.38 lbs per barrel. Which is quite a lot. And, assuming 80 lbs of exdtract per quarter, I can calculate an average OG: 1065. That sound a bit high? Well take a look at the gravity of their beers at this period:

Truman beers in the 1860's
Year Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl Pitch temp
1866 Table Table 1052.9 1012.5 5.35 76.44% 18 5.01
1865 X Ale Mild 1067.3 1013.9 7.07 79.42% 9 2.78 59º
1865 40/- Ale Mild 1072.6 1020.8 6.85 71.37% 9 3.00 59º
1865 XX Ale Mild 1081.2 1020.5 8.03 74.74% 11.0 7.17 58º
1865 XXX Ale Mild 1088.9 1022.7 8.76 74.45% 11.0 10.15 58º
1866 KXX  Ale Stock Ale 1081.2 1017.5 8.43 78.50% 18 6.95 60º
1866 KXXX Ale Stock Ale 1089.5 1020.8 9.09 76.78% 18 7.63 58º
1865 Pale Ale Pale Ale 1064.3 1011.6 6.96 81.90% 18 6.87 58º
1861 Country Runner Porter 1055.4 1018.6 4.87 66.50% 9.5 2.46 66º
1860 Runner Porter 1057.6 1013.9 5.79 75.96% 8.2 2.36 67º
1861 Keeping Porter 1059.3 1016.6 5.64 71.96% 19.2 4.35 64º
1860 Bottling Porter Porter 1060.9 1017.2 5.79 71.82% 17.0 5.59 63º
1860 Stout Stout 1069.5 1019.9 6.56 71.31% 14.1 4.70 63º
1861 Bottling Stout Stout 1074.5 1026.3 6.38 64.68% 15.5 6.10 62º
1861 Running Stout Stout 1075.9 1026.3 6.56 65.33% 11.3 3.97 57º
1861 Double Stout Stout 1080.6 1025.5 7.29 68.38% 11.9 4.94 59º
1861 Imperial Stout 1089.7 1034.1 7.37 62.04% 10.6 4.81 59º
Truman brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers B/THB/C/062 and B/THB/C/147.

If anything my calculated average OG is probably a bit low as it's less than that of one of the most popular beers, X Ale. There's not much in the way of session-strength beer and plenth over 7% ABV. Even the Table Beer is over 5% ABV. They didn't muck around those Victorians.

Sadly, the author was no expert on brewing, as the passage about mashing demonstrates. It sounds like he's describing a Steel's masher and internal rakes. But the water wasn't boiling and much more than just mixing up the grains and water was going on.

How very efficient using the spent hops as fuel. They'd have needed drying first, mind. Hops come out of the copper totally drenched through.

I think I'll leave it there for today. Plenty more to look forward to.

* "The British Brewing Industry, 1830-1980" T. R. Gourvish & R.G. Wilson, pages 610-611.

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