Tuesday 31 January 2017

Flour in Pale Ale

I'm sure you're bored with me telling you this, but I'm dead busy with my Macbeth book. Which entails hours of staring at - often quite blurry because my camera wasn't quite so good back then - photos of William Younger records.

Little things in brewing records - a brewer's note written on the page, rough workings on the back of an envelope - connect you to the people who wrote them in a strengely direct way. Much more than the routine recording of a brew.

Then sometimes, they just get you pondering.

In case you can't read that:

"Fermentations greatly improved within the last few days so much so that we are going on with pale ale. N. B. We find the use of flour in the pale ale very advantageous, it assists fermentation & keeps it pale. The first brewings had no flours and they got colour."
William Younger brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number WY/6/1/2/14 (September 1858).

Right. Where to start? When were they adding flour? What sort of flour? (This was in the malt-only days before 1880). Add the big one - how did flour keep beer paler?


Anonymous said...

A finer grind of malt produces malt flour. That could be what they are referring to. How that would cause lighter color or better fermentation I have no idea.

Anonymous said...

A brewery assistant from hawkshead once told me they added flour at some point, I'm pretty sure it was during or after fermentation as i remember wondering how they avoided contamination. I also seem to remember him saying it worked with the finings and aided clarification, or it was for yeast health. Can't remember bt it struck me as odd.

HBewer said...

Must be in the mash, no? Extra gravity without extra malt that could add colour?

Anonymous said...

It's a common cheat among home brewers making Belgian style wheats to add a bit of regular wheat flour to add some cloudiness, but this sounds like something completely different.

Anonymous said...

Probably providing beneficial things for the yeast. You can search IBD wiley page for "turbidity" and find this.

If it was hazy, the haze would reflect the light and make the beer appear brighter. Also if it was wheat flour, and a replacement for something else, it'd probably have one of the lightest colours. Not much information to go on.

Lars Marius Garshol said...

Lots of farmhouse ale brewers report sprinkling rye flour into the fermenter. They don't say why, though.

Anonymous said...

Refined wheat flour is a common adjunct added to beers for various purposes, the number 1 being foam retention. Chimay and Rochefort both add flour, not whole wheat, to their recipes. Coopers in Australia add between 4-8% flour, not whole wheat, in all their normal beer line-up. In almost every example its added for foaming properties NOT for any haziness. I add flour to the tune of 10-25% to most of my homebrew as 1) serves as a cheap adjunct, 2) aids the head retention and 3) increases the phenolic content of the finished beer.

Ask yourself, as a home or commercial brewer, why you would add expensive flaked wheat that requires an added torrefaction process and not just use polished-wheat flour made for baking? Why also would you buy whole wheat that requires extra grinding and gives you less extract per kg/tonne at similar prices. Polished-wheat flour has had the lipid-rich bran removed and has a starch content 10-15% higher and is pre-ground. Where I live feed-wheat is 70c/kg and polished-wheat flour from the supermarket is 70c/kg, its a no brainer.

I'll never understand the hate for adjuncts.