“The largest and best engineered brewery, is that of Messrs. Truman, Hanbury, Buxton, & Co., Brick Lane, Spitalfields. The brewery. yards, &c., cover an area of eight acres, 240,000 gallons of water are used daily, or 72,000,000 gallons in a year. The well from which it is obtained is 530 feet deep, viz., 330 feet to bottom of shaft, and a bore-hole continued to the further depth of 200 feet. The supply from this well is only equal to half of what is required. A large quantity is taken from the East London Water Company. The produce is about 530,000 barrels of beer annually. There are 113 vats, the largest of which contains 2,050 barrels, or 74,000 gallons, and 100,000 casks, of sizes ranging from 18 to 108 gallons. The steam-engines, of which there are twelve, besides two gas-engines, represent a total power of 200 horses. There are eight brewing coppers, three of which are capable of containing 800 barrels each, and one liquor boiler of a capacity of 1,200 barrels. 700 quarters of malt can be mashed at one time in six mash-tubs. The malt is measured by two patent self-registering machines. There are two of Siebe's cooling machines, for reducing the temperature of the refrigerating liquor. 8,000 tons of coal are used annually. The average number of horses is 165. each horse consuming per day, about 40 lbs. weight of food, a total annual consumption of 2,409,000 lbs, or 1,075 tons. The number of persons employed is 450. The establishment is now the largest of its kind in London.”
"Brewers' Guardian, vol. 1, 1869", July 1871, page 205.
Truman was indeed the largest brewery in London, brewing around half a million barrels a year. In the 1850’s they’d been neck and neck with Barclay Perkins, but after 1860 began to pull away as Barclay Perkins output stagnated while theirs continued to grow. Though in the 1880’s Barclay Perkins snatched back top spot.
For over 100 years the largest brewery not only in the UK, but also the whole world, had been located in London. But all that was starting to change around this time. Bass in Burton and Guinness in Dublin were rising fast. By the end of the 1870’s, Guinness was brewing over 800,000 barrels a year and in the 1880’s passed the million barrel mark . That was far more than any of the big London brewers, who got stuck on about half a million barrels a year .
I was slightly surprised that the largest vat only contained 2,050 barrels. But by the 1870’s, Keeping Porter was all but dead and brewers no longer had a need for enormous vats. The beers which were still vatted – stronger Stouts and Stock Ales – were brewed in far smaller quantities and hence only required modestly-sized vats.
Siebe's cooling machines were what we would call a refrigerator today, that is a genuine artificial cooling device cooling by evaporating ether. This was at the cutting edge of technology. Ultimately, it made possible the spread of Lager brewing to areas without large amounts of natural ice. Truman were using it to cool the water in their refrigerator (a washboard of copper pipes over which the wort ran.
700 quarters of malt is enough to brew 2,800 barrels of standard-strength beer. Truman brewed on a massive scale, making single brews of 1,500 barrels by using multiple mash tuns.
Here are the output figures for London’s largest breweries around this period:
|Largest London brewers 1851 - 1872|
|"The British Brewing Industry, 1830-1980" T. R. Gourvish & R.G. Wilson, pages 610-611.|
Four of the five had been big Porter brewers in the 18th century. The outsider was Mann, an Ale brewer, which was quickly catching up, with its output about doubling in the 1860’s.