Friday, 17 August 2018

The new system of bottling (part two)

Were on to actual bottling this time. Though I feel a little shortchanged, based on the article's title.

Because, despite it saying "The Brewlng of Ale Specially for Bottling", there's actually bugger all about that in the article. Just a single sentence that really only says that the beer should be in good condition. That's pretty effing obvious.

"The question of brewing beers, specially for bottling by the new system, forms but a secondary consideration; but, of course, the ale or stout must be sound and in good condition. Nothing is subtracted from the natural strength of the beer, but, by the addition thereto of carbonic acid gas, it increases the specific gravity, and stays, at the same time, a certain amount of fermentation, as this gas, under pressure, of itself forms an anti-ferment — there is nothing else in the shape of anti-ferment or chemicals required. The yeast germ that is the cause of fermentation in the old system is, in the new, thrown down in a half-formed state, so that pressure in the bottle is not increased. Endeavours should be made to give the public bottled beers without deposit ; this is actually the result where a quick trade is done, but in a month’s time then a deposit of about half is the result as compared with the old system. As a proof that the light ales are now preferred by the public to the old heavy and heady kinds, we have only to notice the rapid strides that Lager and such like beers have made in all parts of the world. I will now give a slight explanation of the simple means required to bottle on the new system."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1892", 1892, page 88.

I'm not sure that I understands why force-carbonating would increase the specific gravity. If the beer throws a sediment after a month, that implies to me that there is a fermentation taking place. Which would inevitably raise the pressure in the bottle, despite the author's claim that it wouldn't. Does CO2 pressure prevent fermentation?

"The ale is either pumped or racked in the ordinary way into a cylinder of, say, 40-gallons capacity. It is then hermetically closed, and then the same pump, by turning certain taps, extracts the atmospheric air, and afterwards forces in carbonic acid gas, mixing the same by means of rotating fans or agitators thoroughly with the malt liquor. Bottling can commence immediately the pressure is obtained, averaging 25 lbs. by the gauge, but as the pressure would be lessened by the withdrawal of the beer in the cylinder to the bottling machine, a little extra gas is occasionally forced in to form a cushion on the top of the beer, and by this means the uniform pressure is maintained until the last bottle has been filled. One great and conspicuous advantage in the new system of bottling is the total elimination of fobbing. This has hitherto been a great drawback and loss also, but it is now entirely overcome, and the most fobby beers can be bottled with equal rapidity, as if they were water. The beer falls simply by gravitation from the cylinder into the bottle through the cork filling machine. Pressure is admitted into the empty bottles immediately before filling, so that a weak or starred bottle is actually tested before the beer enters, so that the loss of beer is minimised from bursting bottles, and the loss from bottles bursting after they are filled is almost nil, as pressure in the bottle does not increase; thus the whole loss incurred under the old system is entirely obviated by the new."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1892", 1892, page 88.

By "pressure is admitted into the empty bottles" I assume that the author means that pressurised CO2 is forced in the bottles. Is that what prevents fobbing? I'm sure that he's being optimistic about all losses being avoided. No system is that good. Even a modern bottling machine will have some losses.

"The arrangement for bottling screw-stoppered bottles is similar to that of the corking machine, and the action is singularly simple. By lowering the handle of a balance weight the stopper holder is lowered, and the stopper is then inserted. By releasing the handle the counterweight lifts the stopper into a receptacle, into which the bottle is placed by inserting the neck up into it and resting the bottom on a block provided for that purpose. By pulling the handle on the right side over to the front, a rubber is, by hydraulic pressure, pressed tightly round the neck of the bottle, the act of pulling the handle having the effect of pushing up a ram plunger, which forces water against the sides of the rubber, and thus closes on the bottle neck, making a tight lateral joint. The beer is now run into the bottle by opening two cocks, one in communication with the top of the cylinder, and one with the bottom, and when the bottle is filled they are turned off and the stopper lowered by means of the counterbalanced lever. The winch handle at top connected with the stopper holder is now turned round and round until the stopper is screwed home into its proper place in the bottle; by releasing the lever on the right sends back the rubber to its normal size, and the bottle with its stopper in being withdrawn completes the operation. The process goes on with marvellous rapidity by unskilled lads, the bottles being placed into boxes ready for direct delivery into vans. This is no imaginary or ideal system that I have chosen to call the new, but is actually in daily operation at several bottling establishments in London and elsewhere; and, as time is a true test for any innovation upon old forms, then I assert most emphatically I have succeeded in proving this “new" system to be a true and honest one, both scientifically and commercially, by being able to refer to those who have adopted it, and have had it in constant use for about eight years."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1892", 1892, page 88.

I don't really understand the sdescription of the bottling process. A diagram would have been usefulThe author is clearly keen on this new bottling system. Though it's not the one that eventually triumphed. Chilled and filtered bottled beer was the way ahead. After primary fermentation the beer was tranferred to a tank where it cooled to almost 0º C to precipitate out any gunk and then filtered so that it was crystal clear. This process removed most of the yeast and left a bright beeer without sediment.


Phil said...

He is specifically saying that the addition of CO2 stops the fermentation process halfway, so that the yeast drops in bottle without fermenting out. IANAB, but my immediate reaction is "good luck with that".

the addition thereto of carbonic acid gas ... increases the specific gravity, and stays [i.e. halts] a certain amount of fermentation, as this gas, under pressure, of itself forms an anti-ferment — there is nothing else in the shape of anti-ferment or chemicals required. The yeast germ that is the cause of fermentation in the old system is, in the new, thrown down [i.e. drops] in a half-formed state

Neeall said...

I'm assuming the sediment forms because there will still be some amount of yeast left in suspension, which must settle out over time. This sediment would be smaller as there is no secondary fermentation going on, creating new cells.

I might be wrong but I believe CO2 affects hydrometer readings so may cause a higher reading even though there isn't actually more sugar in the beer.