Sunday, 16 September 2018

The Brewing of Beer for Bottling (part two)

Continuing the article about brewing beer for bott;ing, we've got to fermentation, cleansing and conditioning.

Starting with primary fermentation:

"The yeast is added whilst the worts are running down; about half a pound of yeast to each barrel of wort is the average quantity. There are different ways of fermenting, including the skimming and stone or slate square systems, unions and wooden rounds, &c.; the latter are mostly used in Burton, and the squares in northern counties. Ale must not be attenuated as low for bottling as it is for draught purposes, so as to ensure life in the bottle; the heat had better be maintained at 60° Fahr. or thereabouts."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, page 381.
That doesn't seem very much yeast. A quick look at some brewing records shows me that a minimum of 1 lb of yeast per barrel was the norm. No idea where teh author got his amount from.

At first I thought the author was claiming unions were used for fermenting in Burton. Then, looking at the punctuation more carefully, I realised that it means Burton brewers used unions and wooden rounds. Though it should be the other way around. The wort went into the rounds first, then the unions.

"Cleansing by running the ale off into puncheons or cleansing casks, racked from these into dry and sweet casks when the required gravity is obtained; these casks are allowed to stand overnight, and well hopped on bunging down next morning with new hops, then stored in a cool dark cellar for a few months, and vented when required. If it is unsound it will develop iself, if sound, it will get bright and sparkling."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, page 381.
That's the London system of cleansing. If you were using a Yorkshire square, that combined fermentation and cleansing. While Burton brewers would use the already-mentioned unions. Stock Beers that underwent this sort of secondary fermentation in cask was expected to drop bright without fining. Unles something was wrong with the beer.

"Bottled after this treatment the ale should be perfectly satisfactory. If the bottled ale is not to be used for some time, it is generally bottled without gas (carbonic acid); the bottles must be perfectly clean and dry, filled to within a couple of inches from the top of the neck, then tightly stoppered; if corks are used they must be very close and solid, so that the gas cannot escape. Some bottlers advise leaving the bottles open for about twenty-four hours after filling, then corking and laying them lengthways in sand, covered with sawdust, for the prevention of mould."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, page 381.
It sounds like sometimes beer was being bottled with artificial carbonation. Having clean bottles is a bit of a no-brainer. Though not sealing the bottles for 24 hours sounds like asking for trouble. Not sure what point there could be in that. Can't see why covering a bottle in sand or sawdust would prevent mould. Though it could protect workers from flying glass, shouls a bottle explode.

"Pasteur advises the laying of the bottles on their sides, so that the oxygen in the small quantity of air between the liquid and the stopper may be rapidly absorbed by the larger surface of liquid so exposed. If the ale is for immediate use, it is better to saturate it with carbonic acid gas. There is always a certain amount of sediment, especially in porter, and this is deposited on the sides of the bottles when they are laid length ways, even when only for twenty four hours: and this is of more importance than the fear of the growth of mould on the surface of the liquid, especially when the ale is for immediate use, but there ought not to be any fear of mould when the bottles are well washed and dried."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, page 381.
Not sure what Pasteur was on about. Whay do you want the beer to absorb oxygen. Surely, if a beer had been bottled well, there would be no oxygen in the heas space, but CO2? I wonder why Porter always had sediment?

"When the cork is drawn it must be done gently, so that the gas does not escape too quickly, and the sediment is not disturbed. A spring cork screw answers this purpose admirably. When a stopper is used it must be unscrewed gently, and the ale poured down the side of the glass. If the above instructions are carefully attended to, and if the beer has had constant attention, it will be of a good colour, sparkling, and have a full taste on the palate."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, pages 381 - 382.
Good advice there for pouring a bottle-conditioned beer. It's how I do it myself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You'll always get a bit of oxygen pickup during bottling, which will get scavenged by yeast if you're bottle conditioning. But the yeast can only scavenge oxygen that's in the liquid.

Not sure it's a major problem, but lying on its side is an interesting idea, to be set against the greater exposure of beer to oxygen before the yeast can get to it.