Tuesday 23 July 2024

Restrictions on roasting malt

Following up on my posts about UK beer legislation, here's more detail on theh law concerning roast malt.

You may be wondering: why the hhell were the rules so strict? Basically because the governement was paranoid. And were afraid that brewers would us unmalted grains. Thus dodging tax. These rules effectively made malt roasting a specialist occupation. At least, until 1880.

"AN ACT to provide Regulations for preparing and using Roasted Malt in colouring Beer.

(18th June 1842.)


1. Prohibiting the roasting of malt for sale, or the selling thereof except by persons duly licensed.

2. Roasters of malt and dealers in roasted malt to take out a licence. — Penalty.

3. Duty on licences to be under the management of the Commissioners of Excise, who shall grant the same.

4. Roasters of malt to make entry of their premises and utensils.—Penalty.

5. Roasters of malt to mark their premises and utensils corresponding to their entry.

6. Officers of Excise empowered to enter the premises of roasters of malt.

7. Roasters of malt not to receive any other grain than unroasted malt, and dealers no other than roasted malt.—Penalty.

8. A malt book to be delivered to every roaster of malt and dealer in roasted malt, in which they shall respectively enter all malt received, roasted, and sent out by them.

9. Stock account of malt to be taken.

10. Book may be made up before taking the account, and malt in the cylinders may be included.

11. Malt not to be roasted at night.

12. A certificate book to he delivered to every roaster of malt, and all roasted malt to be sent out by certificate.— Penalty.

13. Brewers intending to use roasted malt to provide deposit rooms in which all roasted malt to be deposited, and the certificate delivered up to the officer of Excise.—Penalty.

14. All malt received by any roaster shall be roasted on his premises; and all roasted malt shall be sent out unground.

15. No roasted malt to be bought of any but a licensed roaster.

16. No maltster at his malt house, or within one mile of it, or any druggist or grocer, to be a roaster of malt or dealer in roasted malt.

17. Power of Commissioners to except maltsters whose premises were within prohibited distance before 1st April 1842.

18. Roasters, &c. of malt subject to like prohibitions as to the custody, &c. of certain articles, &c. as brewers of, or dealers in, or retailers of beer.

19. Act may be altered this session."
"The public general acts, Volume 1902", pages 79-80.

Provision 16 effectively prohibits a maltster from roasting. That, along with provision 14, insisting that roast malt be sent out unground seem to be designed to stop maltsters just roasting raw barley. I assume if it's ground it would be harder to tell if it had been malted or not.

The insistence that roasters bought in barley that had already been malted, and on which the tax had already been paid, was similarly designed to prevent the roasting o unmalted grains.

Not sure why roasting at night was prohibited. But it's probably something to do with preventing tax dodging. As that's what everything else is about.

Monday 22 July 2024

Summary of UK brewing legislation (part two)

Today it's the rest o my cut-out-and-keep guide to 19th-ccentury UK brewing legislation. Which isn't quite so sugar-heavy this time.

1880, with the Free Mash Tun Act, was a huge dividing line in brewing legislation. Many of the old rules - designed to stop brewers dodging tax by using any fermentable material other than malt - ell by the wayside.

31st July 1865 - 30th April 1874
Brewers prohibited from using a mixture of glucose and treacle.

30th April 1874
The definition of sugar extended to mean any description of sugar, including any saccharine substance or syrup manufactured from any material from which sugar can be manufactured. The use of sugar to make beer colouring also allowed.

14th August 1855 - 30th September 1880
Storage of unmalted grain in a brewery prohibited except for: grain in a malt house; oats or beans for horse food kept in a specific place. Malt only to be crushed by metal rollers with smooth surfaces which were not fluted.

11th October 1862 - 30th September 1880
Brewers of spruce or black beer exempted from new rates of license duty on brewers provided that they used no hops or yeast in making them.

16th September 1862
Duties on hops repealed. Prohibition on hop substitutes removed, also the restrictions on importing extracts, essences and other preparations of hops. This was only extended to Ireland on 25th July 1864.

1st October 1880
"Free mash tun " Act. Duty imposed at 6s 3d per standard barrel of 1057º. All restriction on ingredients removed except those on drugs and harmful substances.

16th May 1888
The use of "saccharin" (a product of coal tar) prohibited.

16th April 1889
A standard barrel changed to 1055º.

17th April 1894
Duty per standard barrel raised to 6s 9d.

1st October 1896
Rice, flaked maize and other similar products, which had been classified as malt or corn with regard to their wort-producing powers reclassified as "sugar".
Source: "Report and minutes of evidence Departmental Committee on Beer Materials, 1899, page 382. 

Notice how strict the rules were on unmalted grains. And the weird rules about mill rollers. I've absolutely no idea why fluted rollers weren't allowed. Maybe that's what you'd use for unmalted grains.

Sunday 21 July 2024

Loving Santiago

The kids, too.We get to ride the metro everywhere. They drink beer, I drink pisco sour. We get to shiver together in the unheated pubs. It's like being back in the 1970s. But in a good way.

Montevideo tomorrow.

Summary of UK brewing legislation (part one)

Something a bit different today. Really a reference guide, rather than anything else. For any budding beer historian who doesn't feel like digging through all the parliamentary statutes.

You'll notice that quite a lot o it relates to sugar in brewing. Which was a tricky subject for the government. Big fluctuations in the duty on sugar used in brewing must discouraged brewers from using it.

Whitbread, for example, briefly flirted with sugar when it was first allowed in 1847. But soon dropped it again and didn't readopt it until 1865. Barclay Perkins, other than in the occasional cheap beer, didn't use sugar before the 1880 Free Mash Tun Act.

1st May 1802 - 20th June 1811
No materials other than malt, hops and water allowed.

26th June 1811 - 5th July 1817
Porter brewers were allowed to use a solution of burnt brown sugar to colour Porter only.

6th July 1817
The burnt colouring solution was forbidden and only malt, hops and water were allowed. Brewers, retailers and dealers of beer were not allowed to possess sugar nor certain specified drugs and adulterants.

11th October 1827
The rules from 6th July 1817 also applied to Ireland.

16th July 1830
Beer duties abolished. Brewers prohibited from having raw or unmalted grain on their premises.

18th June 1842
The use of roasted or black malt in brewing first recognised in law.  Strict rules on the manufacture, sale and storage of black malt were introduced. There was further legislation on this topic in 1856 and 1857. All these were repealed in 1880. 

23rd February 1847
The use of sugar (but not molasses or other types of sugar on which the full duties had not been paid) allowed in the brewing of beer and in the preparation of colouring material for beer.

6th July 1851
A duty of 1s 4d per cwt. introduced on sugar used in brewing.

10th July 1854
Duty on sugar used in brewing raised to 6s 6d per cwt.

Duty on sugar used in brewing reduced to 3s 9d per cwt.

5th July 1856 - 15th April 1864
Collection of duty on sugar used in brewing held in abeyance.

16th April 1864
A duty of 3s 4d per cwt. imposed on sugar used in brewing.

30th April 1867
Duty on sugar used in brewing raised to 3s 6d per cwt.

12th April 1870
Duty on sugar used in brewing raised to 7s 6d per cwt.

8th May 1873
Duty on sugar used in brewing raised to 9s 6d per cwt.

30th April 1874
Duty on sugar used in brewing raised to 11s 6d per cwt.

30th September 1880
Duty on sugar used in brewing repealed.
Source: "Report and minutes of evidence Departmental Committee on Beer Materials, 1899, page 382.

In 1830, when the taxation on beer was purely on malt and hops, restrictions came in on having unmalted grains in a brewery. As their use would be dodging tax.

Saturday 20 July 2024

Let's Brew - 1914 Cairnes Bitter Ale

The replacement for E.I. Ale has the much more understandable brewhouse name of B. Ale. Which I’m pretty sure stands for Bitter Ale.

And an Ordinary Bitter is what it looks like. Something along the lines of Barclay Perkins XLK. The difference being that Cairnes brewed a lot less o their beer. Both in absolute terms and as a percentage of all the beer they brewed.

The main difference with E.I. Ale, other than a 5º, drop in gravity, is the appearance of an adjunct in the grist. Namely, flaked something, which I’ve guessed at being maize. There’s an equally vague type of sugar. Which I’ve conservatively guessed at being No. 2 invert.

Guess what the hops are? Yes, exactly the same as all the other beers: half Oregon, half English, both from the 1912 season.  

1914 Cairnes Bitter Ale
pale malt 6.75 lb 67.50%
flaked maize 1.25 lb 12.50%
No. 2 invert sugar 2.00 lb 20.00%
Cluster 120 mins 2.00 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 1.00 oz
Goldings dry hops 1.00 oz
OG 1050
FG 1013
ABV 4.89
Apparent attenuation 74.00%
IBU 64
Mash at 154º F
Sparge at 168º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 58.5º F
Yeast Wyeast 1084 Irish ale

Friday 19 July 2024


It's amusing that some modern drinkers believe that dry-hopping is one of craft beer's innovations. When, in fact, it's been practised or centuries.

Let's take a look at how the process worked in the late 19th century.

"It is usual to dry-hop the casks before filling, this preventing much frothing that would otherwise occur, although it necessitates a second topping over of beer, the dry hops absorbing a great deal of moisture. A certain amount of care is necessary in selecting hops for this purpose; they should be large, well matured, free from leaf, rich in condition, and of undoubted soundness, the twigs exhibiting the absence of mould, even when they are steeped in water, and the water examined microscopically."
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, page 227.

Obviously, you wouldn't use mouldy old hops or the purpose. That would just be asking for trouble.

Though it seems that not all brewers were keen on using whole hops, worrying about the clarity of their beer. Instead, they used lupulin.

"Some brewers object to the use of hops, saying that if beer becomes brisk, annoyance is experienced by the publican on account of minute fragments of flower or leaf floating about in the otherwise decently bright beer; but my own impression is, that if we investigate the exact composition of the so-called particles of hops, we shall find that instead of being so, the particles consist of conglomerated yeast cells. If brewers do experience such difficulty, it is quite easy to use a small quantity of lupulin for the purpose of hopping down, which they can procure for themselves by gently rubbing down the flower of hops upon a fine sieve."
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, pages 227-228.

Dr hops could produce cloudiness. Orr even turn a beer grey.

"Some little care is necessary in order to prevent cloudiness of beer through the over-use of new hops in cask, such variety yielding a very oleaginous extract for which no proper solvent exists in beer until ethereal products result from slow fermentation in cask.

I dare say most of my readers have noticed the peculiar grey shade that hangs upon heavily hopped pale beers during preliminary stages of storage, this seeming to be due to a larger quantity of oil existing than can be held in perfect solution by the small proportion of solid extract existing after fermentation; and this fact shows us that in spite of the strongly-marked antiseptic and protective agency of lupulin, or the condition of the hop-flower, in spite of the aid of hop-tannin, at the time of artificial fining it is undoubtedly a great mistake to over-hop running beers that are expected to be perfectly brilliant soon after being placed in the cellar of the publican; while it is just as necessary to heavily hop down stock and export beers that have to keep for prolonged periods of time."
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, page 228.

What a surprise. Running beers didn't need many dry hops. While beers to be stored a long time before sale needed loads.

Finally, some recommended dry-hopping rates:

"The quantity of hops usually employed for dry-hopping amounts to some 0.25lb. per barrel for beers of 20 to 22 grav.[1056-1061°], 0.5lb. from 22 to 26 [1061-1072°] , 0.75lb. to 1lb. for heavy beers ranking upwards from 27 [1072°]."
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, pages 228-229. 

Wasn't that fun? Not really, I suppose. At least for anyone other than me.

Thursday 18 July 2024

Rolling (but not rocking)

I'm not totally sure if, in this next section, Faulkner was referring to Running or Stock Beer. But it does talk about how to keep beer fully carbonated during storage.

Even a Running Bitter was likely to have at least two to four weeks conditioning in the brewery. During which time you'd want the beer to fully carbonate itself. Because which pub would want flat beer? (And for my more craftily-orientated readers, cask beer is not "flat", just with a sensible level of carbonation that won't leave you as bloated as a pregnant warthog after a pint and a half.)

On the other hand, you wouldn't want your cask getting overpressurised. And that's where venting comes in.

"For this reason, if beer be left quiescent and unaerated by “rolling," at a proper storage temperature — which in England, as I have said, is somewhere about 58° — the second fermentation is easily controlled or regulated by venting; and this is much more readily accomplished by the tight peg, eased as required, than by porous pegs, which are supposed to act automatically.

Briefly described, the venting process allows of carbonic acid escaping, when in excess, without any chance of aeration by exposure, and on this principle we have a ready means of preventing flatness of beer during the colder months of the year, since if nonaeration tend to retard cask fermentation, it is evident that motion facilitating mixture of air with beer must encourage it."
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, page 254.

He's talking about hard and soft spiles. The former being a solid piece of wood which completely seals the shive hole. Whereas the latter is a porous piece o wood which allows gas to escape (or enter) the cask without any human intervention.

Secondary fermentation in the cask could be a problem if the temperature was too low. And this is where rolling came in.

"Brewers frequently experience the following kind of annoyance when the normal temperature of the atmosphere tends to prevent early cask condition ; their beer racked of necessity fairly clean is immediately stacked, and, the temperature being low, no fermentation results, since the suspended yeast rapidly settles to the bottom of the cask, and remains dormant there on account of the lowness of store temperature.

Now, if we oppose this restrictive influence by the combined agency of motion and resulting aeration, we shall not only prevent the subsidence of yeast, but also bring it into vigorous vital condition, all this being easily done by a daily rolling of the beer for some little time after racking."
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, page 254.

Agitating the casks by rolling certainly is likely to liven the yeast up and get it eating again. Though rolling around all the casks in storage once a day is quite a lot of manual effort. Especially if there are hundreds of casks.

I've only come across one case of cask rolling. And I'm not even 100% sure that's really true. I heard that when Courage Russian Stout was being brewed in Tadcaster that it was filled into casks for secondaty fermentation. And every so often they'd kick the casks around the brewery yard to keep the fermentation going.

Wednesday 17 July 2024

South America!

That's what ine of tyeone 

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1914 Cairnes Table Beer

I’m surprised that Cairnes were still brewing a Table Beer as late as 1914. In England, most brewers dropped the type not long after it disappeared as a tax category in 1830. Though it seems to have survived longer in Scotland: until around 1900.

The gravity has dropped quite a bit since 1898, from 1045º to 1033º. Leaving it extremely weak for a pre-WW I beer, at just a little over 3% ABV. And extremely weak for a beer in Ireland, where average OG was 1066º in 1914.

Like all Cairnes recipes, it’s pretty simple. Just base malt, flaked maize and sugar. Though there were two types of pale malt, one from Irish barley, the other from Indian barley.

The hops were split evenly between English and Oregon, both from the 1912 harvest. 

1914 Cairnes Table Beer
pale malt 5.00 lb 74.07%
flaked maize 0.75 lb 11.11%
No. 2 invert sugar 1.00 lb 14.81%
Cluster 120 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.50 oz
OG 1033
FG 1007.5
ABV 3.37
Apparent attenuation 77.27%
IBU 36
Mash at 152º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 57º F
Yeast Wyeast 1084 Irish ale

Tuesday 16 July 2024

Dublin porter for town trade

It seems that in Dublin they had their own particular way of handling beer for the pub trade. Specifically, Porter.

"Dublin porter for town trade
This is exampled in the case of Dublin porter, brewed for town trade. With such a beer, of no great stability, and which would not be consumed if flat, it is necessary to force on a cask fermentation to lead to immediate condition; and this is done by merely racking the beer in rooms kept moderately warm by steam pipes, the induced rise of temperature being quite sufficient to set in motion further fermentation, so long as the cask is tightly shived up. At one time there was a dispute as to whether it was advisable to regulate condition in cask or to allow cask fermentation full swing, the upholders of the latter idea asserting that under the great internal cask pressure the secondary fermentation was much more healthy, and was put an end to by pressure itself. I believe that there is a great deal of merit in such a notion, and if the stock beer existed in the cellar from which it was to be drawn, there is no doubt but that the beer fermented under such high-pressure conditions would be remarkably good if it could be tapped and consumed without any disturbance of the bottom deposit."
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, page 252.

That sounds very much like the highly-conditioned casks used in the two-cask serving system, which Guinness used or their Porter right up until it was discontinued in the early 1970s. It's interesting to learn exactly how they got the casks into that condition. Simply by racking the beer in a warm room.

This is what I'm talking about:

Faulkner wasn't impressed by this process. Asserting that the beer would only remain bright while the pressure was maintained. Something which wasn't possible when the beer was served and the cask partially emptied.

"As a practical question, the process is a faulty or impossible one; however bright the beer might be the extreme pressure would lead to immediate turbidity directly it was reduced, by diminishing quantity of fluid contents; while if the beer be stored for lengthy periods, the high pressure gradually disappears, much of the gas causing it passing through the pores of the wood, while the remainder is taken into solution, and when the cask is shipped away it is by no means full, and the contents exhibit but slight capacity of again becoming brisk, the violent fermentation that originally led to the pressure ending in excessive reduction of fermentable character, the high pressure very seriously influencing the vital power of the alcoholic cells present.
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, pages 252-253.

Not so sure that I understand the second half of that paragraph.

Monday 15 July 2024

Handling public-house beer

More about how beer intended for pubs was handled.

Faulkner thought that the temperature pub beer was stored at in the brewery was really important. One clarification: why does he talk about cask beer specifically for the pub trade? Because a lot of casks were sold to private customers, to be served in their homes.

"In coming to the actual treatment of beer in store we have to consider for what purposes it is intended: if for stock it is naturally lowered into the basement, while if mild and for public-house use it remains either in racking-room or in store on ground level, since as the cellars of the publican are not, as a rule, of the best, with temperature restricted by their natural position, it is useless paying particular attention to such beers if at the end of a few hours they are to be moved away to the consumer. It has always seemed to me a point of extreme importance that such beers as are brewed expressly for public-house use should, during the colder months of the year, be kept at a moderately low temperature on the premises of the brewer, so as to escape those constant chills which frequently result in the cellars of the smaller publicans, which are mostly exposed to atmospheric influences. During the warmer months of the year we have to keep such beers as cool as possible so as to ward off a secondary fermentation, which is common to all beers alike, and which comes on sooner or later according to their exact quality, degree of fermentative capacity at the time of racking, and the variation of heat that may take place directly after racking."
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, pages 250-251.

It wasn't advised to store casks at too cool a temperature, because the pub cellars were likely to not be that cool. Except in the winter. I guess the idea was to store the casks in the brewery at as close a temperature to pub cellars as possible.

And what about in the summer?

"All beer, as I have said, contains carbonic acid, and in the case of such qualities as necessarily have to undergo fining it is important to prevent the collection of free carbonic acid in cask prior to the fining being carried out. For instance, if we happen to rack beer on a warm day, and the temperature of the racking-room facilitates rise of heat, a certain amount of carbonic acid is set free from the beer in cask, and if the bung or shive be out it readily passes off, while if the cask be tightly bunged or shived, the gas set free by the rise of heat accumulates, creates pressure and a variety of motion that acts very energetically in bringing on secondary change; and it is for this reason that beers of fermentative capacity require carefully venting immediately the casks are filled, when the temperature of the store naturally causes an increase in heat. If this is neglected it will be found that in many cases a determined secondary fermentation will set in at the end of a very few hours."
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, pages 251-252.

When it was warm and CO2 was coming out of solution, then you needed to vent the casks immediately after filling. Whichh makes sense.

Sunday 14 July 2024

Finings (part two)

Now here's an important question: when do you fine?

An obvious place to add finings would be in the racking tank. As that would be a good way of making sure they were mixed evenly through all the beer. But, for various reasons, Faulkner wasn't keen on that. Instead, he preferred to add them to the cask. And that could happen either in the brewery or in the pub cellar.

Nowadays, I don't think there are any brewers who would trust pub landlords to fine their beer correctly. In the past, it seems to have been commonplace.

"It may be asked, If the tank is unsuitable for fining operations, where should it be accomplished ? Now, I have spoken, among other matters, of London beers that are fined by the publican, and, in many large towns, more especially in the North of England, it is quite customary for the brewer to supply finings to the publican, which he applies as he thinks proper.

The London manipulation is, however, unique in its way, the finings practically being thrown out of the bung-hole on account of the beer itself being supplied to the houses in very fresh, and what I may term yeasty, condition; while, in the other towns mentioned, the beer is supplied very clean, and the finings go directly to the bottom, the cask being bunged tightly up."
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, pages 290-291.

That's something I've never heard before: that London beer was delivered in a very lively condition. I always thought that finings took stuff to the bottom of the cask, not expel it through the bunghole.

I wonder exactly what he means by "very clean". Does that mean it was pretty bright and free of yeast?

Saturday 13 July 2024

Let's Brew - 1914 Cairnes Mild Ale

Cairnes continued to brew a stronger Mild Ale. Though they had changed the name in the brewing record from simply “Ale” to “M. Ale”. And dropped the gravity by 5º.

At an English brewery, Mild Ale would have been by far the biggest seller. But that wasn’t the case here. Cairnes brewed fairly modest quantities of theirs. Though it was stronger than a standard English Mild Ale. Even London examples.

The biggest change since 1898 is the introduction of flaked maize. In general, the recipe is very similar to that of 2d Ale. Except that there’s half as much sugar. Which, presumably, left this beer with far more body. And quite a bit more colour.

There are equal quantities of Oregon and English hops. Both from 1913 harvest, so reasonably fresh.

1914 Cairnes Mild Ale
pale malt 10.25 lb 75.93%
flaked maize 2.00 lb 14.81%
glucose 1.25 lb 9.26%
Cluster 120 mins 2.25 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 1.00 oz
OG 1062
FG 1022
ABV 5.29
Apparent attenuation 64.52%
IBU 64
SRM 4.5
Mash at 153º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 58.75º F
Yeast Wyeast 1084 Irish ale


Friday 12 July 2024


Another important process was fining. And another one which has a surprisingly long history. The use of isinglass going back until at least to the 17th century. Though, even after its introduction, beer which underwent a long secondary fermentation was still expected to drop bright without finings.

"In coming to the question of fining, we are face to face with a matter requiring thorough investigation, for the use of an artificial fining material has simply revolutionised brewing operations; for whereas some few years ago public taste was in favour of aged beer, and as very lengthy storage of the unfined beer in bulk was necessary to ensure brightness, a vast amount of capital was consequently locked up during such period, while, at the present time, I should say two-thirds of the beer produced in England is consumed within a month of its production, forced into a condition of brightness by artificial means."
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, page 229.

It's a sign of the decline in the popularity of aged beer that two-thirds of beer was sold withing a couple of weeks. At the start of the 19th century, the situation was very different. Especially with the popularity of Porter.

Isinglass, it seems, was superior to other fining agents. Which I guess is why it's still being used.

 "So far as I remember, the introduction of isinglass as a fining material was the primary cause of the complete change in modus operandi spoken of, for all previous artificial methods, such as the use of silver sand, alum, and so forth, were singularly ineffectual by comparison, and the beer so clarified was not calculated to impress people by its degree of brilliancy and early palate character; for I know of nothing that interferes so much with the delicate flavour of beer, especially of that of only moderate gravity, as the semi-cloudiness which means a very intimate kind of connection existing between the amorphous matter and yeast in suspension in the weak alcoholic fluid."
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, page 229.

It seems that the use of finings was important for the development of Mild Ale.

". . . it was only after the introduction of gelatine as a combined chemical and mechanical fining agent that brilliancy was attainable, and a mild beer produced fit for consumption almost directly after fermentation was complete."
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, page 230.

Which pretty much describes the way 20th-century Mild was handled.

Thursday 11 July 2024

So many roasted malts

You may never have heard of Plunkett Brothers, but they did play a key role in a classic beer.

They were a Dublin-based malt roaster. And, most importantly, pretty much house roaster to Guinness.

As this testimonial attests.

James's Gate Brewery, Dublin, 25th February, 1873
"Dear Mrs. Plunkett,
We have the pleasure of stating that we are purchasing considerable quantities of your Patent Brown Malt, and find it of very good quality. We would alio say that our connection with your Firm and that of your husband, the late Mr. Randal Plunkett, and his father, extends over fifty years, during which we have had large and satisfactory transactions.
Mrs. Eliza Plunkett, Belle Vue.

The above text comes rom a Plunkett Brothers advertisement in "The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888. By which time Guinness hhad probably swapped out the Patent Brown Malt for roast barley. I know for certain that they were using roast barley in 1894, because I've seen it in a bbrewing record.

Plunkett Brothers produced an impressive range of roast grains:

Chocolate Finest Patent Malt Roasted for Flavor.
Finest Patent Malt Roasted for flavor and color.
No. 1 Patent Roasted Black Malt for color.
No. 2 Patent Roasted Black Malt for color.
Patent Roasted Barley.
Patent Roasted Maize (Patent granted June, '80)
Special “Candied” Malt (Registered March 31, '85)
Golden Finish Malt.
No. 1 Amber Brown Malt.
No. 2 Amber Brown Matt.
High-dried Pale Malt.

I wonder what roasted maize was like? And what the hell it was used for.

Wednesday 10 July 2024

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1914 Cairnes 2d Ale

We’re now just a few weeks after the outbreak of WW I. And Cairnes are still producing a Mild Ale. Albeit a cheap, low-gravity one.

The gravity is pretty weedy for a beer of the period. Even for a cheap Mild Ale. Assuming 2d is the price per pint, in London you’d have got a beer of around 1050º for that amount.

It’s a pretty simple recipe. Just one malt, one adjunct and one sugar. There’s really very little to it at all. Though around a quarter of the pale malt was made from Californian barley. The rest being Irish.

Given the extremely pale colour, it wouldn’t surprise me I some caramel was added for colour correction.

The hops were split 50-50 between Oregon and English, both from the 1913 harvest. 

1914 Cairnes 2d Ale
pale malt 5.00 lb 66.67%
flaked maize 1.00 lb 13.33%
glucose 1.50 lb 20.00%
Cluster 120 mins 1.25 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.50 oz
OG 1038
FG 1012
ABV 3.44
Apparent attenuation 68.42%
IBU 44
Mash at 152º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 58.5º F
Yeast Wyeast 1084 Irish ale

Tuesday 9 July 2024

Racking in the late 19th century

What can there be to say about racking? Isn't it just moving beer to its final destination? Well, not quite.

The temperature at which beer was racked was very important. That is, if you wanted your clear and nicely conditioned. 

"Racking itself is a very simple matter, and the chief points to observe seem to be the prevention of aeration and waste, although temperature at racking is of some special significance — for instance, if beer be racked at a high temperature it is not so free from suspended yeast as it would be when presenting the same appearance of brightness at the lower temperature, and as considerable aeration goes on, no matter how carefully we may carry out the racking process, it is not difficult to understand why in warm weather the high racking temperature facilitates a recommencement of fermentation, the air absorbed giving to each suspended cell a new lease of vigorous life."
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, pages 223-224.

It wasn't just a high racking temperature that could result in an unwanted restart of fermentation. Too cold a temperature could do exactly the same.

"On the other hand, while stated brightness means greater cleanliness at the low temperature, it is pretty evident that if this be fixed many degrees below that normal to the store there is a rapid rise immediately after racking, and this undoubtedly directly promotes fermentation unless the beer be very destitute of gas, since if the cask be shived off and gas be liberated by the rise of heat we have a state of turmoil inside corresponding to motion — another influence, as we have seen, inducing alcoholic change."
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, page 224.

What was the correct temperature, then? About the same temperature as the main storage cellar.

"On the face of it, therefore, it is wise to rack beer at the temperature of the main store, since it is no use racking higher, as in that case a drop in temperature results during preliminary storage, giving a cloud to the beer and a deposit in cask, which might just as well have taken place in tank ; and it is equally unwise to rack a beer at a very low temperature so that a rapid rise results; rapidity of rise or fall in temperature in the case of finished beer invariably leading to fretfulness on the one hand, flatness and turbidity on the other.

I may take a temperature of 55° to 59° as a range for winter and summer, most brewers, I presume, having storage sufficiently good to enable them to keep within such a range; and, if so, the racking temperature for the warmer months should be about 58°, ranging downwards to 56° in the winter, although it is pretty evident that in the colder weather the brewer has little control over temperature of beer when exposed for any time in tanks on basement, unless the racking-room be much more closed in than is usual."
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, page 224.

55° to 59° F is pretty much like a natural cellar temperature. Not that difficult to achieve without artificial refrigeration.

Monday 8 July 2024

Where has all the dextrine gone?

In his introduction to the second edition of "The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" notes some of the reasons he has had to update his book. It's fascinating stuff. Especially when he talks about the change in wort composition.

It seems that this change was at least partly due to the switch in taxation from malt to the OG of the wort before fermentation. A change which had only taken place a few years earlier, in 1880. 

"For instance, since the abandonment of the malt duty, types of grain have come into use and methods of malting have been carried out that have led insensibly to the production of infusion worts almost entirely destitute of dextrine, or, at any rate, of dextrine in sufficient quantity to determine that persistent palate of beer that is thought so necessary, while as public taste has been drifting in the direction of a decided preference for low gravity beers in place of those of extreme body and strength, that were indeed so diligently sought after a few years ago, this question of infusion extract and its general composition has of necessity become more and more important."
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, page vi.

By "types of grain" I think he's talking about unmalted grains, such as flaked maize and flaked rice. Which I doubt produced much dextrine.

It's funny when he talks about the low-gravity that drinkers now prefer. These wouldn't be what we would consider low-gravity nowadays. The would have been at least 1050º.

The typical dextrine content of wort had about halved, from 20-22% to 10-12%. Quite a big change.

"It is well known, I think, that the theoretical transformation products of malt starch (or rather of malt extract) contain, as a rule, about 60 or 62 per cent, of maltose and 20 or 22 per cent, of dextrine, while for reasons in connection with altered character of material, the adoption of low infusion heats, subdivision of mash wort, and stewing during collection process, this theoretically normal composition of wort extract is no longer very common, the ordinary dextrine constituent in the case of infusion worts having diminished to a proportion not exceeding, as a rule, some 10 or 12 per cent, upon total solids.

I am not saying or wishing my readers to infer for a moment that the dextrinous bodies are the sole constituents of wort capable of communicating body, viscidity, or foaming capacity to resulting beer; but they are, at any rate, of very great importance, the exact percentage in which they exist having much to do not only with the condition of beer, but the way in which it matures during lengthy storage."
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, page vi.

The decline in the public's enthusiasm for aged beer would also have had an effect. Beers served no more than a couple of weeks after racking didn't need a high dextrine content to provide fuel for the secondary fermentation.

Sunday 7 July 2024

Preparing to fly

Off to South America with the kids on Saturday. Lots of preparation needed. Though not travel ones.

Got to get all those blog posts scheduled. Can't fail to keep up my post every day schedule. It's a curse. Or maybe not.

You may think that I'm making this up. (And to some extent I am.) But in my desperation to ind a load of easy-to-cobbble-together blog posts, I need find some vaguely interesting stuff. Try and guess which posts they are. {Hint: roast.)

Just about got the whole holiday covered. Only 28th-31st July to go.

Obviously, when I return, you'll have a couple of weeks of my holiday bullshit.

Primings (part two)

More fun stuff on 19th-century primings. A topic I'm sure you find just as fascinating as I do.

The problem with using lour, was that the slow fermentation it provoked, didn't heavily carbonate the beer quickly enough. for that you needed sugar.

"The use of flour does not, however, commend itself to many, since it is apt to lead to the slow generation of gas in place of that high condition that is considered so essential, so the popular plan at the present time is to introduce a prepared solution of sugar, either perfectly quiescent or brought into a state of incipient fermentation a few hours previous to the shipment of the beer. This operation would be costly if the sugar so used was not taken into account when calculating original gravity; it is customary therefore to fix upon a certain quantity of sugar solution to be added per barrel, and then reducing the brewing gravity of the beer so that the final addition of sugar brings it up to standard."
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, page 269.

Of course, the canny brewer would lower the OG of his beer to take into account the primings added later. And, naturally, duty would be paid on the primings.

"The best variety of sugar to use seems to be either dextrin-maltose or some pure saccharine. A boiling-hot solution is made, cooled, and added to each cask, the ordinary quantity being some three gallons per barrel of a gravity corresponding to 1,150, those desiring very rapid condition inducing a quiet fermentation in the strong sugar solution by adding a small weight of yeast. It will be evident that such a solution requires constantly making afresh, and it is well even then to treat it with salicylic acid to prevent any deterioration. To admit of its use it is necessary to keep the black beer in stock more or less quiet, since it is not customary to add this form of dressing before the beer is required for use, very rapid fermentation immediately following its addition.

I need hardly say that if this heading has been treated with a little yeast, or if a little malt flour be added with it, it puts an end at once to all possibility of flatness, while the degree of condition that results may be increased or diminished at will by varying the quantity of sugar heading employed, or the proportion of flour or yeast that is added with it."
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, pages 269-270.

By "pure saccharine" I assume Faulkner means pure sucrose. Which is a bit of a surprise. I suppose it's just easily, and fully, fermentable. Dextrin-maltose is an odd one if you wanted to get beer into condition quickly, as it's not that easily fermentable. It's more like what you'd expect to be added to a beer undergoing a long, slow secondary conditioning.

1145-1150º was the gravity of the primings Barclay Perkins used in the interwar years.

Saturday 6 July 2024

Let's Brew - 1923 Cairnes Bitter Ale

After WW I, Cairnes continued to brew their Bitter Ale, albeit 10º weaker than in 1914.

Compared to a London Ordinary Bitter of the time, it’s rather on the weak side. They would weigh in at 1045-1048º and 4.5% ABV. While the Cairnes version, with its poor rate of attenuation, wasn’t much over 3% ABV.

Like the black beers, there’s only one type of malt. Irish pale malt, to be precise. In addition, there’s a small quantity of “flakes”, which I’ve assumed to be flaked maize. Though it could also have been flaked rice.

The brewing record is also fairly vague about the sugar, which is simply described as “saccharum”. My guess is that it was some type of invert sugar. I’ve plumped or No. 2 invert. I suppose it could have been one of the other inverts. There’s also a tiny amount of caramel for colour correction.

One again, there are two types of English hops, both from the 1922 harvest. 

1923 Cairnes Bitter Ale
pale malt 7.50 lb 84.75%
flaked maize 0.67 lb 7.57%
No. 2 invert sugar 0.67 lb 7.57%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.01 lb 0.11%
Fuggles 120 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.00 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.00 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1040
FG 1016
ABV 3.18
Apparent attenuation 60.00%
IBU 38
SRM 6.5
Mash at 147.5º F
After underlet 156º F
Sparge at 168º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 58.25º F
Yeast Wyeast 1084 Irish ale

Friday 5 July 2024

Primings (part one)

By the end of the 19th century, there were clear regional variations in Porter and Stout. While, in London, brewers stubbornly clung to the use of brown malt, those outside the capital opted or simpler grists, often just pale and black malt.

Without the same mass-market or Black Beers which existed in London, provincial brewers needed to turn them around quickly. And that meant using "heading" to bring them into condition quickly. This heading could either be in the form of flour or a sugar solution. The latter being what we would now call primings.

"Country black beers.
I now come to the country as a whole, for outside London and Dublin the production of black beer is carried on in no very distinct manner; some brewers softening water, some using sugar, others employing malt-flour, and sugar solutions for heading purposes, and most falling back upon some definite preservative agent to prevent early deterioration. As a rule, country brewers have no very heavy demand for their black beers, and they have to brew them accordingly— i.e., if for immediate sale, and if prompt draught can be relied upon, country brewers imitate, to a certain extent, the example set them by Londoners, using sugar as a portion of the extract, raw sugar solution as the heading.

On the other hand, the majority, bound to produce an article of some stability, and one that will only come into condition after considerable storage, strictly adhere to entire malt brewings with low initial temperatures of mash, comparatively brief standing periods, fermentations progressing with free range of heat, racking their beer sometimes as high as third of original gravity. Finally, they employ some definite kind of heading, either introducing it at the racking stage, or at period of shipment. Many different varieties of heading have found favour, some of them being substances easily fermentable, others practically wort in a state of fermentation, or when in the state of dry flour forming, as we may suppose, the food of ferments.

Quite recently it has been suggested that flour only acts in the sense of being the store-house of so much air; but this view seems hardly correct in face of the act that the addition of flour to black beer undoubtedly leads to secondary fermentation, more or less prolonged in character, and I think there is no doubt that the crude albuminous matters of raw or malted grain become slowly modified into yeast-forming material when placed in a fluid undergoing fermentation.
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, pages 268-269.

Faulkner also mention a couple of other methods. First, the old-fashioned method. Which was to rack the beer with plenty of remaining fermentable materials and rely on a long, slow secondary fermentation to produce the required level of condition.

Or you could add fermenting wort. Which the Gerrmans would call "kraeusening". This was a process favoured by many Irish brewers.

Thursday 4 July 2024

Ancient beer

Or, at least, pretty old beer. Though, come to think of it, I've drunk beer that was almost twice as old.

There is now in the possession of Mr. James Scott, of Braintree, a bottle, containing part of a hogshead of beer brewed in the year 1741, by Edmund Sally, Esq. of Market Downham, Norfolk, intended to be drunk at the christening of his first-born, which was a son. A part of this beer was bottled and deposited in a vault — there to remain until the father’s death, which happened about 12 years since, at the good old age of 87 - At that time 20 bottles of the liquor were found, and, notwithstanding the length of time it had been brewed, was in high perfection. — Essex Herald.
Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser - Monday 23 June 1828, page 3.

It sounds like a beer brewed by a member of the minor gentry at his own residence. Such people were known for brewing strong beer and sometimes letting it age for decades. Because, well, they could afford to, not having the same financial pressures as a commercial concern.

And when their heir was born, it was common for such gentry to brew a Majority Ale. That is a beer to be drunk when the heir came of age at 21. This is slightly different as it's a Christening Ale. I wonder why some was hoarded away in a vault? Was it purposefully let until after the father's death?

Incidentally, the numbers don't add up. If the father was 87 in 1816, that would mean he was born in 1729 and just 12 years old when his son was born.