Minggu, 16 November 2014

German brewing in 1966 - kilning

We're just about done with malting, thank god. I've been struggling to keep my eyes open.

First it's the kilns themselves:

"Kilning.—Most kilns are single units. In addition to automatic direct coke firing, one finds direct and indirect oil firing, in which case a suitably-designed furnace will avoid "magpie" malts. However, oil containers are expensive and the construction is connected with a series of difficulties, so that interest has been shown in a gas-heated kiln, particularly as natural gas and refined gas is available in considerable quantities, and it is expected that its price will approach the prices of other fuels. The content of methane in natural gas and of hydrogen in processed gas results in combustion of these gases to water, so the air has a reduced drying effect. As a result, a 10% increase in ventilation is necessary and, when re-circulating, the amount of fresh air will also have to be increased. In passing, it is noted that automation of a kiln is a very profitable investment."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 72, Issue 1, January-February 1966, page 17.

I wonder if they did go over to using natural gas? I'm pretty sure that it got cheaper in the 1970's and 1980's when supplies from Europe kicked in.

I wasn't quite sure what 'magpie' malt was, so I looked it up:

"High sulphur fuels, when burned, give rise to sulphur dioxide (SO2) and sulphur trioxide (SO3). One the one hand, these acid gases damage and corrode the kiln structure and add to atmospheric pollution. High levels may cause local discoloured marks on malt grains, producing 'magpie' malt."
"Malts and Malting" by D.E. Briggs, 1998, page 226.

It's what I had guesses - malt with two colours. But it's nice to have it confirmed.

Now it's about the kilning process itself.

"The various types of malt are kilned according to the beer requirements. For Pilsener and very light export beers a very pale but intensively kilned malt is required: colour, approximately 2.5° E.B.C.; protein modification, 37-40% Kolbach; coarse/fine grind difference, 1.5-2.0. Some maltings try to achieve a lower modification in order to improve the head of the beer. Even for the pale-coloured heavy beers (original gravity 16.5-17.5%) a very pale coloured malt is used."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 72, Issue 1, January-February 1966, page 17.

There's so much about malting I don't understand. Like why a lower level of modification helps head retention. I suspect British brewers wouldn't bother with that and would just throw in some wheat instead. Because of the weirdness of the Reinheitsgebot, that wouldn't be allowed in a German bottom-fermenting beer.

Her's what Briggs has to say about Lager malts:

"The palest of the European products are Pilsen malts (Pilsener Malz). In the past these were undermodified but now they are fully modified and are prepared from barleys having moderate nitrogen contents. They are kilned at low temperatures to minimize colour formation. Typical analyses are E, at least 81% (EBC, on dry), fine-coarse extract difference 1-2%; TN, 1.68 (10.5% protein); Kolbach index 38-42%; moisture less than 4.5%; -amylase 40 DU; DP 240-300 ºW.-K.; saccharification time 10-15 min.; colour, 2.5-3.4 ºEBC; boiled wort colour, 4.2-6.2 ºEBC; wort pH, 5.9-6.0. Helles (pale; light) malts are rather similar, but are made from barleys richer in nitrogen. British lager malts are all pale and well modified. Analyses are usually in the ranges: HWE 300-310 lº/kg (on dry), TN, 1.55-1.75%; TSN, 0.5-0.7%; SNR, 31-41%; DP, not more than 70 ºIoB; moisture less than 4.5%; saccharification time less that 15 minutes. Colour may be 3.0 ºEBC. Because of the low temperatures used in kilning lager malts (finishing curing at e.g., 70 ºC; 158 ºF) are rich in enzymes and so sometimes give slightly higher extracts than pale ale malts, which are cured at higher temperatures (finishing at 95-105 ºC; 203-221 ºF), and have more characteristic flavours but lower enzyme activities."
"Brewing: science and practice", by Dennis E. Briggs, Chris A. Boulton, Peter A. Brookes and Roger Stevens, 2004, page 27.

Briggs says that the difference between Helles and Pilsner malts is the nitrogen content, while Narziss claims that they are a bit darker than Pilsenr malt:

"The West German export beers are somewhat darker. For these beers, as well as for the Bavarian pale-coloured lager beers, malt with a good modification and a colour of approximately 4° E.B.C. is required. Occasionally a certain percentage of "Wiener" malt with a colour 5.0-6.00 E.B.C. is used in the grist, although this malt is normally used for "Marzenbieren" (medium coloured beers). The dark Munich malts have a very wet and intensive germination and are kilned off at 100-105° C; as a result they obtain a good aroma. Owing to the lengthy kilning they are poor in enzymes and have to be mashed very carefully. They are used on their own, or together with approximately 1% coloured malt for the brewing of dark beer. For Marzenbiere they are blended to 50% with pale malt."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 72, Issue 1, January-February 1966, page 18.

That's interesting. The colour quoted for Wiener malt is a good bit lower than Weyermann's specification, which gives it as 6-9º EBC. One of the biggest difference between British and German brewing are base malts. In Britain you've only really got a choice of two: pale malt of pils malt. While in Germany you've also got Wiener malt, two types of Munich malt and smoked malt.

Nice of Narziss to quote some grists. Though he doesn't mention one of my personal favourites for a dark Lager. It's what Hofmann id Hoheschwärz uses: 99% Vienna malt and 1% Farbmalz. Do Munich breweries still use Munich malt as a base for the Dunkles? I suspect Paulaner do, though they may have brought that back. Last time I tried it there was the distinctive nutty malt flavour which I associate with Munich malt. I'm sure it hadn't been there a few years ago.

Here's Brigg's take on darker malts:

"In German practice the next type is Viennese malt (Wiener Malz), which is used for making `golden' lagers. This is made from normally modified green malt kilned to a final temperature of about 90 ºC (194 ºF), giving a colour of 5.5-6.0 ºEBC. Munich malt (MuÈnchener Malz) is relatively dark, very well modified and aromatic and is made by germinating nitrogen-rich barley, steeped to a high moisture content, so that it is well grown (all acrospires at least three-quarters grown) and finishing germination warm, at 25 ºC (77 ºF). Kilning involves some stewing and curing is finished at 100-105 ºC (212-221 ºF), conditions causing appreciable enzyme destruction. This malt has a colour of 15-25 ºEBC. The wort is rich in melanoidin precursors and darkens on boiling, e.g., from 15 to 25 ºEBC. Other typical analyses are: E, 80%, (on dry); fine-coarse extract difference 2-3%; total protein 11.5% (TN, 1.84%); Kolbach index, 38-40%; saccharification time, 20-30 min.; wort fermentability, about 75% (compared to wort from Pilsen malt of about 81%). -Amylase and DP values are low, at 30DU and 140 ºW.-K. respectively. Analyses of a British made, Munich-style malt are: HWE, 300 lº/kg, (on dry); moisture 4.5%; TN, less than 1.65%, TSN less than 0.65%, colour about 15 ºEBC and DP at least 30 ºIoB."
"Brewing: science and practice", by Dennis E. Briggs, Chris A. Boulton, Peter A. Brookes and Roger Stevens, 2004, page 27.

I see that he agrees with Narziss about a finishing temperature of 100-105º C for Munich malt. And also tells us that it produces a less fermentable wort. Having looked at analyses of plenty of modern German Dunkles recently, and only four of tewnty four examples had attenuation of below 76%. So I guess most are using pils malt as base. I suppose this partly explains the rubbish degree of attenuation in 19th-century examples. They must have been producing even less fermentable worts back then.

He also agrrees with Narziss about Wiener malt being around 6º EBC. Clearly Weyermann are getting it wrong.

Next time we'll finally be getting into the brewhouse.

Sabtu, 15 November 2014

Bottled beer in Egypt

div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"> More random stuff from by blind sweep through the newspaper archives.

This is a excerpt from an article about trade in Egypt.

"Bottled Beer.
Outside the Army of Occupation and the British community there is very little demand for the ordinary English beer, which, as has been stated in previous reports, is too heavy to suit the local taste, but a light kind of beer would be likely to find purchasers. The Acting Consul-General quotes the following passage from a report of the British Chamber of Commerce, which seems deserving of the attention of British brewers: "Continental brewers push the consumption of their article in Egypt by financing the owners of the 'brasseries' (bars), thus enabling them to establish these in good localities and in an attractive manner, thereby obtaining a large turn-over." A large brewery, fitted with the latest machinery, has been established on the outskirts of Alexandria by a Belgian Company. Light Pilsener beer is now being actively brewed, and it is probable that the Company will place tbeir beer on the market in two or three months. This will probably compete seriously with European beer.
Morning Post - Friday 30 December 1898, page 2.

First let's look at British beer exports to Egypt. They really weren't that big:

British beer exports to Egypt 1890 - 1930
1890 1900 1910 1913 1919 1920
6,591 18,597 20,600 20,530 10,408 9,796
1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926
11,619 11,305 8,592 8,971 9,840 10,760
1926 1927 1927 1928 1929 1930
10,760 10,510 10,510 10,659 12,571 14,603
Brewers' Almanack 1928, page 115.
Brewers' Journal 1921, page 24
Brewers' Journal 1923, page 26
Brewers' Journal 1925, page 27
Brewers' Journal 1927, page 28
Brewers' Almanack 1928, page 115.
Brewers' Journal 1929, page 30
Brewers' Journal 1931, page 34

To put those numbers into context, in the same period around 20,000 barrels were exported to Malta. I don't need to tell you that Egypt's population is many times that of Malta. The anount is so small that it probably was mostly being drunk by British expats.

That British beer was too heavy for hotter countries is a complaint you often see towards the end of the 19th century when continental Lager brewers started to export their beers outside Europe. The growing popularity of Lager in the tropiocs had a serious impact on sales of British beer. That's one of the reasons Allsopp decided to install a Lager brewery in Burton: to be able to compete with European brewers in tropical markets.

The author clearly wasn't keen on the continental breweries buying their way into the Egyptian market. Even more surprising is a Belgian company building a brewery in Egypt. Especially as it would be brewing Pilsener. I'm not sure if anyone was brewing Pilsener in Belgium itself at the time. The style onlty really took off after WW I.

Jumat, 14 November 2014

Brewing in WW II (part eleven)

We're almost at the end of another marathon series. Anyone still out there?

As I mentioned earlier, the food supply problems of WW I prompted the government to be very careful right from the start of WW II. They tried to ensure that as little food as possible was wasted. Even stuff that wasn't obviously food. Like waste yeast.

"Early in the war the salvage department of the Ministry of Supply invited the Institute of Brewing to go into the question of brewery waste products, and a committee was formed which collected the necessary information and made its report. Yeast was considered to be the most valuable of brewers' bye-products in view of the fact that one-half of its dry weight consists of readily digested protein while it also contains vitamins. Most of the surplus yeast in the large centres is utilized for human foods or is dried and used in the preparation of cattle foods. It was realized, however, that a good deal of the yeast from the smaller breweries in outlying districts and the smaller towns was not being utilized, and steps were taken to advise the farmers throughout the country of the value of yeast as a supplement to the pig food ration, with a view to overcoming this waste. Most towns and urban district councils organized a collection of household waste, and breweries in these districts had no difficulty in disposing of their waste yeast to them, and it is probable that Very little of this valuable foodstuff was wasted."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing Volume 52, Issue 3, May-June, 1946, pages 125 - 126.

The human food I guess would mostly be marmite. I didn't realise it was also used to feed animals, but I suppose that makes sense. There's no way you were going to persuade everyone to eat marmite. I wonder if it's still used in cattle food? Breweries produce a lot of yeast, far more than is needed to ferment subsequent batches. The excess needs to be disposed of somehow. Where does it go?

I mentioned that there were a host of wartime difficulties that I hadn't considered. Changes to the water supply is another one. It was all to do with the level of chlorination:

"For a number of years before the war the chlorination of water supplies as a supplement to nitration in order to reduce its bacterial content to a safe limit has been very generally practised, but the amount of chlorine present was usually too small to become noticeable and was never sufficient to have any deleterious effect when it was used for brewing. The quantity used during the war period, however, was often increased after damage of mains by bombing and much heavier quantities were necessary for short periods. No noticeable effect, however, seems to have been experienced by those breweries using the London supply. Although even an excess of chlorine is hardly likely to have any directly harmful effect either on yeast or beer, its effect on the pipes and mains through which it is conveyed does not appear to have received the attention it deserves. A case occurred in a town which had been severely blitzed, and it was found necessary to chlorinate the water supply to overcome suspected contamination. The writer found that this had been carried to excess, so much so that it had a corrosive effect on the copper-lined fermenting vessels of a brewery. Fortunately there is a simple antidote for chlorine and the necessary steps were taken to treat the water in the cold liquor tanks before any harmful effects occurred, but it is a matter that should be borne in mind, as others might not be so fortunate."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing Volume 52, Issue 3, May-June, 1946, page 126.

Is this still a problem? Mains water is often still very heavily chlorinated in Britain. I drink the tap water in Newark. It's like taking a mouthful of swimming pool. Hang on. I remember asking John Keeling about Fullers' water supply. He told me that they had to stop using their own wells because they became contaminated. They now used mains water which they first dechlorinated. I'd assumed that was flavour reasons but maybe it was really to protect their equipment.

That's the article itself done. Just the discussion to go. If I can be arsed.

Kamis, 13 November 2014

The beer Britain drinks

We're back with Sir William Harcourt's love of Pilsener. And a few more facts and figures.

In particular, it has numbers on the amount of beer imported into Britain and exported from Germany. To prove that in fact the amount of German beer entering Britain was tiny.

It is to be feared that Sir William Harcourt's reference to the partiality- of his friends for Pilsener beer will serve to increase the belief that this and other foreignmade beer 3 are popular in the United Kingdom. When one finds specialists making misleading statements the subject, it not surprising if the ordinary reader is led astray. Before the Beer Materials Committee one witness, Mr Gordon Salmond, a well-known consulting chemist, expressed the belief that thte quantity of Continental beer imported was considerable, the fact being that only 45,000 barrels of beer of all kinds were imported in 1896, the year in which gave his evidence. was followed Dr Moritz, joint author with Morris of the leading text-book on brewing, who told the committee that Pilsener beer came from North Germany. As a matter of fact, it is made at Pilsen, fifty miles from Prague.

I have been favoured (writes a London correspondent) with a copy of the first monthly number of what promises to be most useful publication, the Revenue Review, edited by Mr J. T. Mulqueen, chief of the Revenue staff in Falkirk and Linlithgow, who is well known by repute to all who take interest revenue matters. The first article this review deals with lager beer. I find that the writer is inclined to foster the delusion, for he refers to German beers being in considerable favour here. As are having just little too much of this German competition bogey, it is as well perhaps once for all to slay it. In 1891 we imported 33,728 barrels of beer; the following year, 38,881; in 1897 the quantity was 45,752; and last year the small quantities include not only imports from the Isle of Man, Germany, Austria, and the United States, but British beer returned by foreign customers as unsuitable.

When it is remembered that our consumption of British-made beer amounts to 36.5 millions of barrels per annum, to speak of German beer, the trade in which probably never reached 30,000 barrels, being largely in favour here, is an exaggeration. As the late Chancellor of the Exchequer has given these lager beers an advertisement, is will probably be useful to widen the question and make a comparison. The German Empire total exports were 1,244,479 hundreds of kilogrammes of beer in 1888; -the year following and 776,845 in 1890. If we step forward ten years find her figures for were 910,445; for 1899 the quantity was 966,812; and for last year 1,113,790. I may add that her exports of beer in 1886 and 1887 were much larger than 1888. Where outside the German Empire the increasing popularity of German beer is to be discerned is not therefore very obvious, except it be in her new possession, Kiao-Chau, or possibly among the Boxers captured in and around Pekin.

As regards British exports, suffice it to say that in they totalled 503,000 barrels, and last year 509,000. Pilsener, which Sir William Harcourt's friends affect, is, like Japanese saki, made solely from rice. It is much more intoxicating tnan the bottled beers usually sold in this country. Last year the total exported by Austro-Hungary was 916,102 hundreds of kilogrammes. This was decrease of 11.3 cent, on the figures for 1899. " Dundee Evening Post - Monday 01 April 1901, page 2.

You can see from this table just how insignificant imported beer was:

UK beer production, consumption, imports and exports 1890 - 1914
Production (bulk barrels) Production (standard barrels) Consumption (bulk barrels) Exports (bulk barrels) Exports (standard barrels) Imports (bulk barrels) % of consumption imported
1890 30,808,315 30,340,175 503,221 502,921 35,081 0.12%
1891 31,927,053 30,868,315 33,728
1892 38,881
1895 31,678,486 31,290,143 432,742 44,399 0.14%
1897 34,203,049 45,752
1900 37,105,042 37,091,123 36,668,274 487,643 510,845 50,875 0.14%
1903 37,153,978 55,560
1905 35,415,523 34,404,287 34,979,824 487,643 521,476 51,944 0.15%
1910 34,299,914 32,947,252 33,779,912 570,929 590,346 50,927 0.15%
1914 37,558,767 36,057,913 74,205
Ireland Industrial and Agricultural, 1902, page 458.
Brewers' Almanack 1928, p. 110
“The Brewers' Society Statistical Handbook 1988” page 7
Manchester Evening News - Thursday 28 November 1901, page 3.
Brewers' Almanack 1928, p. 115
Brewers' Almanack 1955, p. 57
Dundee Evening Post - Monday 01 April 1901, page 2.

Imports increased a little in the years leading up to WW I, but still accounted for just 0.15% of consumption. And that's all imported beer, not just from Germany. Based on adverts of the period, I'd guess more beer was coming in from Scandinavia thabn from Germany.

Assuming a litre of beer weighs about a kilo, 100 kilos is about a hectolitre. Meaning you can take those numbers for German exports to be approximately the volume in hectolitres. 1,244,479 hl (the 1888 figure) is around 750,000 barrels, or about 50% more than Britain exported. The lowest figure quoted, 776,845 in 1890, is about 500,000 barrles, or about the same as UK exports.

Why did people think Pilsener was made from 100% rice? Just because it was so pale?

I love this sort of numbers fun.

Rabu, 12 November 2014

Berlin in London

The early history of Lager in Britain I find fascinating. So I was delighted to discover another Munich beer hall in Victorian London.

I already knew about the Spaten place of Piccadilly Circus. But it turns out around the corner in Leicester square there was another, this time serving Pschorr beer.

Londoners who wish to spend an hour in a German brasserie will have no occasion to go to the Fatherland; for the palatial restaurant and hotel, which has been opened this week by Messrs Baker and Co., in Leicester-square, will, no doubt, be one of the great attractions and novelties of the metropolis. The new Grand Hotel and Brasserie de l'Europe offers to the public a combination of the cafe-restaurant and the beer-hall on the same lines as the brasserie which Parisians and Germans so much admire.

In the basement is a large lager beer hall, where, together with the finest brews from Munich, a number of German dishes and "delicatessen" will be served. The beers come from the vats of the famous Pschorr Brauerei at Munich and from the Burgerliches Brauhaus Pilsen. On the ground floor is the grand cafe, which both in appearance and in style will be found quite continental, while above is the Italian room, which it is intended to use as an a la carte restaurant.

This last achievement of the well-known architect, Mr Walter Emden, is the best thing he has ever done. The elevation show a freely-treated design in granite, with pilasters of green, while the upper portions of the structure is in terra-cotta. A noticeable feature will be found in the projecting corners, surmounted with turrets, which are covered with gilt copper - an effect quite new to London. The ornamental portions of the terracotta are picked out in gold, and the granite pilasters are finished with bronze sags and ornaments. From basement to roof the building is of fireproof construction, but an additional precaution has been taken by the erection of an outside staircase from the top floors. The lager-beer hall in the basement is decorated in Alhambra style, the walls being fanelled out and filled in with mirrors, while the dado is of marble. The grand cafe on the ground floor is elaborately decorated in the style of the German Renaissance, the panels of the walls being filled in both with mirrors and with pictures representing events famous in German history. In this room a striking effect is obtained by hanging from the beams and columns festoons of leaves and flowers in repousse copper, the fruit on these imposing garlands being represented by electric lamps. Generally speaking the colouring of the decorations is similar to that of a German cafe. gold being largely used in the ornamental portions. On the first floor is the Italian Renaissance room, which will be used as an a la carte restaurant. The panels on the walls are filled in alternately with silk and mirrors, and the general colouring is ivory white and gold. Columns and pilasters of Pavonazze marble and a dado of American maple are also features in the decoration of this apartment. A reception room in the Louis XVI. style adjoins the Italian Renaissance room. In the upper portion of the building are the sitting rooms and bedrooms of the hotel. These are all decorated and furnished in the most complete and modern manner. The main entrance of the hotel is in Leicester-place, and both the entrance hall and staircase are decorated in the style of the German Renaissance. Pictures illustrative of familiar German legends here play an important part in the architect's scheme. The hotel, which will be open this evening for business, is equipped with an elaborate lift, while the electric lighting and the sanitary arrangements are planned upon the most approved principles. The place bids fair to be as popular as the Taverne Pousset, on the Boulevard des Italiens, Paris. "
The Era - Saturday 23 September 1899, page 18.
I believe this is the earliest mention I've found of Pilsner Urquell on draught in London. Why did they have that and Pschorr beer? Probabky because Pschorr didn't brew a pale Lager at the time.

A couple of decades later, after all the animosity to Germans during WW I, I can't imagine anyone would have opened such an openly German establishment. Even now there's still a smouldering resentment of Germans in Britain and few restaurants or pubs s that style themsleves as German.

What were the beers on sale like? Luckily I've analyses of both brewies' beer from around the same period:

Pschorr beers 1885 - 1901
Year Beer OG FG OG Plato ABV App. Attenuation Acidity
1885 Export 1057.0 1017.9 14.07 5.00 67.31% 0.140
1895 Bock 1074.5 1041 18.10 4.28 44.93%
1896 Export 1057.8 1024.0 14.26 4.34 57.08% 0.108
1897 Export 1056.7 1020.5 14.00 4.64 62.57% 0.045
1901 Export 1053.5 1017.2 13.26 4.65 66.82% 0.072
Wahl & Henius, pages 823-830
Brockhaus' konversations-lexikon, Band 2 by F.A. Brockhaus, 1898.

Bürgerliches Brauhaus beers 1885 - 1898
Year Beer OG FG OG Plato ABV App. Atten-uation Acidity
1883 Export 1049.9 1014.4 12.40 4.60 71.14% 0.180
1886 Pilsener 1047.8 1015.4 11.89 4.19 67.75%
1886 Lagerbier 1047.3 1012.7 11.78 4.49 73.15%
1886 Pilsener 1043.3 1014.5 10.83 3.73 66.51%
1886 Winter Beer 1044.9 1013.83 11.20 4.02 68.21%
1887 Lagerbier 1047 1012.61 11.72 4.47 72.27%
1888 Pilsener 1048.5 1015.0 12.07 4.34 69.07%
1888 Export 1048 1013.79 11.95 4.44 70.29%
1890 Exportbier 1054.6 1014.45 13.51 5.22 73.53% 0.320
1893 Pilsener 1053.2 1013.2 13.18 5.20 75.19% 0.320
1898 Schankbier 1043.0 1011.5 10.76 4.09 73.26% 0.112
1898 Lagerbier 1047.3 1012.6 11.78 4.50 73.36% 0.103
1898 Export 1055.9 1014.78 13.82 5.35 72.50%
"Chemie der menschlichen Nahrungs- und Genussmittel" by Joseph König, 1889, pages 806 - 851
Wahl & Henius, pages 823-830
"Handbuch der chemischen technologie" by Otto Dammer, Rudolf Kaiser, 1896, pages 696-697
Chemie der menschlichen Nahrungs- und Genussmittel by Joseph König, 1903, pages 1102 - 1156

You can see that Pilsner Urquell hasn't changed much in terms of gravity and ABV. While Pschorr's Export is very different from a modern Dunkles: higher OG, much lower rate of attenuation and ABV.
Emden was a famous theatre architect, who designed many in London.

"Mr Emden's early commissions in theatrical work were to reconstruct the Globe, to alter the St. James's and the Royalty, and to build the Court Theatre - which in the meantime he has rebuilt. In 1872 Mr Emden was appointed architect to the Dublin Exhibition. He designed an opera house for Rome, which was not built, the Italian Government eventually declining the expenditure; but incidentally acquired a most useful experience of Italian styles. Terry's Theatre was a notable achievement of Mr Emden's - Mr Charles Wilmot, who was the original owner, committing himself unreservedly to the architect's ideas as to a fireproof structure, as Terry's Theatre undoubtedly is. Mr Emden was, by the way, one of the judges of the first firemen's exhibition. The original plans for the Garrick, the Trafalgar-square, and the Tivoli were Mr Emden's work; and he reconstructed the English Opera House, which we now know as the Palace Theatre. Mr Emden has also done a great deal of work in the provinces."
The Era, 6th of November 1897.

So there you go. Dead famous. Emden died in 1913. The building still stands on Leicester square, though it's no longer a hotel.

Selasa, 11 November 2014

Get out of Denver

Which is what I did today. I wish I'd left a day earlier before it got so effing cold.

I'm really not used to the cold any more after our non-winter in Amsterdam.  A crazy drop in temperature - from 15 C to -5 C in a few hours - was supposedly the fault of an arctic vortex. Wasn't that a 70's rock band?

I had a great time in Denver - who wouldn't if they spent much of it in a pub (Hogshead Brewery) with not just six or seven cask beers, but good ones in great condition?

Well, maybe not some craft keg dogmatists. But they're just twats.

At Hogshead - where I was doing a beer launch/book tarting event - cask proved its best characteristic again. Drinkability. Several times I was amazed at how empty my glass was. It just threw itself down my throat.

I had the same at Maritime Pacific Brewing in Seattle.  I suspected my glass must have a hole in it, the Double IPA disappeared so quickly.

I'm off to Deschutes Portland tap in a half hour or so. Life is good.

Brewing in WW II (part ten)

This is turning into another long series. But it's all good stuff, well worth learning.

We'll begin with isinglass. Pretty important for British brewers of the time who delivered a majority of their beer in cask form. Of course, you can make cask beer without finings, if you're patient. Unfortunately time was also in short supply during wartime. I hadn't realised where isinglass came from.

"Isinglass was a matter of some concern during the early days as supplies were short, especially of those types which were most favoured; and while brewers were anxious to increase their reserve, the merchants could not meet all demands as shipments were delayed or did not arrive. When the Ministry of Food took control of imports those interested in the trade were asked to organize, and the Isinglass Trades Association was formed and an amount of isinglass calculated to meet the brewers' needs was allowed to be imported. After Japan entered the war, supplies from Malay and Burma, consisting of Saigon and Penang, were cut off, and the only supplies available since have been from India and Brazil. The isinglass from these sources is the cheaper and less favoured types and mixtures of these must have been used entirely in most breweries during the past few years. Beers appear to have fined well with these so-called inferior grades of finings, although probably the public has not been very critical when supplies of beer have been so short. It is probable, however, that force of circumstances may have induced brewers to alter their views with regard to rulings, and especially to the comparative value of the finer grades of isinglass. This experience with the lower grades during the past years certainly appears to confirm the views J. S. Ford expressed in his Horace Brown Memorial Lecture (ibid., 1941, 342) that, provided the isinglass was free from smell, any of the 26 varieties ranging in price from 1s. 6d. to 10s. 6d. per lb. that he had tested was suitable for fining beer.
Journal of the Institute of Brewing Volume 52, Issue 3, May-June, 1946, page 125.

I didn't realise Britain sourced most of its isinglass from the Far East. I can see how Japan's invasion of Burma and Malaya buggered that up. I also hadn't realised there were so many different types of isinglass. It sounds like brewers had overestimated the difference in quality between expensive and cheap isinglass. Basically as long as it didn't smell nasty you were OK.

Barrel staves were always going to be a problem because of where British brewers sourced them. There was little British oak, so that wasn't a realistic option. There was plenty of American oak, but it added a funny flavour to beer. Leaving Memel oak from the Eastern Baltic as the only real possibility. Until war started. Obviously shipping staves across a German-dominated Baltic was never going to happen.

"The maintenance of cask plant has been another problem which has not proved easy of solution as the usual supplies of oak staves from the Baltic were cut off, while lack of shipping space prevented the importation of anything like an adequate supply of American oak after the United States entered the war. New casks were consequently almost impossible to obtain during most of the war period, and many casks have been kept in use which would otherwise have been considered unfit. The quick consumption probably save a good deal of beer that might have become unsaleable if it had been kept for any length of time in the publicans' cellars, while empties were quickly returned. This quick circulation of casks was also of assistance, in view of the poor quality of labour available for cask washing, especially during the later period. There appears to be very little prospect of obtaining Memel oak staves in the near future, while any improvement in the supply from America is hardly considered likely. English oak can be used, but the supply is quite inadequate to make up the deficiency of casks which now exists.
Journal of the Institute of Brewing Volume 52, Issue 3, May-June, 1946, page 125.

Whitbread had wisely bought in a large supply of staves before the war started. Then saw them go up in smoke in one of the early air raids on London in 1940.

I can imagine how difficult it must have been to maintain a sufficient supply of casks when you couldn't get new ones. It sounds like there were many factors that encouraged a quick turnaround of beer, from lack of biological stability to shitty casks, to a thirsty public desperate for any beer they get hold of.

It sounds as if the problems were set to continue for a while after the end of the war as the supply of staves was little improved. With the Eastern Baltic firmly under Soviet control, there was little prospect of finding a supply there. The solution: make casks of something else:

"It will be necessary, therefore, for brewers seriously to consider the adoption of some other type of cask in order to make up the shortage. The use of stainless steel casks was being considered before the war, although the question of proper insulation raised difficulties. Laminated casks have been widely used in America and appear to have proved quite satisfactory for their conditions. These are constructed of plywood staves, the inside and outside layers being of oak while the inner layers are birch, which are bound together with a plastic material, Some of these casks have already been tried in this country with satisfactory results, and their adoption is probably the only course open to make up the present shortage."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing Volume 52, Issue 3, May-June, 1946, page 125.

I struggle to believe that plywood casks would work well. Presumably having the outer sections of oak was to have the beer inside in contact with a material that wasn't going to taint it and a touch surface on the outside of the barrel to take any knocks.

Yeast next time.