Sunday, 1 May 2016

May Day Greetings!

Once again it's time to remember our martyred dead and seek out pints of mild. It's often hard work finding mild round my way, but as I get older, and senile lightweightism weighs more heavily upon me, I've been appreciating it more when I find it. I'm quitely confident I'll track some down this month as I've got a few possibilities scoped out.

I wish you all success in your struggles in the coming year.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave!

The 500th Anniversary of the Reinheitsgebot, the German beer purity law, has left me uncharacteristically indecisive. Most beer geeks have used the occasion to put the boot into it, and it has been eloquently argued that it is, in fact, a load of old bollocks.

But whereas I know I can speak infallibly on the superiority of cask beer to other forms, I can't quite bring myself to condemn the Reinheitsgebot. I wouldn't want to brew under its regulations, and a lot of German brewing practice seems designed to keep to the letter of the law whilst riding roughshod over the spirit of it. Yet brewing with only water, malt, hops and yeast still seems a worthy aim to me, and there is an infinite variety of wonderful beers that can be made from those ingredients.

Many of the "innovative" ingredients of the craftily inclined are things I would actively avoid in beer rather than seek out. And despite their claims of non-conformity there is something samey about craft beer bars: the same selection of beer types, and often from a list of usual suspects.

That Germany has a distinct brewing heritage and a rich beer culture seems to me something that should be defended and I do wonder if those that rail against the Reinhetsgebot risk throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Despite my opposition to state imposed restrictions, and indeed states, I'd far rather get to Franconia and try the traditional beer there than the latest offerings from the cutting edge of craft.


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Shot down in the night

On the way to see the mighty Hawkwind on Friday I managed to get a bit of research in. First stop was the Waterloo Tap, in a railway arch on the way to Embankment. I always like wandering around that area as it brings back memories of the fash getting turned over in '92.


Unfortunately 6.30 on a Friday is a really bad time to visit. The place was absolutely rammed, and being a bar not a pub the noise level was far too high. My brother said we should just go, but I had to point out that I wasn't there to enjoy myself, I was there for research so insisted we stayed for a beer.

The screen at the end of the bar I was at showed eight beers on, but didn't make clear which were served as god intended and which were evil keg. I did spot that a beer from Southwark brewery, the jewel of the Bermondsey beer mile, was on, but paying a fiver for a pint of bitter seemed a bit much. All the beer was pricey, and no doubt it would be even pricier at the gig, so instead of sacramentally venerating the one true living beer I started calculating what would give me the best bang for my buck. I settled on Lagunitas IPA as I'd enjoyed their hospitality when I was in the states. The beer was a blast of American hop flavour, even my lupulophobic brother could smell the grapefruit in it. It wasn't quite as good as when I'd had it previously, though whether that was due to it crossing the Atlantic or changes in share ownership I couldn't say.

Our duty done we could move on, and our next stop was the altogether more appealing Craft Beer Co in Islington. Being a proper pub not only could we actually hear ourselves think but we also found somewhere to sit down. I had a milk stout. It was too sweet. The beer was from the Summer Wine Brewery, a company that seems to have dropped off the beer geek radar a bit. Perhaps thoughts of Nora Batty hamper their attempts to get down with the craft beer kids.


It was time to move on to the gig after that, but as things worked out we had time for a swifty in a pub opposite the venue. At first glance it looked like a run down boozer, but in fact turned out to be a cocktail bar with the bizarre name of the Dead Doll's House. I don't know what that's all about.


My brother was pleased we were there as cocktails are the things he'll drink given the choice. He had an espresso martini, the posh version of red bull and vodka.


The beer choice was dire, and once again I had to drink beer from the devil's drainpipe. I had a Theakston's Peculier IPA. It was brown and sweet, so authentic, but also rubbish.

Fortunately the band were on fine form.


Widely acknowledged as the greatest band the world has ever seen, Hawkwind can be prone to instrumental noodling. Worryingly the singer did wander off stage a few times, but mostly they stuck to playing songs and very good they were too.



Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Prague Spring

I was back in Prague for work recently. It was a a project developing sensors which will revolutionise the brewing industry. Either that or fade into obscurity as a minor footnote in brewing research. Still, Prague was nice.


I had some time for freelance research when I was there too. I'd equipped myself with the most important thing to take when you visit Prague: the second edition of the Pisshead's Pub Guide. And a map, as the ones in the book are rubbish, though I have just seen that the Max has put some better versions online. My first stop was my favourite place from my last visit, Kulový blesk , to check out my favourite beer from then, Únětický. I'm please to say that both were on fine form.



My next mission was to track down beer from the Měšťanský pivovar v Poličce. There's a woman at my Thai boxing club from Polička and she is firmly of the opinion that their local brewery is the best. Thanks to Max's guidebook I managed to find a bar selling it, and in my greatest linguistic triumph in Prague manage to order and pay for some in Czech.


The beer was good, but I still preferred Únětický. In fact as I'm planning to organise a Brewery History Society visit to Prague later in the year I visited the Únětický brewery to check out the feasibility of including it in the trip.


I'm please to say it was pretty straight forward getting there, and the beer was gorgeous. There's no doubt about it, I've found a lager that I like. Mind you, I was quite taken with the Czech stuff in general, I much prefer it to what the Germans make. I quizzed the Head Brewer at the place I was working about this and he informed me that generally Czech lager has higher IBUs than German (30 vs 20-25), has a higher final gravity, and they still use double decoction mashing so has more caramel flavours and it's darker in colour due to this so is more copper coloured. I didn't ask him about diacetyl but one of his colleagues did confirm my suspicion there's a lot in Pilsner Urquell.

 I'd arranged to meet up with Max, the Pivní Filosof himself in the week at Pivovarský Dům, which was rather handily in the same building as the Institute. Sadly I was slightly too early to try the beer he'd made there but the special they had on wasn't bad at all.



I'd arranged with one of my Czech colleagues to show Max round the Institute. Here's their shinny new 50L pilot brewery.


It still needs a brewery stick though:

Thanks to Eddie Gadd for teaching me about brewery sticks. There everywhere I'm telling you.
After the tour we went to U Šumavy. We had a few there. Being with a local pub guidebook writer I was happy to let Max take the lead.

I think this picture's from there
We did wander on later to...er...somewhere else. I'm sure I had details of it somewhere but they seem to have escaped me.


We had some ales in this one. I think they were from Permon. There were good, but at about 6% rapidly finished me off. It was great meeting up with Max, though I'm kicking myself I forgot to ask him about his other magnum opus. We did cover some important ground though, as I remember we'd discussed that despite our love of beer perhaps we were pub geeks more than beer geeks. There really is only one place to enjoy beer at its best, and in a great pub the beer doesn't even need to be the best.

After an evening's hard researching I was not at my best the next morning, and suffered the common problem of an Englishman abroad: no bacon for breakfast. They did at least have some pork products, but really the Czechs have no idea about breakfast, they just seemed to arrange a random collection of foods with no thought to if they should be for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Yes, that is broccoli for breakfast, the only green vegetables I saw all week.

And does anyone really eat olives with their breakfast cereal? And what's with the cake?
Still, I survived. And after having heard that Max's favourite pub in Prague is Zlý časy I had one more research trip to make.

I just had the one (Únětický again) but it is a great looking place, and has a specialist beer off licence next door.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Recreating Old Beer Styles Conference part 2

The excitement of a morning's beer nerdery was followed with more beer nerdery in the afternoon. Does it get any better than that? I don't think so. My notes for the after lunch sessions seem a bit scappier than my work in the morning. My hand must have been getting tired.

Jim Merrington kicked off the afternoon talking about a six year long project to make an ancient Egyptian beer, later sold as Tutankhamun’s Ale.


I had heard of the Tutenkhamun ale when it was on sale back in 1996 but had no idea it was such a major project. Archelologists had found the The Sun Temple of Nefertiti, Tutenkhamun's step-mother, and as you would expect from a civilised nation, her brewery. In fact there were whole streets of breweries. Hundreds of pots with capacities of about 20 pints were found containing beer residue. The residues were examined to determine as best they could what went into the beer. There was no evidence that the beer was made from partly baked loaves, so that's that story out the window. And there was no evidence of dates either. They did find traces of coriander and the bitter tasting naback (?) fruit though. The grist was made from emmer wheat, and they had to grow their own to get enough raw material. The wheat was malted and for the brew half of it was mashed and half boiled. Some gypsum was added to the liquor to match Egyptian water. A rapidly fermenting yeast strain was chose to try and get a similar fermentation profile to that which the ancient Egyptian's had had.

After all the research on the beer had been done they had enough left to package 1000 bottles, which were sold for charity by Harrods: the first bottle for five grand, and the rest for 50 quid each. I'm not one for spending silly money on beer, I don't think I've ever reached double figures in price, but once I've got the time machine sorted I'm going to fork out for a bottle of this one.

Miles Jenner of Harvey's brewery was the next speaker. As they're true traditionalists at Harvey's he didn't do any of that powerpoint stuff and just read from his notes.



His talk was about their Imperial Extra Double Stout. I must confess I still find it hard to drink this beer neat, much like when I first tried Courage Imperial Russian Stout back in 1911. Lightweight that I am I mix it with another stout or porter so it's toned down to something I can handle.

Before Harvey's made this beer they'd already looked through their archives and brewed a historic porter. The recipes for porter changed with time: in the 1830s it was 60% pale malt and 40% brown, but by the 1850s it was a mixture of pale, crystal and black, showing the change from traditional brown malt taking place. They made a beer to the 1859 recipe for export to the US.

Porter was first brewed in London and Barclay Perkins supplied their stout to a merchant called Albert Le Coq. He shipped it to Russian and gave 5,000 bottles to a military hospital there. This resulted in him getting royal warrant and Imperial Russian Stout was born. Le Coq later built his own brewery in Tartu, Estonia, which still exists though their stout brewing days are long gone.

In 1998 a US importer was looking for an authentic Imperial Russian Stout. The Tartu brewery agreed to provide the provenance but asked that the beer be brewed by a small, independent brewery with experience in porter brewing.

The water in Lewes is very similar to that used by Barclay Perkins, and a recipe of 62.5% pale malt, 37.5% coloured malts (amber, brown and black) and invert sugar 15% by weight, 20% by gravity was decided upon. O.g was 1.106 and hops 6lb per bbl (equal amounts of Fuggles and Goldings). 90 minute mash at 152°F (66.5°C), 3 hour boil with a third of the hops added each hour. Fermentation started at 60°F (15.5°C) and rose to 82°F (29°), so presumably a free rise. After primary fermentation P.G. was 1.040 and ABV 8.7%. This rose to between 9 and 10% during storage. IBUs go from 122 to less than 50.

The BRi taste panel tested it. I wonder if anyone I know was involved? After nine months in storage the beer was put in corked bottles at Gales Brewery. Unfortunately after four months in bottle the corks started rising. A secondary fermentation, eventually found to be caused by Debaromyces hansenii was found to be the cause. This yeast is thought to be lurking in small numbers in Harvey's pitching yeast so the maturation time before bottling was increased to that of the porter brewers of old at 12 months. With the closure of Gales the corks were dropped and crown caps used.

Eddie Bourke, formerly of Guinness, was the next speaker.


He seemed a bit dubious about the wisdom of trying to be too accurate in recreating historic beers: hops could be years old and the malt was probably mouldy. He talked about the history of porters and stouts. Porters brewed in 1780 were matured at least 18 months. In 1797 there were a porter and ale with the same grist, the porter being coloured with lots of burnt sugar (who says condiment brewing is new?). "Dublin Stout" seems to have been a style of beer sold in the North of England, but Guinness was always sold as Guinness.

Guinness exported beer to the West Indies, the Foreign Extra Stout, which was the inspiration for their West Indies Porter. Dublin porter was weaker and brewed for immediate consumption. These beers are faithful to the recipes, but not how the beer was then (full of bacteria and sediment). Speaking of sediment he blamed supermarkets for the demise of bottle conditioned Guinness in 1992. It had a shelf life of four months (how craft is that?) and supermarkets wanted longs. Irish draught Guinness was unpasteurised in the Winter until 1988 when they were able to get their in package oxygen levels down to 50ppb and there was no difference in the taste between pasteurised and unpasteurised version (so he said, anyway).

Special Export Stout also got a mention at 8% ABV it's slightly stronger than FES but has less bitterness (40 IBU vs 75).

The last item was a panel discussion chaired by Mark Dorber, with opportunities for people on the floor to stick their oar in.


James McCrorie, founder of the Craft Brewing Association, talked about the work of the late John Harrison who started researching historic beer in the 1970s. This lead to the publication the influential pamphlet Old British Beers and How to Make Them. There was also a workshop held on porter in the 80s at the White Horse, and and IPA conference by Whitbread in 1993.

Up on the top table were beer writer Tim Webb, Danielle Jack from Tesco, the ex-chief of the IBD Simon Jackson and Fullers Head Brewer John Keeling. I must have been getting more tired, and quite possibly emotional by this point, as I'm not entirely certain which pearls of wisdom came from which person in the panel. Nevertheless, I'll press on as best I can and hope I don't get sued.

Danielle Jack said they wanted authenticity that combined with consumer expectations.

Tim Webb started talking about the what the great brewing nations brought to the world of beer. Britain brought attitude, with consumers from the 1970s making clear that they didn't like what was being done with their beer. German had purity. The Czechs had old breweries still making beers in old ways, and Belgium had 60 breweries making a wide range of beers. Now there are over 100 beer countries, and 60 of those have decent beer cultures. He said 70 or so of those beer countries brew styles based on British beer styles. He then talked of how big a business craft beer has become but bemoaned the fact that Britain is still stuck with industrial lager or 4% ABV cask beer. As I'm rather fond of 4% ABV cask beer I must admit I did think "bollocks to you" at this point.

Simon Jackson said that provenance is a rich vein for innovation, and he would prefer innovation by historical methods rather than than novel ingredients like bulls testicles! He also seemed to be of the opinion that there's no such thing as industrial brewing, which is an interesting change from the view that that's no such thing as craft beer.

John Keeling said he likes to make beer he likes to drink, and brewing the Past Masters beers is a way of satisfying his curiosity. He also wins for authenticity as he gets to brew old beers where they were brewed in the first place.

Things got a bit less structured after this, which some people used as a chance to chip in with some right wing drivel and crackpot conspiracy theories. Someone actually said that small breweries pay little to no beer duty. The mind boggles. Then I'm sure I heard a conspiraloon say that the Beer Orders were an attempt by the government to nationalise the brewing industry. And at one point someone whinged on about political correctness. I do like to see people being opinionated about beer, as it's more interesting that the everything is awesome type stuff, but I could do without having to listen to twerps spout nonsense.

There was still some stuff of interest though. Cask beer is now 55% of the total draught ale market, and is set to hit 70% by 2020. Surely there is rejoycing in heaven. Tescos found a third of beer drinkers won't buy Tesco own label stuff, porter doesn't sell well, and their customers tend to like light golden ales. John Keeling said they sell more London Porter in Sweden that Britain.

After the Beer History Conference we had a preview of CAMRA's revitalisation project from Tom Stainer. Martyn Cornell asked if this was CAMRA's version of Tony Blair's "Clause Four moment". Ron Pattinson saw it as the choice between taking a Stalinist or Trotskyist position. To which I could only reply that when it comes to real ale revisionism I'm positively Maoist. But let us not talk of blood soaked butchers, Bolshevik or Labourite. I see this more as a spiritual matter. And being on the traditionalist wing of CAMRA I have concerns that this is more like The Second Vatican Council. Already our mother church has been showing worryingly modernist and ecumenical tendencies. I hope this does not lead to outright heresy and force me to go sedevacantist. To get serious for a moment though, how come when Tandleman got a "Fit for purpose" review voted through by the conference it was very limited, but when an unelected employee wants a review we all get sent a booklet about it and 50 meetings are to be held across Britain?

Anyway, that was it for the talks, so it was just the networking and Continuing Professional Development to do. Thanks to the Brewery History Society and the British Guild of Beer Writers for organising another excellent day.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

CAMRA's stroke of genius

The launch of CAMRA's Revitalisation Project has given the usual mix of heretics, apostates and the diabolically inspired another excuse to attack our mother church. A common criticism of CAMRA is that it was a big mistake to focus on dispense method rather than beer quality. On this, like so many other things, the critics are wrong.

Lovely, lovely
By tying their definition of real ale to cask conditioning CAMRA made real ale easily recognisable in any pub in which it is served: just look for the hand pumps. This has served well as an indicator of what to drink in a pub for decades now, and continues to do so today. No specialist knowledge is required, and people with only the faintest interest in beer nerdery can easily pick out the real ales.


Craft beer on the other hand is in a horrible mess already. The American definition (made with new or old ingredients, owned less than 25% by a multi-national brewery, total production less than Denmark's) is laughable. The Brewers Association even had to have an advertising campaign pointing out which breweries are and aren't craft. It backfired spectacularly though, and they had to run off with their tail between their legs and redefine craft again.

In Britain attempts at defining craft beer have been even less successful, and many beer geeks have had to settle for "I know it when I see it", which I'm sure if of great help to the average beer drinker. 
In a local supermarket craft beer is now another ill defined category like world lager.


Let's look at that a bit more closely:

Craft, crafty or Crabbies?


Is the situation any better in pubs?

As to focussing on quality, this is something that's incredibly hard to do in practice. Brewery's quality can vary, as can how the beer copes in the distribution chain, and how well it's kept in the pub. The national quality scheme for cask beer, Cask Marque, seems to be met with universal derision by beer geeks. If a professional industry body has a hard time ensuring quality standards would a voluntary consumers' organisation be likely to fare any better? Beer geeks seem to grumble about the Good Beer Guide more than praise it. Quality is very hard to pin down, and can vary from day to day. CAMRA's focus on dispense method was not a mistake, it was a stroke of genius.


Friday, 1 April 2016

Recreating Old Beer Styles Conference

The Brewery History Society and the British Guild of Beer Writers recently held a one day conference on recreating old beer styles.


It was at Fuller's brewery which was dead handy, as it's easy for me to get to by train and it's always a shame when you have to drive to beery events. Ian Hornsey was the first speaker, going from back as far as he could with beer history through to the cutting edge of technology used in brewing. Here's a write up of my notes:


The are nine areas in the world where farming seems to have been independently started with, the earliest being traced back to 9000 B.C. Depending on the area, crops of rice, sorghum, wheat, barley, rye and maize were grown, which of course lead to different alcoholic beverages being made. The earliest remains of an alcoholic drink were found in China and it was made with grain, honey and fruit. I guess then they'd use anything they could find to make booze and the distinctions between beer, mead and wine didn't exist. Production methods could be pretty primitive too, though apparently traditional chicha is still made.

Early cereals were also quite different from modern varieties, so even before modern plant breeding years of selection have greatly improved crops. First ceramic containers were used for drinks, though casks made from palm trees were found in Mesoptania and Egypt, with the first oak casks coming from North Germany.

Records remain from ancient Egypt that show it had different beer styles. Before hop use became widespread it was common to use herbs to flavour ales, such as Myrcia gale. Archeological invesigations have shown that the less Myrica gale and more hops are found after the first millenium.

Moving to more modern times the London and Country Brewer (1758-9) lists various beer styles, many named after the towns in which they were made. The industrial revolution made big changes to beer - when brewing on a larger scale it's much more important to have consistency and if there are  problems then the amount of waste is that much larger.

Scientific advances went hand-in-hand with this process. Pasteur proved that yeast is a living organism and that life is not spontaneously generated. Carl von Linde invented industrial scale refrigeration and Emil Hanson developed brewing using single strain yeast cultures, something that was rapidly adopted on the continent but didn't really take hold in Britain until after the second world war.

In 1750 there were 48,500 brewing sites in Britain by 1970 there were 150 breweries (including five brewpubs). CAMRA were import in keeping small breweries from closing. In 2015 at the Great American Beer Festival there were 92 different styles of beer: this is overkill. When brewing styles of beer it's important to have some authenticity, such as the coolships at Elgoods. Many historical yeast strains are preserved in the National Collection of Yeast Cultures in Norwich. DART (Direct Analysis in Real Time) metabolomics now gives us the potential to understand brewing like never before.

Martyn Cornell followed, after a slight delay due to some impressive powerpoint incompetence. He's even worse than me!



Martyn talked about the taste of porter. He reckons that throughout its history there have been at least six different types of beer called porter, so when asked what porter tastes like the initial reply has to be "when?".


Originally made with 100% brown malt it will have been sweet when young and tart when older. Before 1700 porter will have been competing with lightly hopped ales. In the early 1700s coke dried malt was used in pale ales which improved their flavour so by the 1750s pale ales were increasing in popularity over brown beers. So brewers of brown beers responded by adding more hops and aging longer, which gave the beer a 'mellow' rather than tart flavour.


This version became popular with the working class such as the fellowship and ticket porters of London. The beer was strong, brown, heavy and will have probably been smoky when young. It needed at least four to five months to get bright. It was matured in 180 gallon butts. Entire butt beer, made by combining three to four mashes of  a grist was called "porter" by the public. Maturation was expensive and usually done in pubs e.g. the Eagle and Child pub had 40 butts. Maturing such large amounts of beer in a cellar caused problems due to the CO2 fumes produced and an "abroad cooper" as well as a rescuer were overcome by them. To try and avoid such problems the beer was matured in large vats. The first was a vat at the Red Lion brewery in Smithfield of 150 barrels made in 1715. By 1730 there was one of 1500 barrels, and by 1775 Thrales brewery had four vats of such size. They size of vats continued to grow so that by the 1790s Meux brewery had on of 20,000 barrels. Such large vats were not without their own problems though, and in 1814 a beer flood involving around 500 tonnes of beer happened when a vat burst, killing eight people.


In 1761 porter matured slowing in large vats will have eventually developed a mellow and rich flavour as Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus slowly broke the residual sugars down. Larger vats will have had smaller surface area to volume ratios so less oxidation and therefore less souring will have occurred. By the 1780s blends of sweet young and sour old porter mixed to taste were popular.

In 1784 a brewing text book "Statical estimates of the materials of brewing, etc, etc..." promoted the use of the saccharometer to measure the strength of worts. It showed that considerably more extract could be obtained from pale malt rather than brown porter malt. This lead to considerable interesting in brewing using mainly pale malt with other substances used to add colour. Burn molasses was used, even though it was illegal. Daniel Wheeler came up with a process for successfully roasting malt until it was black, which meant a small amount could be used to add a lot of colour and as it was malt based it was acceptable to the tax man. This method rapidly became popular with the large London porter brewers, so that by 1822 someone was lamenting that the true taste of porter was gone. British brewers did continue to use some brown malt in their grist but the strength fell from around 7% ABV to 5%. The beer was a transparent brown with a smooth, pleasantly bitter, slightly acidic taste.

After the Free Mash Tun act of 1880 further changes in porter became apparent, with someone complaining that the same mash as for mild ales was used to make porter, but with added sugar and black malt. Before the first world war porter was around 5.5% ABV but by 1918 was down to 3.5% so many porter drinkers switched to drinking stout, as stouts by this time were essentially the same as pre-WWI porters. With stout becoming more popular by the mid-1930s porter was described as "a lowly form of stout". It died out in Britain in the 1950s but lingered on in Ireland until 1973. It's wasn't long before it was revived though, the first new version being brewed in 1978.

Ron Pattinson was the next speaker on Brewing Vintage Beer.





His curiosity about what old beers tasted like lead to him investigating old brewing records, and finding people to brew to old recipes. The booklet Old British Beers and How to Make Them helped with understanding old brewing records, as did staring at them long enough until they made sense. Eventually he could decipher such things as Barclay Perkins East India Porter was made with four mashes, the liquor volumes, the strike heat and tap heat, the malts used, the volume of wort produced and the Original gravity.


Old records usually have the ingredients, O.g and mash temperature. They rarely have hop additions, liquor treatments or dry hopping. One exception to liquor treatment details was Barclay Perkins, who in the 1920s and 30s had different liquor treatments for their pale ale, mild, stout and burton, though not for their lager.


Historically brewlengths could be impressively large: Trumans could brew up to 1000 bbl at a time with up to a 1000kg of hops!


When malt was sold in bushels (a volume measurement) brown malt was poor value as it had less bulk density than pale.


In the 19th century malt types were pale, white, amber, brown, black, crystal (rare) and mild.

Hops were using in Britain from the late 14th century, originally more as a preservative than a flavouring. After 1850 Britain was not self sufficient in hops. They were imported from all over the world, but mainly America, though American hops were used early in the boil as the brewers didn't like the flavour. German and Czech hops would be used for dry hopping as brewers liked their flavour. Hop prices would vary hugely so were bought in bulk when cheap and stored.

In 1847 it became legal to use sugar in beer, but it was taxed like malt so wasn't used much. It was only after 1880 Free Mash Tun act that sugar became popular as a beer ingredient. Flaked maize was also used a lot after 1880. Invert sugars 1-4 as well as a range of proprietary sugars were used.

After a large oat crop in 1942 brewers were forced to use 10% oats in their grist. However usually oats were only used in very small amounts, even in oatmeal stouts. Parti-gyling was used to produce a range of stout so it was usual to include 0.1% oats in the grist so one could be called an oatmeal stout.

Burtonisation started in the 19th century.


Yeasts were multi-strain and would have included Brettanomyces. British brewers didn't really use single strain yeast until the mid-20th century.


In 1800 there would have been 3-4 mashes.
In 1900 a single mash.
In 1820 in Scotland a single infusion mash with sparging was used.
1870-1970 underlet mashing and sparging was used.


Parti-gyling: different worts from the same mash were collected and boiled with different hops. They would then be blended post-cooling to give a range of different beers. This system allowed for example Fuller's to brew one to five barrels of Old Burton Extra from a 200-300 bbl brewlength!

Boil would be from one to four hours, later weaker worts were boiled for longer. Sugar was added t weaker worts and hops were divided between the different worts.

Open coppers were used for pale ales but for porters coppers with d
omes were used which allowed some pressure to build and gave more colour.


Primary fermentation was followed by cleansing and four systems were used: Burton unions, pontoes, Yorkshire squares and the dropping system.


Aging beer fell into decline in 1850. Post-WWI just a few pale ales, stouts and strong ales were aged. Bass pale ale was aged in oak casks for a full year up to WWI. Greene King 5X and Barclay Perkins Imperial Russian stout were the last aged survivors.


After Ron's talk it was time for a brewery tour and then lunch.





Part two as and when I get round to it.