Surviving Brewery Operational Records

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John Murray
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Surviving Brewery Operational Records

Post by John Murray » Sat Nov 07, 2009 10:11 am

From my research so far, brewing records for the following breweries serving our area survive and are publicly available through local records offices and/or National Archives:
  • Chester Northgate Brewery

    Lyon and Greenall Wilderspool Brewery

    Thomas and Gilbert Greenall

    North Cheshire Brewery
If you know of any more accessible surviving records, please post. I may have a go at brewing some of the Wilderspool Ales.

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Boughton Beerman
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Re: Surviving Brewery Operational Records

Post by Boughton Beerman » Sat Nov 07, 2009 12:52 pm

A great idea Mr. Murray .....

I feel a collection of 'Heritage Ales' would be very well received - (if the interest of the splendidly revived Northgate is anything to go by). If marketed properly you could be on to winner, surprised nobody's thought of it before.

Of interest (hopefully), I well remember (as a kid) going to watch the Lion being lifted into position on top of the car park.

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Re: Surviving Brewery Operational Records

Post by John Murray » Fri Nov 27, 2009 12:25 pm

I went to the Country Archives office today and had a look at the Wilderspool records. These are very detailed and even list the recipes for a typical 72 barrel batch in an appendix at the back of the brewing log book for the 1860s. Actual batch sizes varied between 40 and 120 barrels.

The Stout recipe looks particurly good but with a start gravity of 29.5 lb/barrel (1083) yielding around 8.4% ABV, it would have been lethal. The Porter recipe, one of their most common brews comes in at 26.75 lb/barrel (1074) approx 7.5% ABV.

Gravity is given as extract sugar lb per 36 gallon barrel and can be roughly converted to specific gravity by multiplying by 2.8 and adding 1000.

ano
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Re: Surviving Brewery Operational Records

Post by ano » Fri Nov 27, 2009 1:09 pm

Could you please post the recipe? And any relevant snippets of process that can be gleaned, such as type of fermenter, length of mash any maturation etc.

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Re: Surviving Brewery Operational Records

Post by John Murray » Sun Nov 29, 2009 9:50 am

The Wilderspool operational records are only the malt and hop bills and the recipe proportions, I'm afraid, but the Northgate operational records detail their process:

Mash: 45 minutes @ 166°F, then "underlit" and 1 hour @ 180°F

Sparge: 186°F for 30 minutes, then 160°F for 90 minutes. During the sparging stage, the tap would be opened for run off, at the start for 10 minutes then for a further 10 minutes every half hour until the final run off.

Boil: 2 hours, any sugars used added 20 minutes before the end. Typically in the pale ale 10% of the total weight would be sugar, increasing to 20% for the Old Chester.

Hop sparge: In the case of pale ale, 1 barrel of wort would be sparged over the hops. In the case of mild, this was 4½ and 3 barrels for Old Chester.

Average yield: 40 barrels

Salts: 15lb of CaSO4 was added to all gyles. In addition, up to 7½lb of CaCl2 and up to 4½lb MgSO4 added to various beers. These varied from brew to brew, so it suggests they probably undertook water analysis.

Fermentation: 7 days - daily temperature and gravity readings recorded.

Preservative: ½oz of Potassium Metabisulphate added to each barrel.

No maturation details are given.

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Re: Surviving Brewery Operational Records

Post by ano » Sun Nov 29, 2009 11:07 am

Fascinating. Seems a hot mash. Thanks very much. :thumb:

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Re: Surviving Brewery Operational Records

Post by John Murray » Mon Nov 30, 2009 8:42 am

This is a modern version of Northgate Old Chester (1902) to make a 23l (5 gallon) batch:

5.2Kg Amber Malt (60 EBC) - They used their number 2 colour malt
530g Flaked Maize - As per original recipe proportion

Mash for 90 minutes at 66°C in 13.7l liquor

Sparge liquor 20.1l

Start of boil hops:

30g Fuggles (alpha 4.9%)
30g Goldings (alpha 5.7%)

Boil for 90 minutes, adding

910g White sugar - 20 minutes before end

3g Irish Moss (not in original, but I always do this) - 15 minutes before end

End of boil hops:

30g Goldings (alpha 5.7%)

Allow to steep for about 15 minutes before filtering off.

You can re sparge about 10% wort through the hop debris, as Northgate did, but if you have an efficient hop filter on your boiler, I have found it makes no noticable difference. I tried this using a large plastic seive once.

O.G. 1065 ABV approx 7.4%

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Mr W
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Re: Surviving Brewery Operational Records

Post by Mr W » Mon Nov 30, 2009 9:31 am

John Murray wrote: O.G. 1065 ABV approx 7.4%
:wha:

Sounds like a nice winter brew!
Ian

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Re: Surviving Brewery Operational Records

Post by jamesb » Mon Nov 30, 2009 1:03 pm

John Murray wrote: 5.2Kg Amber Malt (60 EBC) - They used their number 2 colour malt
530g Flaked Maize - As per original recipe proportion
Mash for 90 minutes at 66°C in 13.7l liquor
I assume that this has to be diastatic amber malt as bog standard amber doesn't have enough diastatic power to convert itself without a large amount of pale (or similar) in the mash. I believe that historic amber malt was diastatic whilst modern amber is not. I have seen historical records of breweries using amber as a base malt.
You can re sparge about 10% wort through the hop debris, as Northgate did, but if you have an efficient hop filter on your boiler, I have found it makes no noticable difference. I tried this using a large plastic seive once.
Am I missing the point here? I thought the point of sparging the hops was to extract the maximum amount of wort from the copper - I don't see why you'd sparge them with wort?
James

“When you have lost your inns, drown your empty selves, for you will have lost the last of England.”
Hilaire Belloc, Preface to The Four Men (1911) ...

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Re: Surviving Brewery Operational Records

Post by John Murray » Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:26 pm

I'm not quite sure why you would sparge the hops with wort, either, but the records indicate that they did it e.g. "3 barrels retained for hop sparge". I have tried it one some of the Northgate recipes and it produces no noticable difference in flavour. The records imply about about a 5-10% in volume of liquor hop sparge in volume. Most of the copper hop rinsing processes I have seen used much smaller quantities of liquor.

It's possible they are talking about rinsing the hops with liquor, although the records suggest it was a separate process at the end in some kind of rinse back device and it mentions retained liquid . I know a retired brewery worker, Ian, I'll ask him what they did although I guess in his time, things had changed a lot. It could be that they are talking of retained liquor, rather then wort, but it would need to be boiled if adding to wort, and I don't see any mention of this.

Interesting, I shall have another good look at the records after I have spoken to Ian.

It would have been distatic malt, as you say historic amber was produced under different conditions and retained its diastatic properties. The amber malt I have is diastic, I've use it for making Belgian style ales. If I have a go at recreating this beer, I will probably try blending chocolate and pale to average about 60 EBC to keep the same colour, say around 4.2Kg pale mixed with 275g chocolate.

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Re: Surviving Brewery Operational Records

Post by John Murray » Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:20 am

Having looked into this more, it is not clear whether this was a water or wort sparge. After speaking to Ian and re-reading the notes, Northgate used some type of hop back piece of equipment for the hop sparge, but no mention is made in the records of any dry hops being put in the hop back as I would have expected, they just record hops being added at start and at flameout. In other hop backs I have seen, it is a wort sparge of dry hops in a sealed vessel which takes place immediately prior to cooling so that as much aroma as possible is retained.

My thinking was that this was some way possibly of getting more aroma out of the post boil hops. Unless further information comes to light, I can't shed further light on this. It could well be that hot liquor was used in the hop back to sparge the hops.

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Re: Surviving Brewery Operational Records

Post by jamesb » Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:32 am

If it were as a standard hopback, perhaps it refers to the amount of wort lost to the hops? All quite confusing though.

Thanks for looking into it John.
James

“When you have lost your inns, drown your empty selves, for you will have lost the last of England.”
Hilaire Belloc, Preface to The Four Men (1911) ...

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Re: Surviving Brewery Operational Records

Post by jamesb » Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:00 am

I was also intrigued with the diastatic amber malt and the difference between historical and modern amber and sought some advice.
Obviously diastatic amber is paler roasted than 'standard' amber . . . but I also think that although it is 'diastatic' the malt lacks the ability to convert itself . . . . and beta amylase activity especially is significantly lowered . . . meaning you get a thick chewy sweet beer.

You have two options available, one is obviously to use some pale malt, replace perhaps up to a 1/3 of the amber with pale. . . . The other option which many would consider cheating . . . . and as you have access to a local micro you can possibly get hold of it from Murphys is to throw in some Biase 320P or even some Trizyme. . . . I've been looking at an article based on these for Brewers Contact, and once the femtobrewery is up and running I am going to tackle some of those Durden Park porters and browns that are 1/3 Pale, 1/3 Amber and 1/3 Roast/Black malts . . . totally unable to convert itself so some sort of enzyme is required.
James

“When you have lost your inns, drown your empty selves, for you will have lost the last of England.”
Hilaire Belloc, Preface to The Four Men (1911) ...

John Murray
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Re: Surviving Brewery Operational Records

Post by John Murray » Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:11 pm

The amber malt I have been using came from The Brew Shop, and produces a nice flavour and does work. I looked up the characteristics of Belgian amber malts and they seem to be more like the historical amber malts used here in that they are kilned at a slightly higher temperature, rather than roasted and do contain sufficient enzymes to convert themselves, that is one of the things they are sold on. This particular type of malt was recommended to me a few years ago by a friend of mine.

My original though had been to brew using the Belgian malt However a big negative is that it has a very distinctive aroma, characteristic of many Belgian ales, which probably won't suit the style of beer. As you say, some experimenting with blends is probably the best way forward.

In chapter 23 of Ray Daniels book "Desiging Great Beers" he describes a process for converting pale malt to historic amber malt:
1. Place pale ale malt to a depth of one-half inch in a foil-lined cooking pan. Retain a few kernels in a separate plate to use for comparison during roasting.
2. Cook in a oven for 45 minutes at 110c and then for 20 to 60 minutes at 150c.
3. After the first 20 minutes at 150c, cut several kernels in half to inspect the colour of the starch endosperm. For amber malt, the endosperm should be "light buff" in colour when finished. Continue heating at 150c until this colour is achieved, usually 45 to 50 minutes.

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