Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Making of Beer

I was re-watching an old German screen roll on the making of beer from the 1930's and each time I watch it, I can't get over how much useful information is in it.

Now, although it is a silent movie, and the sound track can get on the nerves there are some interesting points in the dialogue.

1. is the man sized hole in the Malt Store above the mill - OHS today would probably not allow anyone near such a space lest they fall through and into the malt mill to become the key ingredient in the next "Red" beer.

2. The mash is Decoction mashed with 50% of the mash, and it is heated to the next target temperature for a period of time and then boiled for double that time before being pumped back into the mash to raise the mash to the next targeted temperature level. Of course, the correct temperature increases would need to be carefully calculated and the volmes required,  for all this to work as planned...  This one point leads to all sorts of questions about enzyme activity conversion rates, efficiencies, etc.

3. After Mashing and Boiling the wort is put through a Hop separator and cooled via a coolship from 100°C to 60°C. Note this! The coolship is used only to knock some of the heat out of the boiled wort. Today, we whirlpool and rest for 20-40 min before engaging the wort chiller, if we're using non-immersion chilling methods. The Ideas, are pretty bloody similar.

4. Next - I love this bit of kit - the wort is passed over a laminar flow corrugated chiller plate which knocks the heat down from 60°C to 6°C in 1 minute!?! Get that? In one minute! The laminar flow avoids hot side aeration of the cooling wort! Amazing stuff.

5. The yeast, in buckets is literally pitched, tossed in, to the chilled wort and then sacrificial candles, used like canaries in mines are lowered to detect if there is sufficient CO2 sitting above the open fermenters. This is a point, I think a lot of hobby brewers need to dwell upon, especially our sanitation-addicted American brethren... Unrealized, pottential fear certainly has a way of controlling our lives...

All in all, this screen play, movietone, cinema news presentation shows us a way of making beer on a commercial scale, in such a way that hobby brewers could truly learn a thing or two about their own brewing practices, and how they view the process of brewing beer. I'm not saying this is the right way, but, they way we make and cool wort has historic roots that are worth exploring and understanding, so that we better understand why we do things in particular ways today.


Until next time,

It's Your Shout, Mate!