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Brewing is the production of alcoholic beverages through fermentation. This is the method used in for example wine and beer production.

Brewing has a very long history, and archeological evidence tells us that this technique was used in ancient Egypt.

The brewing industry is part of most western economies. See below for national brewing industry.

The 1881 Household Cyclopedia adds:

Table of contents

To fit up a small Brew-house

Provide a copper holding full two-thirds of the quantity proposed to he brewed, with a gauge-stick to determine the number of gallons in the copper. A mash-tub, or tun, adapted to contain two-thirds of the quantity proposed to be brewed and one or two tuns of equal size to ferment the wort three or four shallow coolers; one or two wooden bowls; a thermometer; half a dozen casks of different sizes; a large funnel; two or three clean pails, and a hand-pump.

This proceeds on the supposition of two mashes for ale; but if only one mash is adapted for ale, with a view of making the table-beer better, then the copper and mash tun should hold one-third more than the quantity to be brewed.

The expenses of brewing depend on the price of malt and hops, and on the proposed strength of the article. Onequarter of good malt and eight pounds of good hops ought to make two barrels of good ale and one of table-beer. The other expenses consist of coal and labor.

Of public breweries, and their extensive utensils and machinery, we give no description, because books are not likely to be resorted to by the class of persons engaged in those extensive manufactories for information relative to their own particular business.

To choose Water for Brewing

Soft water, or hard water softened by exposure to the air, is generally preferred, because it makes a stronger extract, and is more inclined to ferment; but hard water is better for keeping beer and is less liable to turn sour. Some persons soften hard water by throwing a spoonful of soda into a barrel, and others do it with a handful of common salt mixed with an ounce of salt of tartar.

To make Malt

Put about 6 quarters of good barley, newly threshed, etc., into a stone trough full of water, and let it steep till the water be of a bright reddish color, which will be in about 3 days, more or less, according to the moisture or dryness, smallness or bigness of the grain, the season of the year, or the temperature of the weather. In summer malt never makes well; in winter it requires longer steeping than in spring or autumn. It may be known when steeped enough by other marks besides the color of the water. The grains should be soft enough to be pierced with a needle, but not to be crushed between the nails. When sufficiently steeped take it out of the trough, and lay it in heaps, to let the water drain from it; then, after 2 or 8 hours, turn it over with a scoop, and lay it in a new heap, 20 or 24 inches deep. This is called the coming heap, in the right management of which lies the principal skill. In this heap it may lie 40 hours, more or less, according to the aforementioned qualities of the grain, etc., before it comes to the right temper of malt. While it lies it must be carefully looked to after the first 15 or 16 hours, for about that time the grains begin to put forth roots, which, when they have equally and fully done, the malt must, within an hour after, be turned over with a scoop; otherwise the grains will begin to put forth the blade and spire also, which must by all means be prevented. If all the malt do not come equally, but that which lies in the middle, being warmest, come the soonest, the whole must be turned, so that what was outmost may be inmost; and thus it is managed till it be all alike. As soon as the malt is sufficiently come, turn it over, and spread it to a depth not exceeding 5 or 6 inches; and by the time it is all spread out begin and turn it over again 3 or 4 times. Afterwards turn it over in like manner once in 4 or 5 hours, making the heap deeper by degrees, and continue to do so for the space of 48 hours at least. This cools, dries, and deadens the grain, so that it becomes mellow, melts easily in brewing, and separates entirely from the husk. Then throw up the malt into a heap as high as possible, where let it lie till it grows as hot as the hand can bear it, which usually happens in about the space of 30 hours. This perfects the sweetness and mellowness of the malt. After being sufficiently heated, throw it abroad to cool, and turn it over again about 6 or 8 hours after; and then lay it on a kiln with a hair cloth or wire spread under it. After one fire, which must last 24 hours, give it another more slow, and afterwards, if need be, a third; for if the malt be not thoroughly dried, it cannot be well ground, neither will it dissolve well in the brewing; but the ale it makes will be red, bitter, and unfit for keeping.

To grind Malt

To obtain the infusion of malt it is necessary to break it, for which purpose it is passed through stones placed at such distance, as that they may crush each grain without reducing it to powder; for if ground too small it makes the worts thick, while if not broken at all the extract is not obtained. In general, pale malts are ground larger than amber or brown malts.

Malt should be used within two or three days after it is ground, but in the London brew-houses it is generally ground one day and used the next. A quarter of malt ground should yield nine bushels, and sometimes ten. Crushing mills or iron rollers have lately been used in preference to stones which make a considerable grit with the malt. On a small scale, malt may be broken by wooden rollers, by the hands.

Steel mills like coffee mills have also been used for crushing malt with great success.

To determine the Qualities of Malt

First, examine well; if it has a round body, breaks soft, is full of flour all its length, smells well, and has a thin skin; next chew some of it, and if sweet and mellow, then it is good. If it is hard and steely, and retains something of a barley nature, it has not been rightly made, and will weigh heavier than that which has been properly malted.

Secondly, take a glass nearly full of water; put in some malt, and if it swims, it is good, but if any sinks to the bottom then it is not true malt.

Pale malt is the slowest and least dried, producing more worts than high dried melt, and of better quality. Amber colored malt, or that between pale and brown, produces a flavor much admired in many malt liquors. Brown malt loses much of its nutritious qualities, but confers a peculiar flavor desired by many palates. Roasted malt, after the manner of coffee, is used by the best London brewers, to give color and flavor to porter, which in the first instance has been made from pale malt.

To choose Hops.

Rub them between the fingers or the palm of the hand, and if good, a rich glutinous substance will be felt, with a fragrant smell, and a fine yellow dust will appear. The best color is a fine olive green, but if too green, and the seeds are small and shrivelled, they have been picked too soon and will be deficient in flavor. If of a dusty brown color they were picked too late, and should not be chosen. When a year old, they are considered as losing one-fourth in strength.

To determine the Proportion between the Liquor boiled and the Quantity produced.

From a single quarter, two barrels of liquor will produce but one barrel of wort. Three barrels will produce one barrel and three quarters. Four barrels will produce two barrels and a half. Five barrels will produce three barrels and a quarter. Six barrels will produce four barrels. Eight barrels will produce five barrels and a half, and ten barrels will produce seven barrels, and so on in proportion for other quantities.

To determine the Heats of the Liquor or Water for the First and Second Mashes on different kinds of Malt.

First Mash. - For very pale malt turn on the liquor at 176 Fahr. For pale and amber mixed, 172, all amber, 170, high-colored amber, 168. An equal quantity of pale, amber, and brown, 160. If the quantity of brown is very dark, or any part of the grains charred by the fire upon the kiln, 155.

Second Mash. - For very pale malt turn on the liquor at 182. For pale and amber mixed, 178; all amber, 176; high-colored amber, 172. An equal quantity of pale, ember and brown, 166. If the quantity of brown is very dark, or any part of the grains charred by the fire, 164.

The heat should in some measure be regulated by the temperature of the atmosphere, and should be two or three degrees higher in cold than in warm weather.

The proper degree of heat will give the strongest wort and in the greatest quantity, for though the heat were greater and the strength of the wort thereby increased, yet a greater quantity of liquor would be retained in the malt; and again, if it were lower, it would produce more wort, but the strength of the extract would be deficient, the beer without spirit, and likely to turn sour.

To determine the Strength of the Worts

To effect this a saccharometer is necessary, and may be purchased at any mathematical instrument maker's. It determines the relative gravity of wort to the water used, and the quantity of farinaceous matter contained in the wort. It is used in all public breweries after drawing off the wort from each mash, and regulates the heat and quantity of liquor turned on at each succeeding mash, that the ultimate strength may be equal though the quantity is less. This signifies little to the private, but it is of great consequence to the public brewer. Those who brew frequently and desire to introduce it will obtain printed tables and instructions with the instrument.

To proportion the Hops

The usual quantity is a pound to the bushel of malt, or 8 lbs. to the quarter, but for keeping beer, it should be extended to 10 or 12, and if for one or two years to 14 lbs. to the quarter. Small beer requires from 3 to 6 lbs. the quarter, and rather more when old hops are used.

Some persons, instead of boiling the hops with the wort, macerate them, and put the strong extract into the tun with the first wort, and make 2 or 3 extracts in like manner for the second and third worts

To Boil Worts

The first wort should be sharply boiled for 1 hour, and the second for 2 hours, but if intended for beer of longkeeping, the time should be extended half an hour. The hops should be strained from each preceding wort, and returned into the copper with the succeeding one. Between the boilings the fires should be damped with wet cinders, and the copper door set open.

For small beer only half an hour is necessary for the first wort, 1 hour for the second, and 2 hours for the third. The diminution from boiling is from one-eighth to one-sixteenth.

To Cool the Wort

Worts should be laid so shallow as to cool within 6 or 7 hours to the temperature of 60. In warm weather the depth should not exceed 2 or 3 inches, but in cold weather it may be 5 inches. As soon as they have fallen to 60 they should instantly be tunned and yeasted.

To Choose Heats for Tunning

In cold weather the heats in the coolers should be 5 or 6 higher than in mild and warm weather. For ale, in cold weather, it should be tunned as soon as it has fallen to 60 Fahr. in the coolers; for porter to 64, and for table beer to 74, and in warm weather strong beer should be 4 or 5 less and table beer 7 or 8. Care should also be taken that the worts do not get cold before the yeast is mixed to produce fermentation. The best rule for mixing the yeast is 1 1/2 lbs. to every barrel of strong beer wort, and 1 lb. to every barrel of table beer wort.

To Mix the Yeast with the Worts

Ale brewed for keeping in winter should be no more than blood warm when the yeast is put to it. If it is intended for immediate drinking, it may be yeasted a little warmer. The best method of mixing the yeast is to take 2 or 3 quarts of the hot water wort in a wooden bowl or pan, to which when cool enough, put yeast enough to work the brewing, generally l or 2 quarts to the hogshead, according to its quality. In this bowl or pan the fermentation will commence while the rest of the worts are cooling, when the whole may be mixed together.

To Apportion Yeast and Apply it to the Worts

The yeast of strong beer is preferable to that from small beer, and it should be fresh and good. The quantity should be diminished with the temperature at which the worts are tunned, and less in summer than in winter. For strong beer a quart of yeast per quarter will be sufficient at 58 but less when the worts are higher and when the weather is hot. If estimated by the more accurate criterion of weight, 1 1/2 lbs. should be used for a barrel of strong beer, and 1 1/4 lbs. for a barrel of small beer. If the fermentation does not commence add a little more yeast, and rouse the worts for some time. But if they get cold, and the fermentation is slow, fill a bottle with hot water and put it into the tun.

In cold weather small beer should be tunned at 70, keeping beer at 50 and strong beer at 54. In mild weather at 50 for each sort. The fermentation will increase the heat 10.

To manage the Fermentation

A proportion of the yeast should be added to the first wort as soon as it is let down from the coolers, and the remainder as soon as the second wort is let down.

The commencement of fermentation is indicated by a line of small bubbles round the sides of the tun, which in a short time extends over the surface. A crusty head follows, and then a fine rocky one, followed by a light, frothy head. In the last stage the head assumes a yeasty appearance, and the color is yellow or brown, the smell of the tun becoming strongly vinous. As soon as this head begins to fall, the tun should be skimmed, and the skimming continued every 2 hours till no more yeast appears; this closes the operation, and it should then be put in casks, or, in technical language, cleansed. A minute attention to every stage of this process is necessary to secure fine flavored and brilliant beverage. Should the fermentation be unusually slow, it should be accelerated by stirring or rousing the whole. After the first skimming, a small quantity of salt and flour, well mixed, should be stirred in the tun The fermentation will proceed in the casks, to encourage which the bung-hole should be placed a little aside, and the casks kept full by being filled up from time to time with old beer. When this fermentation has ceased the casks may be bunged up.

To Accelerate the Fermentation

Spread some flour with the hand over the surface, and it will form a crust, and keep the worts warm, or throw in an ounce or two of powdered ginger, or fill a bottle with boiling water and sink it in the worts, or heat a small quantity of the worts and throw into the rest, or beat up the whites of two eggs with some brandy and throw it into the tun or cask, or tie up some bran in a coarse, thin cloth and put it into the vat, and above all things do not disturb the wort, as fermentation will not commence during any agitation of the wort.

To Check a Too Rapid Fermentation

Mix some cold raw wort in the tun, or divide the whole between two tuns, where, by being in smaller body, the energy of the fermentation of the whole will be divided. Also open the doors and windows of the brew-house; but, if it still frets, sprinkle some cold water over it, or if it frets in the cask, put a mixture of a 1/4 of a lb. of sugar with a handful of salt to the hogshead.

To Brew Porter on the London System

Thames or New River water is indifferently used, or hard water, raised into backs and exposed for a few days to the air.

Take a mixture of brown, amber and pale malts in nearly equal quantities, and turn them into the mash-tub in this order. Turn on the first liquor at 165, mash 1 hour and then coat the whole with dry salt. In 1 hour set the tap.

Mix 10 lbs. of brown hops to the quarter of malt, half old, half new; boil the first wort briskly with the hops for three-quarters of an hour, and after putting into the copper 1 1/2 lbs. of sugar and 1 1/2 lbs. of Leghorn juice (extract of liquorice) to the barrel, turn the whole into the coolers, rousing the wort all the time.

Turn on the second liquor at 174, and in an hour set tap again. This second wort having run off, turn on again at 145; mash for an hour and stand for the same; in the meantime boiling the second wort with the same hops for an hour. Turn these into the coolers as before, and let down into the tub at 64, mixing the yeast as it comes down. Cleanse the second day at 80, previously throwing in a mixture of flour and salt, and rousing thoroughly.

For private use, every quarter of malt ought to yield 2 barrels and a half, but brewers would run 3 barrels to a quarter.

To Brew three Barrels of Porter

Take 1 sack of pale malt, 1/2 a sack of amber malt, and 1/2 a sack of brown malt.

Turn on 2 barrels for first mash at l65; second mash, 1 1/2 barrels at 172; third mush, 2 barrels at 142. Boil 10 lbs. of new and old hops and 2 oz. of porter extract in the first wort. Cool, ferment, and cleanse according to the previous instructions.

Brown Stout

The procedure is the same as in the preceding article, except that one-third or one-half the malt should be brown.

To brew Ale in Small Families

A bushel and three quarters of ground malt and a pound of hops are sufficient to make 18 gallons of good family ale. That the saccharine matter of the malt may be extracted by infusion, without the farina, the temperature of the water should not exceed 155 or 160. The quantity of water should be poured on the malt as speedily as possible, and the whole being well mixed together by active stirring, the vessel should be closely covered over for an hour; if the weather be cold, for an hour and a half. If hard water be employed it should be boiled, and the temperature allowed, by exposure to the atmosphere, to fall to 155 or 160; but if rain water is used, it may be added to the malt as soon as it arrives to 155. During the time this process is going on, the hops should be infused in a close vessel, in as much boiling water as will cover them, for 2 hours. The liquor may then be squeezed out, and kept closely covered.

The hops should then be boiled for about 10 minutes, in double the quantity of water obtained from the infused hops, and the strained liquor, when cold, may be added with the infusion to the wort, when it has fallen to the temperature of 70. The object of infusing the hops in a close vessel previously to boiling, is to preserve the essential oil of hops, which renders it more sound, and at the same time more wholesome. A pint of good thick yeast should be well stirred into the mixture of wort and hops, and covered over in a place of the temperature of 65, and when the fermentation is completed, the liquor may be drawn off into a clean cask previously rinsed with boiling water. When the slow fermentation which will ensue has ceased, the cask should be loosely bunged for two days, when, if the liquor be left quiet, the bung may be properly fastened. The pale malt is the best, because, when highly dried, it does not afford so much saccharine matter. If the malt be new, it should be exposed to the air, in a dry room, for 2 days previously to its being used; but if it be old, it may be used in 12 or 20 hours after it is ground. The great difference in the flavor of ale made by different brewers appears to arise from their employing different species of hops.

Another Method of Brewing Ale

For 36 gallons, take of malt (usually pale), 2 1/2 bushels; sugar, 3 lbs. just boiled to a color; hops, 2 lbs. 8 oz.; coriander seeds, 1 oz.; capsicum, 1/2 a drachm.

Work it 2 or 3 days, beating it well up once or twice a day; when it begins to fall, cleanse it by adding a handful of salt and some wheat flour.

Table Beer only, from Pale Malt

The first mash should be at 170, viz. 2 barrels per quarter; let it stand on the grains 3/4 of an hour in hot weather, or 1 hour if cold. Second mash, 145 at 1 1/2 barrels per quarter, stands 1/2 an hour. Third, 165, 2 barrels per quarter, stands 1/2 an hour. Fourth, 130, 3 barrels, stands 2 hours. The first wort to be boiled with 6 lbs. of hops per quarter for 1 1/2 hours, the second wort to be boiled with the same hops 2 hours, and the remainder 3 hours. The whole is to be now heated as low as 55 if the weather permits, and put to work with about 5 pints of yeast per quarter; if the weather is too warm to get them down to 55, a less proportion will be sufficient. The 8 barrels of liquor first used will be reduced to 6 of beer to each quarter; 1 barrel being left in the grains, and another evaporated in boiling, cooling and working.

See also distilling. The word zymurgy is sometimes used as a generic term for brewing, winemaking and distilling.

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