Wednesday, 20 February 2019

G for Germany

I will be travelling to Germany for a study tour with the Institute of Brewing and Distilling in May. As a life long fan of cold, fizzy, sulphurous and quite possibly diabolically inspired lager I'm particularly looking forward to this one. To help me maximise my Continuing Professional Development whilst I'm out there can anyone more experienced in the ways of Luciferian libations give me recommendations for beers to drink and places to go to in Munich, Regensburg and Bamburg? Though there will no doubt be a packed schedule on the tour there should be some free time for further study in the evenings.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

How to make Britain's most popular beer

Industrial lager may be in decline, but a lot of it is still sold. So it was interesting to see Roger Putman give some details in the IBD magazine of how Carling, Britain's best selling draught beer, is made.

The image on the Carling beer mat did get me thinking they're playing to the home crowd but I'll leave that for now
He starts by informing us that raw barley is hammer miller into the grist case with the malt. For those not familiar with hammer milling it means grinding the grains to a powder which helps to get the very high rates of extraction of fermentable materials found in mash filters.

Very high maltose syrup is used in the kettle to give 20% of the grist. For those not familiar with high gravity brewing very high maltose syrup is important because it reduces the amount of esters produced during fermentation, something which high gravity brewing raises.

The beer has a dimethyl sulphide specification of 50ppb, giving it a characteristic taste.

The Original Gravity is 1.068 and the yeast is pitched at 14°C and allowed to free rise to 15°C where it is held until half gravity when it is allowed to free rise up to 20°C. Higher temperatures also increase ester production so the lower initial temperature helps restrict it.

Green beer conditioning is carried out in the Fermenting Vessels until the diacetyl level is in spec. [not stated, but I guess it's something like less than 30ppb]. The beer is then crash cooled into "maturation" tank at -1.5°C to hasten formation of haze forming protein-polyphenol complexes so that only 24 hours storage is necessary before filtration, dilution and carbonation.

It's not in the article but I did hear Carling is fermented to 8% ABV, which would give the base beer a Final Gravity of around 1.007.  We do know for certain though that it's cut to 3.7% ABV at packaging. High Gravity Brewing is really something I should get round to doing a post about, but basically it's making more efficient use of brewing vessels by brewing beer to a higher strength that it's sold at and diluting it with De-Aerated Liquor (water with a very low oxygen content to prevent stale flavours developing) prior to packaging. It's not to be confused with liquoring back which is the process brewers use to hit target Original Gravity in which wort (unfermented beer) is produced slightly stronger than required and then cut (diluted) to the required strength prior to fermentation.

A few more details would be nice, and it might take a few goes to get it right, but if you're interested in making a beer that sells over 3 million hectolitres (528 million pints) a year I think that's a good starting point.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Every cloud and all that

Though I must admit to feeling irrational sadness that ownership of Fuller's Brewery has changed from one group of capitalists to another, a local paper did point out something that can make my heart swell with irrational local pride: Asahi's European headquarters is in Woking. They're based in one of the old SAB Miller buildings, so it sounds like Fuller's will be run from my home town.

The article then goes on to say that Asahi is now the third largest brewer in Europe, which looks like it's overstating the case to me.  But I could be wrong, brewery and brand ownership is hard to keep up with.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Pride in The Pride

When I found myself back in the East End there was only one thought in my mind when it was time for refreshment.

They didn't pass that time
One of my friends mentioned a 'Spoons but I was having none of it: "Let's go to The Pride" I said. And so we did.



I used to drink in The Pride often but I don't get up that way much nowadays.  The call of the ESB was strong but a rare outbreak of being sensible struck and I stuck to the pride. Lovely it was too. Not in the sense of making me want to shout "awesome" or even talk about the beer. It was just something good to drink whilst I chatted to my friends.

The Pride is a proper boozer, and though there were heathens at one table knocking back the Stella there were plenty drinking in the ways of righteousness. Pubs, and cask beer, may be in decline but the decline is far from terminal and in some places both look to be in positively good health.

The special feature is still there too

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Where has all the cask beer gone?

I've spotted an interesting titbit about what's happened to cask beer sales. Writing in Brewer and Distiller International (August 2009) Paul Buttrick wrote:
Boddingtons was selling 10,000 barrels of cask beer a week in the mid 1990s, will we see Tetley cask bitter falter in the same way with the Leeds brewery shutting next year?
10,000 barrels a week is far more than any cask beer does now, and I can't remember when I last saw Tetley's in cask. Admittedly this is going back a few years but the big brewers have mainly retreated from producing cask beer. Beers produced for mass consumption, not for discerning beer nerds, unsurprisingly sell in large volumes. And big companies are good at getting their beer sold. It's no coincidence that Doom Bar started outselling Greene King IPA after Molson Coors bought Sharps. So I can't help but wonder how much of the decline in cask beer sales is due to fall in "mass market" beer, and how do sales of cask beer with a bit more character compare? Mind you, I don't think sales of industrial larger are looking too peachy so maybe it applies to beer in general.