hist-brewing: The Demise of Porter
brewinfo at xnet.com
Fri Dec 1 17:08:31 PST 2000
As I said in my previous email, Terry Foster's book "Porter" pretty
much explains why Porter changed from being all Brown and Amber malts
to Pale and some dark malt:
"About 1830, a variety of competing pressures compined to decrease
porter's popularity. Perhaps the first was technological progress,
founded on porter's own success. The London brewers were foremost
in the adoption of scientific and engineering advances. They were,
for example, the first to install steam engines, with Henry Goodwyn
and Whitbread leading the field in 1784, and others soon following.
The use of steam and the thermometer enabled them to exert much
greater control over the brewing process.
So too did the use of the hydrometer. It did not achieve as rapid
an acceptance as my have been expected. James Baverstock, perhaps
the first brewer to exploit it, is said to have had to conceal his
experiments from his father, who strongly objected to such frivolities.
Richardson's publications in the 1780's were crucial in turning the
craft of brewing into science. Before Richardson, only Michael
Combrune, describing the use of thermometer in mashing in his 1762
Theory and Practice of Brewing, had published anything quantatative
on brewing procedures.
Richardson devised a system of measuring the percentage extract obtained
from a given sample of malt. This was to change the character of porter
completely, for he showed that brown malt was not cheaper than pale malt.
When the yield of extract for a given unit cost was taken as a
determining factor, rather than the cost per pound of malt, it turned
out that pale malt was actually the cheaper of the two. This put brewers
on the road to abandoning the use of brown malt."
Foster goes on to say that they first used many different methods and
ingredients for darkening the wort, for example, burnt sugar, licorice
and molasses (plus a bunch of really nasty additives).
Then he says:
"The answer to the whole problem was discovered by Daniel Wheeler, who
invented the technique of roasting malt at high temperature (400 degrees
F [204.5 degrees C]) to give a highly-colored product. Since he patented
his invention in 1817, it was and sometimes still is known as patent malt."
His invention was the barrel roaster and I believe it included water jets
to put out the malt *when* (not if) it caught fire.
Wheeler's book is one of the best in the Classic Beer Style Series (along
with Lambic by Guinard and Bock by Richman... just stay away from that
awful Altbier book!).
I'm off to a homebrew club X-mas party... Cheers!
Al Korzonas, Lockport, Illinois, USA
korz at brewinfo.org
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