January 1944


Nowadays we hear much of war-time conditions and planning for peace in many branches of human-activity when this world wide conflict is ended, and it is of interest to learn of the problems confronting brewers in other parts of the world.  Although the difficulties encountered by the American brewer are rather different from those afflicting his English confrere, much good may be gained by a consideration of one another’s problems.  In an address by F. P. Siebel of Chicago to the Western Canadian Brewers’ Association, which was published in Brewers’ Digest for September, 1943, many useful ideas were expressed which might prove of service, with suitable modifications if necessary, here.  As in this country, a greatly increased demand for beer arose at the same time that restrictions were placed on the supply of brewing materials, and this resulted in extensive investigations to find, if possible, satisfactory substitutes.  Rye, oats, Kaffir corn, wheat and other cereals were tested as sources of starch for the mash tun and the conclusion was reached that un-malted barley showed most promise as an emergency brewing material, and in many transatlantic breweries this cereal is used in the raw state without previous boiling.

To cope with the necessity for more rapid production the cooled hopped wort is now filtered through diatomaceous earth (kieselguhr) before pitching, and again after fermentation is complete, thus enabling beers of fine quality to be produced in a relatively short time.  The hop shortage has made it essential to utilize the active constituents in the most efficient manner, and this is achieved by the use of hop concentrates, especially for dry hopping in the cellar.  The natural conservativeness of even the modern brewer tends to make him prefer the older time-honoured conventional methods and thus retard the  application of new procedures and of recently developed plant, but considerable success has been achieved by a modernized brewing system which is much favoured and in which the preliminary boiling of part of the grist, mashing and boiling of the wort are carried out alternatively in two glass-lined, steam-jacketed vessels.  To separate the grains a mash filter is employed, and this is also used to remove the spent hops after boiling.

In this system the malt is finely ground and not merely crushed, so that the maximum extract is obtained whilst the installation and operating costs of the plant are unusually low.  War has greatly stimulated the use of surplus yeast as a source of vitamins and protein food, for both men and animals, and further developments of this application may be anticipated after the close of hostilities.  Whilst at present the output of plastics is absorbed by the services, the application of these products in brewery plant, cellar fittings, etc., will without doubt be extensively developed in the future.  Thus, looking forward to the approaching days of peace, it is highly probable that improvements in brewing practice and technology will proceed at an accelerated pace as a result of the scientific activities of various brewing societies founded during recent years, and a closer co-operation between the brewer and the production engineer.

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