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Old 10-22-2012, 12:14 AM   #1
othevad
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Default Victorian Era English Brewing question

Hey guys.

So cool enough and luckily for me, I am able to do my senior seminar/thesis sort of thing on Victorian Era brewing practices. I've done some digging and discovered a lot of stuff about it, but the one question I haven't been able to figure out the answer to is this; what did they use for yeast? Did the people in the late 1800's just do their mash and hope that it would ferment from wild yeasties floating in the air?
Any help on this would be awesome, I have to give a quick preliminary presentation on this in a few days and would like to have this question answered before I present!

thanks muchos.
Dave

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Old 10-22-2012, 01:03 AM   #2
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I don't know if it is true, but I have always heard it was a wooden spoon. Each brewer had his spoon that he stired the wort with and it passed on the magic that caused fermentation.

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Old 10-22-2012, 01:30 AM   #3
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I have a brewing book from 1852, it describes yeast as being added as either a brown bitter tasting frothy liquid or placing the yeast into sacks, allowing the liquid to seep out and then adding the dark brown solid that has the odor and taste of cheese to the cooled beer. The author states that the similarity in smell and taste to cheese means that yeast is probably some form of gluten. The author even suggests using wheat flour in the place of yeast though he says this has been unsuccessful.

So, it seems that brewers of this time had access to yeast and pitched it directly but didn't neccesarily understand its exact nature.

Hope this helps.

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Old 10-22-2012, 01:41 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by othevad View Post
Hey guys.

So cool enough and luckily for me, I am able to do my senior seminar/thesis sort of thing on Victorian Era brewing practices. I've done some digging and discovered a lot of stuff about it, but the one question I haven't been able to figure out the answer to is this; what did they use for yeast? Did the people in the late 1800's just do their mash and hope that it would ferment from wild yeasties floating in the air?
Any help on this would be awesome, I have to give a quick preliminary presentation on this in a few days and would like to have this question answered before I present!

thanks muchos.
Dave

What type of course is this? Have you not heard of a fellow named Louis Pasteur? By the late 1800s yeast, its activity in creating fermentation and the effects of unwanted bacteria in spoiling beer was known. Breweries were keeping their own yeast cultures by then, just as they do now.

http://www.pasteurbrewing.com/recipes.html
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:48 AM   #5
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Ringwood yeast is pretty old and I think was used in the 1800's.

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Old 10-22-2012, 09:33 AM   #6
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I think it was "shut up about barklay perkins" blog that also mentioned the burton blow off method. They & the Germans saved/skimmed the krausen (yeast foam) to inocculate each batch.
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawgs47 View Post
I don't know if it is true, but I have always heard it was a wooden spoon. Each brewer had his spoon that he stired the wort with and it passed on the magic that caused fermentation.
This is true, but more of a middle ages thing. "Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England: Women's Work in a Changing World, 1300-1600" by Judith Bennett is a good book that outlines medieval brewing. Written from a feminist perspective however, not that it is a bad thing by any means, the book's main focus is the patriarchal institutions that prevents women from entering large scale commercial brewing enterprises.
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:17 PM   #8
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The Brewing Industry in England, 1700-1830 by Peter Mathias <- also check out this title.

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Old 10-22-2012, 02:21 PM   #9
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Country House Brewing in England, 1500-1900 by Pamela Sambrook <- Here's another one.

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Old 10-22-2012, 05:58 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the responses guys. I've found a great deal of info in the stuff you have provided.
I did know about Pasteur, but I hadn't really found how they were controlling the yeast/having brewhouse strains much like they do today.
The biggest thing I was trying to get under my belt was that coupled with sanitation practices if there were any.
I know that there was a huge deal with spoiled beer, still looking through all the stuff for more info.

The presentation is actually for a seminar on Victorian era London. We could pick any subject that related to the era, so I came up with the idea of doing
Brewing since I have a vested interest in that =P My prof. was excited about it and I even bribed him with a homebrew or 3 haha.
thanks again. lemme know if anyone else has anything else as I dig through all this material .

Dave

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