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The utensils must be large in proportion to the extent of the brewing to be carried on; in most families that point is determined by the size of the washing copper. For two kinds of beer, namely, nine gallons of one sort (ale), and nine gallons of another sort (table beer), the capacity of the copper should not be less than thirteen gallons. The size of the tub should not be less than thirteen gallons. The size of the tub must be adapted to mash only twice, its capacity should be eighteen gallons; it ought to be narrower at top than at bottom. Two-thirds parts of any broad-bottomed cask will do very well for carrying on the operations of mashing in the small way. A metal cock is preferable to a wooden.

For coolers, common washing-tubs will do tolerably well. For each firkin (nine gallons) of liquor to be brewed (containing ale and beer together), let these tubs contain on the whole fourteen gallons; if the number can be conveniently increased, it will expedite the cooling process. For a brewing of eighteen gallons, whether of the same or different liquors, one sixteen and one twelve-gallon tub are required, the larger tub being intended to serve in the three-fold capacity of receiver, cooler, and gyle-tun. The tub intended to serve as underback, or receiver of the running wort from the mash-tub, ought to have its capacity divided into gallons; it may be done by notches cut in the surface, or small nails driven into the wood. A few pails should also be ready at hand. A gyle-tun ought properly to be narrow in proportion to its depth; but a cask of any shape, simply deprived of its head, allowing fifteen gallons capacity for every nine gallons of liquor intended to be suffered to ferment in it, will do very well. A common thermometer, with a metal scale, enclosed in a tin case, should be provided to ascertain the temperature of the water; but if there should not be one at hand, heat 220 measures, gallons or quarts, of water, according to the quantity required, and, when it boils, add 100 similar measures of water.  

Barrels of eighteen gallons capacity are most convenient and economical for strong beer.

Cleanliness cannot be too much attended to in the brewing process. Some days before brewing, all the casks and tubs should be filled with water, to tender them tight; and, after the brewing utensils are made use of, they should be thoroughly washed out: during the summer, the vessels may be scoured with lime water; and the copper ought to be kept especially clean. The moment a cask is empty, fasten down the vent peg, and stop the tap-hole with a cork well fitted and hammered into its place.

Pale-coloured malt is preferable to amber-coloured malt; if it be new, it should be left exposed to the open air one or two days after grinding, before it is used; if old, it should be ground the one day and used the next. When it is ground too finely, it clogs the mash, and impedes the draining of the wort; but every grain should be bruised. When economy is an object, a quantity of molasses or muscovado sugar may be substituted for a portion of the malt; 12 lbs. of molasses, or 10 lbs. of sugar, are equal to one bushel of malt; when used, it may be dissolved in the water employed for this second and third mashing. Farnham hops are esteemed the best; Nottinghamshire, termed Northclay hops, have a rank flavour in beer newly brewed, and should therefore only be used for strong keeping beers. Worcester hops have a flavour peculiarly mild and delicate.

Yeast produced from the fermentation of strong ale or porter is the best.

Quantity of ale or table beer to be brewed from a given quantity of malt and hops: -

From a quarter of malt may be brewed 72 gallons of ale, or 144 of table-beer; or 27 of ale, and 90 of table-beer. In mashing, the quantity of water employed must exceed the beer required in the proportion of six gallons to every bushel; three will be left in the goods, and the other three evaporated in the boiling, cooling, and working. The wort may be all mixed together in the gyle-tun; or, if strong ale be required, the first and second may be fermented separately from the third, which will be small beer. If the strong ale be desired particularly fine, the second and third may be fermented together, or each mashing may be kept separate; the first for strong ale, the second for keeping beer, and the third small beer for immediate use.

If the beer be not intended for keeping, one bushel of malt and ten ounces of hops will produce 12 gallons of common or table-ale; and ale brewers allow one measure of such ale to be equal to two of small beer. From one bushel of malt, therefore, may be brewed 24 gallons of table-beer, without any table-ale; or nine gallons of ale, and six of table-beer; or six of ale, and twelve of table-beer. This is the smallest quantity of malt that should be employed for keeping, it is advisable to allow six bushels (a boll) of pale malt to brew a hogshead (54 gallons) of good ale. The quantity of hops must be suited to the taste of the consumers; for those who do not like the strong flavour of the hop, two pounds in winter and three in summer may be allowed to the boll.

The mashing is done by two, three, and sometimes four infusions of hot water. The degree of heat depends on the combination of so many circumstances, that it cannot be fixed by any certain rule. When too hot, it forms the malt into a pulp or paste, so that it will not run out of the mash-tun, and the liquor will neither produce wort of good quality, nor in any considerable quantity. This is more particularly the case when the malt is low ground, that is, fine. When the water is of too low a heat, the beer will be spiritless, and liable to turn sour. A large quantity is mashed at a lower heat than a small; and when beer is intended for keeping, the water should be of a higher temperature. Well-made malt may be mashed at the highest heat; the extremes may be stated at 145° and 190° of Fahrenheit.

The first mash stands longer, and is taken at a lower heat, than the second, which again bears the same relation to the third. If the goods be glutinous, a longer time will be required for spending the tap, as the drawing off the wort is called. After it is drawn off, it should be boiled as soon as possible.

When the process of mashing commences, pour into the mash-tun four gallons of boiling water every peck of malt to be employed; if the copper is not sufficiently capacious, boil the remaining quantity of water as quickly as possible, and add it to the mash. When the water has cooled down to the temperature of, say 170°, let one person gradually pour the malt into the tun, while another stirs and mixes it well with the water, which will occupy half an hour at least; then cover up the tun with blankets, carpets, or whatever else is ready at hand. The usual mode of covering with a cap of grist is a waste of malt. When the mash has stood one hour and a half in winter, and one hour in summer, let the wort run off into the vessel destined to receive it, returning the first gallon, which may be thick, to the mash. While this mash is preparing, let the copper be again filled with water for the second mash, for which two gallons of water may be employed for every peck. Let it be poured on the malt by one person, while another plies the oar for half an hour; after it has stood an hour, draw it off; if it be intended to brew only one kind of liquor, the second wort may run  into the receiver containing the first wort. The third mash should be made with the remaining quantity of water, and may stand three quarters of an hour. The grist may be mashed in two operations; but it is always preferable to make three mashes.

To boil the wort. – Put along with the first ale wort (supposing it to have been kept separate for the purpose of brewing ale - the whole quantity of hops into the copper; boil the mixture till the liquor breaks, or becomes clouded with large fleecy flakes. This will take place probably when the wort has been boiled about an hour and a half; the breaking or curdling is best observed by taking a basinful of the wort out of the copper, and suffering it to cool, when the flakes will be distinctly seen in the wort. The tubs having been raised on a support from the floor, and arranged for the cooling process, strain the boiled liquor into them through a riddle or flour sieve; put the hops back into the copper, and boil them again with the second and third wort. The cooling of the boiled wort should be effected with the utmost expedition; in summer it should not, if possible, be laid at a greater depth then three inches; in winter five; and the coolers so disposed that the temperature of the whole may be the same.

When it has become milk-warm, or from 62° to 65° Fahrenheit, strain it through a sieve which has a cloth laid over it, pour the whole into the gyle-tun (for which the mash-tun may be used, after being cleared out and rinsed with water), add the east, and, having covered up the vessel, let it stand in a moderately warm place. When the heat of the atmosphere is more than 60°, the cool of the night must be chosen to put the beer to work. In lower degrees of the atmosphere, when the air is at 50°, the beer may be set to work at 50°. It should rather be set at too low than too high a temperature. A greater proportion of yeast is required in winter than in summer; and beer intended to be kept ten or twelve months will not require so much as that which is to be used immediately. The extract of one quarter of malt will require if for keeping, six pints when the atmosphere is at 40°, five at 60°, and three at 80°; but, for those who are not disposed to study all these particulars, the proportion is one quart of good stiff yeast to about forty gallons of good strong beer or ale wort, and one pint and a half to the same quantity of small beer wort.

As soon as the yeast is added to the wort, the mixture should be stirred for two or three minutes; it is a good practice to set the yeast to ferment before it is wanted, by diluting it with a portion of lukewarm wort, adding more wort as the fermentation proceeds.

If the fermentation in in gyle-tun be languid and feeble, one or two large stone bottles, filled with hot water, closely corked, may be let down into the tub. The fermentation in the gyle-tun is completed when the head of yeast begins to decline in the middle; or, observe when the head of yeast has well risen, skim it off, and repeat the skimming till no more can be separated. The fermentation of a small quantity of beer is usually completed in two days; after the collected yeast has stood a day, the beer that has separated from it may be returned to the skimmed liquor. When the fermentation has been apparently completed, draw off the fermented liquor from the thick sediment in the fermenting vessel, into clean casks, previously rinsed with boiling water; place them with the bung-holes inclined a little to one side. A slow fermentation will go on, and the same liquor which overflows from the casks may again (having been received in a vessel placed underneath the casks for that purpose) be used for filling up the barrels, along with any kind of beer that is ready at hand: it is of great consequence to keep the casks constantly filled. The fermentation ceases spontaneously in a few days (more or less, in proportion to the heat of the atmosphere), when the casks must be bunged up. If the brewing has been properly conducted, the beer will be clear in fourteen days at farthest; if it be intended to mantle in the glass, it must be bottled off before the insensible fermentation in the cask has ceased, or, at all events, immediately when it has become bright. In warm weather particularly, the casks should be occasionally examined; if a hissing noise is audible at the bung-hole, the spile may be left in loosely till the liquor has become quiet; or, which is better, check the fermentation by repeatedly mopping the cask all over with cold water. The beer being well prepared, remove it to the place where it is to remain for use; when placed in the cellar, the bung must be drawn, and the casks filled up quite full with fine beer, skimming off the head from time to time. After being attended in this manner for a day or two, the casks should be bunged tight, and a hole bored with a gimlet near the bung for the vent peg, which should be left rather slack for a day or two. If it be absolutely necessary to fine the beer by artificial means, it may be done by dissolving a small quantity of isinglass in stale sour beer. Beer, when once in a fit state for use, should not be again agitated. It is only requisite that the cask should be tapped at such a distance from the bottom as to allow the beer, particularly if it be strong beer, to flow clear of that sediment which may have collected at the lower part of the vessel. Strong beer requires to be six weeks in the cask if the quantity be small; half a hogshead, three or four months, before it be bottled; keeping beer about a fortnight, and small beer a week.


For a ten-gallon cask, boil in fourteen gallons of water sixty pounds of mangel-wurzel, which has been well washed and sliced across, putting some kind of weight on the roots to keep them under water; having boiled an hour and a half, they may be taken out, well broken, and all the liquor pressed from the roots; put it, and that in which they were boiled, on again to boil, with four ounces of hops; let them boil about an hour and a half, then cool the liquor, as quickly as possible, to 70° Fahrenheit; strain it through a thick cloth laid over a sieve or drainer; put it into the vat with about six ounces of good yeast, stir it well, cover it, and let it stand twenty-four hours; if the yeast has then well risen, skim it off, and barrel the beer, keeping back the thick sediment. While the fermentation goes on in the cask, it may be filled up the beer left over, or any other kind at hand; when the fermentation ceases, which may be in two or three days, the cask must be bunged up, and in a few days more, the beer may be used from the cask, or bottled.

These small proportions are here given to suit the convenience of the humblest labourer; but the beer will be better made in larger quantities; and its strength may be increased by adding a greater proportion of mangel-wurzel. By this receipt, good keeping table-beer will be obtained.


For a ten-gallon cask allow three ounces of hops, ten pounds of bran, two ounces bruised ginger, four pounds treacle, four ounces good yeast. Boil the hops and ginger in fifteen gallons of water for an hour and a quarter, add the bran, and boil twenty minutes longer; strain the liquor on the treacle; stir the mixture well, and let it stand till it becomes milk-warm, or from 60° to 70° Fahrenheit; then strain it through a thick cloth laid over a riddle or sieve; add four or five ounces of yeast, stir it well, and when cold, put it into the cask; keep filling up the cask till it has done working, which may be in two days. It must then be bunged up, and will be fit for drinking in two days. It will keep good in the cask for ten days or a fortnight – or it may be bottled.

This beer will not be so strong nor so cheap as the mangel-wurzel beer; but being scarcely more than one halfpenny per bottle, and as good as the brewer’s harvest beer, it may be found well worthy the attention of the farmer at a season when mangel-wurzel cannot be procured. The yeast which it affords will be found excellent for baking.

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