« السابقةمتابعة »
our readers will excuse a sparing use of them, and not consider the present an inappropriate time for a review of the whole Licensing System.
Professor Levi (p. 3) tells us, what is tolerably apparent, that · The capital employed in any industry consists partly of what is called fixed capital, viz., land, buildings, machinery, and instruments
, and partly of circulating or floating capital, viz., raw materials, wages, interest of capital, &c.' And he estimates the total fixed capital invested in breweries at 21. per quarter brewed, which accordingly he puts at 12,400,0001. He forgets, however, that not all the malt converted into beer was so converted for purposes of sale; that is, he rather exag. gerates his quantities, not taking into account the item of homebrewed beer, and he also takes the amount actually consumed at too high a figure. This leads us to consider a curious result of improved manufacture.
There are many of us old enough to remember a solemnity which occurred periodically, in spring and in autumn, in the households of our fathers,—the great Dionysiac festival of an English home. If that home was a small and modest one, the high priest of the festival came from without. He was stout, inflammatory, red about the eyes from much watching and frequent beer, husky in the voice, and of a solemn demeanour. If in a town, he lived in the next street, was probably a cooper by trade, and was supposed to understand a deep mystery which ended in the concoction of a liquid of which the household usually expressed the unanimous hope that the next brewing might be better. If the scene of the festival was at a country house, it took place in a sanctuary called the brewhouse, with a butler for pontiff and helpers in the stable as acolytes. There the result was doubtful; sometimes, we are bound to confess, most successful, but always financially disastrous. We have heard a brewer of our acquaintance say that he would wish no more profitable trade than to be allowed to supply the squires with beer identical in quantity and quality with their own, being allowed their own materials as his only payment. But when the result was failure, no professional brewer, however unskilful, could rival the extent of that failure,-mustiness of cask,—the rank bitter produced by the yeast having sunk through the beer in the process of fermentation --fatness, muddiness: we shrink from the description
we shudder at the retrospect. The consequence of these failures has been curious, as our readers will see. Between 1828 and 1869, a period of forty-one years, and nearly corresponding with the time during which the manufacture of beer has deve
loped from rule-of-thumb practice into science, the yearly amount of malt used in brewing for sale has increased in round numbers from 26 to 49 millions of bushels. But between the same dates, the annual amount of malt used in home brewing has decreased from 3} millions to less than one million of bushels; whereas, if home brewing had held its own, nearly seven times that quantity ought to have found its way into the domestic mashtun.
But though the learned Professor may have to some extent exaggerated the fixed capital employed in the actual manufacture, he has certainly understated the value (or what was the value till Mr. Bruce affected the market) of public and beer houses in town and country. He values country public and beer houses at 3001. apiece. Including leases, goodwill, fixtures, and book-debts, we believe that 5001. would be nearer the mark than 3001. ; while 15001., at which he puts their value in London, is certainly not excessive. But, at his own estimate, there being about 140,000 public and beer houses in the kingdom, of which 10,000 are in the metropolis, their value would amount to 54,000,0001., but, at our estimate, to eighty millions of money. To this he adds the value of distilleries, bottle factories, corkcutters' shops, cooperages, and the minor trades attached to them, and he comes to the conclusion that the total amount of capital fixed in these trades is about 75 millions of
money. It is not our object to go into detail on this part of our subject, and we therefore confine ourselves to stating that, in Professor Levi's opinion, about half as much more has to be added for floating capital, including stocks of malt, hops, sugar, beer, wine, spirits, casks, bottles, corks, &c., the value of licenses, and the sums expended in wages; simply observing that he makes no mention of book-debts, which in these trades is usually a very heavy item of charge. We may then conclude that the sum of money invested in the various branches of the Liquor trade is not less than 120 millions sterling.
It will reasonably be asked, What are the processes on which all this vast industry is founded ? to which it may be replied that they are all adaptations of natural results either of vegetable growth or of chemical combination. Few persons, except those whose business it is, know practically what malting, brewing, distilling, and rectifying mean, and we accordingly propose to give a very short and popular account of these processes.
Years ago, we accompanied an aged and somewhat credulous female through a country brewery. There were a good many dark passages and steep flights of steps, b ginning and ending as such affairs generally do, just where one does not expect them.
There were puffs of steam and flavours of sweet-wort and gales of hop odours, and men in white aprons and red faces, and all the usual concomitants of a brewery. The visitor took everything with great com posure; but as she turned to depart, a look of disappointment overspread her countenance, and she said, “But you have not shown me where they put in the poison! We trust our readers will not expect similar disclosures. Even in the trade of a rectifier there are, we believe, no secrets except such as yield to the analysis of the chemist ; and certainly in malting, brewing, and distilling there is nothing required except skill, care, the use of two instruments—the thermometer and hydrometer, or saccharometer as brewers call it, good materials, and good water.
The first thing to be done in the process of malting is to follow Mrs. Glasse's recipe and buy your barley.' In this matter considerable skill and experience are required, and in some markets, knowledge of your customer as well. Some farmers habitually put up' their barley better than others, both in measure and in quality, and part of the maltster's business is to compare the bulk when delivered with the sample, in order that the load, if found not to be up to sample,' may be pitched in its sacks and not shot out upon the heap in the barley chamber. A good barley buyer will by his use of a skilful hand estimate very nearly the weight of the bulk per bushel from the small sample, generally about two handsful, which is offered to him. His eye will tell him whether it has been cut before perfect ripeness, in which case there will be a variety in the colour of the pickles' or barleycorns, some being a bright, and some a dead and greyish yellow.* He will also have to judge whether it has been heated or 'mow-burnt' while lying in the field after being cut, or in the stack after harvest. This is apt to take place when the weather is showery and when the crop of clover, which is usually sown with or after the barley, is luxuriant. In these cases the barley is apt to sprout, and as the process of malting is a process of vegetation which once done cannot be repeated, barley which has already sprouted is useless to the maltster. This tendency, common to all grain, to sprout under conditions of heat and damp, makes it a matter of risk to use foreign barley for malting, as it is liable to heat on the voyage. This risk, however, is constantly run, particularly by the bitter-beer brewers, as the very finest foreign barley is superior to almost all English grain in bright pale yellowness, a quality essential to secure the light colour so much admired in bitter beer.
* Barley, of all grain, is the most liable to ripen in a patchy manner. Being sown in the spring, and not undergoing the equalising tendency of a lowering temperature as wheat does, it is apt to grow in distinct crops, and so to come to perfection not simultaneously.
We need hardly observe that when the sample shows brown or dark grey discoloration it is evident that it has had much rain upon it either before or after cutting, and the experienced buyer will either discard it or use it at a reduced price for porter and such ale as does not require great paleness of colour.
The barley, once deposited in the chamber, and having been screened or passed over an ingeniously-devised sieve, by which all stones, lumps of clay, seeds of charlock and other weeds, very thin kernels of the grain itself, and other extraneous substances are got rid of, is ready to undergo the process of malting. As the malt duty is charged in respect of the bulk of the malt, it is the maltster's, or rather the brewer's interest, that as little extraneous matter and as few husky kernels as possible should come under the exciseman's measuring rod; hence great care is taken to get rid of all useless bulk before any
Excise measurements take place, that is, before malting begins. Now what is malting?
Malting is a process by which grain, usually barley, has the starch of which its flour is composed converted into sugar; the object being to apply that sugar, which is nearly, but not quite, identical with cane sugar, to the manufacture of beer and spirits. This process is carried on under rules laid down by the Excise authorities; but it is only fair to observe that these rules, which admit of considerable divergence in practice, cannot be said in any way to affect injuriously the manufacture of malt. This is carried on in a building called a malt-house or malting, consisting of four parts,—the steep or cistern, the couch, the floor, and the kiln. The barley, being housed in a chamber above, is let down by a shoot into the cistern, which is rectangular in form, and made to hold a certain number of bushels. In the cistern it is mixed with water, and soaks or steeps for a given number of hours. The next step is, after drawing off the water, to throw the wet barley out of this cistern into a frame called the couch, constructed so as to admit of its sides being taken out at pleasure, by which the barley contained in it, having been further drained of its moisture, sinks down into a heap on the cement-covered floor of the malt-house. The couch, like the cistern, is rectangular, having a side of the cistern for one of its sides, the other three sides being formed by boards fitted against moveable uprights so as to be easily shifted. The grain is now fairly set a-growing ; each cisternful of barley, or piece,' as it is called, is kept by itself, laid out on the malt-house floor in a rectangular shape, about a foot thick to begin with, and moved from time to Vol. 131.–No. 262.
time lengthwise of the floor, which is somewhat in shape like the main-deck of a man-of-war, long in proportion to its breadth, and capable of holding four or five separate steepings. These steepings, arranged like asparagus-beds in a garden, are gradually moved to the other end of the malt-house, where the kiln is placed, the place of each steeping being successively taken by that which follows it, an interval of four or five days usually intervening between each time of filling the cistern with dry barley. All this time the process of vegetation has been going on, the roots chipping the husk and appearing as small white prominences at one end of the kernel. Before the sprouting barley has made its journey from one end of the floor to the other, these roots, which are constantly being distributed and prevented from interlacing by the shovel which from time to time shifts and turns the pieces of malt, attain a length of about halfan-inch, while the future stem, starting from the same end of the kernel as the roots, but in an opposite direction, makes its way under the husk towards the other end, where, were it not for the heat of the kiln, it would show a green point and develop into a blade. The maltster likes to see this rudimentary shoot proceed as far as possible along the back of the kernel ; or, as he terms it, likes his malt to be well up in the backs,' as this is a proof that the chemical process going on within is attaining to perfection. When the growing barley has been some fourteen or fifteen days on the floor, and has gradually travelled from one end to the other, it is cast up by shovels on to a wire net-work fine enough to prevent the kernels from passing through, and dried by a fire of anthracite coal, coke, or, in some cases, charcoal, the heat of which passes through the wires. This process kills and dries the rootlets, stops the vegetation, and completes the manufacture. The malt has then only to be screened to get rid of the rootlet which is sold to feed cattle, and it is ready for use.
From malting we turn to brewing. In a previous page we observed that all the processes we are describing are adaptations of natural results; some of vegetable growth, some of chemical change. The process of malting combines both these results. In the course of germination the substance of which the barley-corn is composed has been converted into sugar. The process of brewing is strictly chemical. This sugar is dissolved in water. The solution is first boiled with hops, for flavour and in order to make it keep; it is then fermented, and becomes beer. To make an account of this process intelligible, we must give a short description of the place in which it is carried on—a Brewery. As in most other manufactures, so in brewing, diverse methods are