The economics of brewing
Steps to beer brewing

Technological Charges in Brewing

Technological Charges in Brewing

Technological Charges in Brewing

Steam Power

Steam boiler

Although useful steam engines for mining were developed about 1700,the brewing industry had to wait until the improvements of James Watt and others made them practical for such work.The first steam engine installed in a brewery was in 1784 in London.Steam replaced manual,water,and horsepower for many tasks and made brewing on a large industrial scale possible.

The Thermometer

Although the technology had been around for some time,it was Gabriel Fahrenheit who created the first mercury thermometer and standardized scale.The Celsius scale was devised in 1742.James Baverstock was the first brewer to seriously investigate the use of a thermometer,but he had to hide his efforts from his conservative family,who opposed “newfangled ideas.”

Michael Combrune wrote the brewing text (1784) detailing its use.The thermometer allowed for a good deal more consistency than the empirical methods in use,and allowed detailed research into the dynamics of brewing procedures.

The Hydrometer

This is an instrument that measures specific gravity and is used to measure the amount of sugar and other dissolved solids in beer wort(the sweet liquid drained from the mash that is fermented to make beer).In 1785,John Richardson wrote the first brewing book detailing brewing measurements made with the hydrometer,which had huge implications for the way beer was brewed and brewing dark,sweet,heavy ales.The new-style pale beer was called “amber”or”twopenny,”and it was one of the beers commonly used in the blends.

So the public’s growing appetite for a crisper, hoppier taste was another factor that drove the creation of porter.Whatever the reason,the new hoppy brown beer was a huge craze aided by new technologies fueling the largest breweries the world had ever known.By 1796, Whitbread alone was brewing 202,000 thirty-six-gallon barrels a year; combined, London porter breweries brewed1, 200,000 barrels in 1810.


At that time it took more money to finance a brewery than any other business except a bank.This new industrial scale is important, because it increased pressure on brewers to find efficiencies that had been insignificant in a smaller setting.In a competitive market,businesses live and die by these efficiencies,but as breweries strive to get the most for the least,the customer doesn’t always benefit.The brewing texts are full of wistful quotes telling us how much better the beer was in the good old days.

Some of this is simply nostalgia,of course,but if you look at the recipes,changes over time are rarely done with the aim of making the beer taste better.While the particulars of the rise of pale ale are fascinating enough(and will be dis-cussed in chapter 9),they were very much a more than any other technology changed the way beer actually tasted by forcing brewers to formulate their recipes with yield in mind.

Yeast and Fermentation

The Dutch microscopist Anton Van Leeuwenhoek first observed and described yeast cells,but their living nature was revealed by three different scientists independently from around 1834 to1835.Building on the groundbreaking work of Louis Pasteur,Christian Emil Hansen produced the first single-cell culture-as opposed to a mixed-brewing culture.

This approach spread slowly,but by the mid-twentieth century,this was the norm.Single-cell cultures make for a more consistent and on average better beer.However,many lamented the abandonment of more complex,mixed-culture fermentations even as they acknowledged the necessity of doing so.



This was a culmination of centuries of work by various luminaries.American Alexander Twining is credited with creating the first commercial refrigeration unit in 1859.German engineer Carlvon Linde’s advanced dimethyl ether refrigeration machines were installed in the Spaten brewery in 1873.

Refrigeration offered an obvious benefit over ice cut from frozen rivers and lakes-until then the only form of cooling available.Not only were the logistics complicated,but natural ice was becoming a health hazard,a result of pollution of the waterways.By 1890,artificial refrigeration was the norm for large-scale brewing everywhere.

Malt Kilning

Over time,there was a gradual transition from direct-fired,wood-fueled kilns to indirectly heated kilns fueled by coal,coke,or other fuels.By 1700,most brewers had switched to smoke-free malts,although brown malt continued to be kilned by crackling hot wood fires into the mid-twentieth century(of course,smoked beers are today a specialty item in Bamberg,Germany).

The most dramatic invention relative to malt kilning was the cylindrical roaster patented by Daniel Wheeler in 1817 that used a cooling spray to stop roasting before the grain caught fire;this device forever changed the brewing and flavor of porter and stout,as a small amount of this much darker malt was more economical than the large amounts of brown and amber malts used previously.Crystal caramel malt was a much later development,around 1870.