Category Archives: Brewing

Lager, Lager, Lager

When some very enterprising German brewers decided to store their beer in the frozen Bavarian Alps through the summer time in the early nineteenth century, little did they know of the impact there new “Lager” creation would have on the world of beer.  Some of these brewers were so moved by the potential of this wonderous brew that they started to leave their Bavarian breweries to spread the word around Europe and refine this new brewing art.  Many on the continent were so moved by the potential of Lager and the Lagering technique that many brewing enterprises started making related products of their own giving rise to styles like the Red Lagers of Vienna.  Much credit also needs to be given to Bavarian brewer Josef Groll who, in 1842, took the brave step of heading to a little-known brewing town called Pilsen in the Czech Republic to try out his new lager recipe.  Following on from this original Pilsner (Pilsner Urquell), innovations and developments in the likes of glass bottle manufacture and refrigeration coupled with a good helping of migration meant lager quickly became a worldwide success.

Lager is as popular as ever and whether its Pilsner, Helles, Vienna Lager or Schwarzbier you are considering brewing, Murphy and Son is the place for everything you need for a flavoursome quality lager.

Liquor Treatment

Our much treasured, annual free of charge liquor analysis now includes a suggested liquor treatment for lager style beers as standard.  If you have not had you liquor checked for a while and you are a Murphys customer please send 50ml of untreated water to our lab for us to check out for you.

Our suggested lager treatment aims for a brewing liquor with adequate calcium for good brewing enzyme activity, yeast flocculation and oxalate and protein precipitation whilst mimicking the low sulphate and chloride levels of Munich and Pilsen for a crisp, light flavour.  This is best achieved with suitable additions of lactic acid to reduce alkalinity with low levels of calcium sulphate and calcium chloride to increase calcium ions.


Our new closer ties with Simpsons Malt means that we now have in stock ready for dispatch Finest Lager Malt (crushed).  This highest quality malt is slightly higher in Total Nitrogen and slightly under-modified so head / foam and mouthfeel will survive the lagering process. To add to this quality base malt, we can also supply a range of crystal malts, caramalt, wheat malt and Vienna malt (all crushed) direct from our warehouse.


Whether you are looking for traditional varieties of Noble Czech Saaz and German Hallertau hops, or looking to add a dry hop twist to your brew with new world hop pellets, we are very proud of our close relationship with Charles Faram which means we can supply the best hops around to suit your requirements.


On the dried yeast front we are pleased to hold stock of Lallemand Diamond Lager Yeast and three different Fermentis Lager Yeasts.  We also supply wet yeast cultures from the National Collection of Yeast Cultures (NCYC) which houses a vast range of lager strains originating from all over the world which can add the precise character you are looking for.

Flavour control

Diacetyl and Sulphur flavours can be problematic in lagers to help keep things under control we have the perfect products to help.

When added to wort at the start of fermentation, the enzyme Alpha Acetolactate Decarboxylate (ALDC) acts on the diacetyl precursor alpha acetolactate converting it to acetoin.  If alpha acetolactate is not present diacetyl can’t be formed so no buttery off flavours in your beer and conditioning time can be reduced.

To help keep sulphur off flavours out of your beer, Murphys have developed two zetolite products for the job.  Zetolite 65, when added to wort at the start of fermentation will prevent the formation of sulphur off flavours whilst if you notice the undesirable sulphurous aromas in your fermented product, the addition of Zetolite 63 will stimulate your yeast to reduce H2S and DMS aromas during maturation.

Don’t forget…

…an exuberant bright appearance is important with lagers and at Murphys we carry a huge range of finings and stabilisers to help achieve the desirable crisp look from brewers clarex to Super F, Silica and PVPP products, the Murphys Technical team is on hand to get this just right for you.  PGA is also a handy product to help achieve a perfect looking head on dispense.

For further information on any of the products discussed or for general advice and trouble-shooting with lager brewing please contact the Murphys Technical Team.

We Sell Key Kegs!!!!

Author: Iain Kenny, Technical Sales Representative, Murphy & Son Ltd

Contact the technical team on

Murphy Training Days 2018

We are happy to announce the dates and initial details of our training days for 2018!

Murphy Training Days take place between 9.30am and 4.30pm, cost £95 +VAT and include lunch, with a maximum of 15 places available on each. In addition to which, each delegate will receive a USB containing the presentations from the day and a certificate.

All our training takes place at our historic Prince of Wales Brewery site in Nottingham and offers the opportunity to discuss and learn more about a particular element of the brewing process with members of our technical team. Murphy Training Days are pitched at a beginner to intermediate level and designed for those looking to expand or refresh their brewing knowledge, with opportunity for questions and in-depth discussion throughout.

To check availability and reserve your place, please email and include the training date(s) you’re interested in, your email address, full name, brewery name and a contact number (as relevant).

Once booked you will receive a confirmation email and be contacted by a member of our Customer Service Team to organise payment. Closer to the date we will circulate a detailed agenda for the day and all the logistical information you might require, but please don’t hesitate to send a question our way should you have one in the meantime.


AVAILABLE DATES: Thursday 22nd February or Thursday 26th July 2018.
Led by Master Brewer and Technical Sales Representative Nick Brading.

This course will cover liquor composition and effect on stability, brewhouse control, carrageenan, isinglass and auxiliary finings. The training will also delve into the importance of stable beer in cask preparation and small pack production. Providing all the basics needed to brew quality beer with confidence.


AVAILABLE DATES: Thursday 22nd March or Thursday 30th August 2018.
Led by Technical Brewer and Technical Sales Representative Adam Johnson.

There is no beer without yeast! Our yeast training provides an introduction to this vital microorganism, options available to the modern brewer and a guide to using and handling yeast in the brewery. This will provide a general overview as well as a more in depth discussion of the fermentation process, handling live yeast, maintenance and microbiology and last but most certainly not least, brewery hygiene.


AVAILABLE DATES: Thursday 26th April or Thursday 27th September 2018.
Led by Master Brewer and Technical Manager Richard Haywood.

The day will include an examination of water analysis and its impact on beer quality, from core principles to specialist analysis and application. After this the team will focus on the application of chemistry and microbiological testing methods in the brewery, and finally, a demonstration of how to perform a finings optimisation. Come away with the skills to create consistent beer with confidence.

This training features practical activities in our lab, so is limited to a maximum of 10 attendees only.


AVAILABLE DATES: Thursday 24th May or Thursday 25th October 2018.
Led by Master Brewer and Technical Manager Richard Haywood.

This days training will provide an overview of a Quality Management System, thus arming the brewer ready for their initial foray with the subject. Also covered will be HACCP, due diligence programs and last but not least, SALSA and legal requirements. Come armed with your questions, as they’ll be lots of time to discuss and answer these throughout.


AVAILABLE DATES: Thursday 28th June or Thursday 29th November 2018.
Led by Technical Brewer and Technical Sales Representative Iain Kenny.

The day looks at the central role of stable beer in keg, can and bottle production and the practical techniques that you can apply to help ensure this. Also covered will be an introduction to the different carbonation, filtration and filling methods available, both as a starting point to begin or an aid to refine in-house production. Advice on selecting the right contract packager and further insight from the team at Applied Minerals will also feature.

If you require that we come to you and/or tailor the day to your particular requirements, then we recommend you request a Murphy Master Class. Our master classes range from a presentation to your staff at your brewery on any of the subjects featured in our training, right through to a full days walk through and detailed assessment of your process. Simply email to find out more.

What should you expect from this year’s malt specifications?

We’ve been discussing the expected malt specifications for the coming year with our malt suppliers and wanted to feed back so you can prepare and tweak your recipes as required.

The malt nitrogens coming into breweries with the new seasons malt are likely to be higher than usual, at around 1.7%. The winters are not expected to be quite as high, but are still above average, predicted at up to 1.5%. This is a result of environmental factors, as last year saw low rainfall which made it harder for the barley to establish properly. Blame the British weather, it’s a national habit and we brewers are no different. You can however, prepare for this and if you need any technical support in doing so, we’re always on hand. The key implications revolve around your use of copper and auxiliary finings, the rates of which will need to be reoptimised once malt is in breweries and will likely increase. You can expect to see the first malts of this harvest in breweries across the country from mid-February onwards.

Could do with a bit more information on the matter? No problem!

It starts with the farmers, who sow different varieties of malting barley in autumn and early winter, known as “winters” and again in spring, known as “springs”, both of which are harvested from early July onwards. The latter are becoming more popular as they tend to be easier to grow but do require more fertiliser to get a decent yield by harvest time. Winters don’t require as much fertiliser making them cheaper for the farmer but extract value to the brewer tends to be less.

In brewing, we refer to the percentage of protein present in the malt as percentage nitrogen, it is quoted on malt analyses and used as a price guide and quality indicator. For example, feed barleys have a high protein content to feed the animals. Brewers however, want nitrogens to be lower, at around 1.4-1.5%. This provides enough yeast growth, flavour and beer foam without any substantial problems with haze, stability and excess yeast growth, above these levels and the later can become an issue. There is therefore, always a focus on this parameter at harvest and purchase time.

How come the percentage nitrogen is predicted as being higher in British malt this year?

The issue is in fact that of last year, where we saw a prolonged dry winter and spring in the main growing regions of the UK, resulting in crops not establishing well. To help crops along, farmers spread higher amounts of fertiliser which in turn pushed the nitrogens up. This is because the fertiliser is taken up by the growing plant and deposited in the developing ears of corn which are the grains harvested as barley for the malt crop. Had they not done this, the crop may well have failed altogether, something which did happen in a small number of districts resulting in some shortage too. The maltsters work with what they get off the fields, blending barleys to get an overall consistency which they can sell to brewers. However from a brewer’s perspective, with already high nitrogens and a limited supply, the quality of malt coming onto the market is weaker when compared to the previous years’ crop. Therefore, the forecast is less stable beer.

As brewers there are various techniques at our disposal to control protein (nitrogen) in the brewing process, and this is where we at Murphys specialise! Carrageenan and auxiliary finings are both process aids that remove this protein. It follows therefore, that brewers will require more of these products to treat the higher nitrogen malt expected this year. Something which we can support with our optimisation services and technical expertise, provided to you by a team of master brewers. Choosing Murphys will be an invaluable decision in 2018.

Like to perform your own optimisations? We’ve just the kit you need!

The Murphy Copper Finings Optimization Kit, which contains all the equipment required, as well as documentation on how to perform your own optimisations.

Kegging, canning or bottling? Have you considered the benefits of Murphy’s Super F?

Since its launch,  Super F has proven invaluable to many of the top craft breweries worldwide, providing great results for beer produced for keg, can and bottle whether filtered or unfiltered.

What is it?

Super F is a rapid action fining, made using our own special formulation of silicate and polysaccharide for rapid sedimentation.  This unique blend makes Super F effective at fining out yeast as well as being an effective finings agent against potential haze forming colloids like proteins.

How’s it used?

Super F is best added when beer is moved from fermenting vessel to conditioning tank with care taken to ensure good mixing.  It is not a suitable addition for cask conditioned beer and should never be dosed directly to cask.  Action of this fining is quite rapid with excellent results achievable within 48 hours.  Super F packs a real punch so dose rates are low with typical doses 75ml-175ml per hl will achieve great clarity (often less than 1 EBC) and a compact sediment.


The rapid action of Super F will significantly reduce residency time in conditioning / maturation vessel.  When using this product, the load on centrifuges and filters will be significantly reduced due to brighter beer being presented for further processing.  This gives considerable time and money savings per run.

When kegging unfiltered beer, yeast counts and protein content in the product will be lower and more consistent, leading to a more stable product.

Super F is also vegan friendly and is easy to store (just don’t freeze it!) with a shelf-life of 6 months from manufacture date. Furthermore, Super F is also in accordance with German Purity Law (set into force by the German provisional beer law in its current version 9 [6]).

Finings trials

Introducing a new finings regime to any brewery is a big step.  At Murphy and Son, we pride ourselves on our technical support so before any brewer uses this product we ask that they send a representative two litre sample of their beer to our laboratory where our Research and Development Scientist Dr Ruth Newby and the rest of the lab team will set up optimisation trials.  This will give valuable information on haze and sediment levels for different dosages to provide a starting point for trials and additions in the brewery.  As always, our technical sales team will also be on hand to aid and advise on the products use.

Author: Iain Kenny
Technical Sales Representative

For further information or to setup a trial please contact our technical team on

Latest IBD Midlands Young Members Brew Day

Now fully booked…that was quick!

The IBD Midlands section are organising a Young Member’s Brew day at Burton Bridge Brewery in Burton on Tent. A chance to meet new people in the industry and enjoy and fun and educational day!

The aim is to spend a day brewing with Bruce, the owner and head brewer and of course network with other brewers, all at various stages of their careers. There will of course be the traditional beer swap at the end of the day and then a pint and game of skittles in the Burton Bridge Pub to finish, we hasten a guess.

All Young Members are welcome from any section but places are limited so please contact Jane or Liam to reserve your place.

Breakfast and Lunch will be provided by the IBD.

Venue: Burton Bridge Brewery, 24 Bridge Street, Burton on Trent, Staffordshire, DE14 1SY

Date: Saturday 13th January 2018

Time: 7:30am for 8am Mash

Jane Kershaw –
Liam Brown –

We hope you enjoy it!

Happy New Beer!

We all go into the new year with ambitions and resolutions, invent a hangover-free ale being a fine example (we’ll leave you with that one). There really isn’t a better time to share some of our aspirations for the new year and celebrate the triumphs of 2017, so ‘happy new beer’ from us all here at Murphy & Son Ltd!

To kick things off we’ve an incredible company milestone from 2017; the launch of Murphy & Son Inc, which saw us solidify our position in the US market. This is only the start of our expansion into the US and global markets more broadly, something we look forward to reporting back on as our endeavours across the pond develop. For now, we are pleased to announce Murphy & Son Inc. is operational. ‘To infinity and beyond!’

Now for a little closer to home. Our site has seen considerable expansion and investment this year, through the installation of our new reception, chilled warehouse and can wash facility. The new can and IBC washers will allow us to clean 800 cans and 50 IBCs in a day! Something which we’re confident will help improve our returnable drum service and supports our food grade commitments.

Our new warehouse with state-of-the-art racking will allows us to double out storage capacity and provide more temperature controlled storage to improve product quality even further!

We’re proud to promote some changes already being set into motion in our Laboratory too. Lab analysis turnaround times have become an even more central focus for the team, as we know you brewers always want your results yesterday! Plus, in the new year we’re taking this one step further and launching a new range of due diligence packages, which will provide structured ongoing quality assurance.

We’d also like to congratulate two of our laboratory team on achieving their General Certificate in Brewing. Well done Adam Divall and Ruth Newby for expanding the expertise of the Murphy team even further!

With a real sense of growth and innovation gaining momentum in our company in 2017, we go into 2018 enthused and ready to continue providing and expanding upon our first-rate customer service. You, our customers, are the driving force behind all the changes we’re making structurally, so we can ensure better service and quality from our one-stop-shop.

‘Look to the future now, it’s only just begun!’

Finally, we’d also like to congratulate you all on another record breaking year and Christmas period. We’ve experienced first-hand your dedication, the incredible batch sizes and the growth of breweries from new kids on the block to established brands. It’s an incredible time to be part of the industry and we’re proud to be at the centre of it working to support each and every one of you, as we have been for 130 years.

In 2018 we’re committed to continuing to improve our service and range so that you can ensure excellence in your brew. Any feedback for us or new year’s resolutions you’d recommend, let us know via or call us for a chat on 0115 978 5494.

We leave you with a quote from British wordsmith himself William Shakespeare…

‘For a quart of Ale is a dish for a King.’


The Murphy & Son Team


Graeme Hall B.Sc., Dip. Brew., D.M.S. – Consultancy Corner

We’ve another excellent consultant to introduce to you; Graeme Hall B.Sc., Dip. Brew., D.M.S. of GRH Consultancy, who has taken the time to discuss his extensive experience in the industry for us below.

I have been in the Brewing Industry for over 30 years, and have worked for 4 different breweries and have spent the last 20 years at Frederic Robinsons as Operations and Packaging Manager. So, I have vast knowledge of the requirements to run a Quality Brewing or Packaging operation.

In early 2016 I decided to set up my own Consultancy to help other operations improve their businesses through Continuous Improvement. Something to which I bring the experience of successfully having been through and passed numerous BRC, SALSA, Tesco and M&S audits with my time at Robinsons.

At Robinsons I was responsible for the processing (cold conditioning, stabilising and filtration) and either Bottling, Cask Racking or Kegging (including Petainers) of over 400 products from approximately 60 breweries. In my time there, I was involved in, and latterly lead, the project teams that replaced every piece on bottling equipment in the Bottling Hall, installed and commissioned 19 tanks with SCADA control, installed an in line Cask Washer and 5 head Racker. I purchased a Keg Washer, labeller and keg seal applicators as well as the Petainer filler. This has provided me with invaluable experience I now apply to my consultancy work.

I received a Distinction in my HACCP Level 3 assessment in 2016 and I Passed the IOSH Managing Safety course in 2015​. In 2013 I was fortunate enough to become Chairman of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD) – Great Northern Section. I am a Judge on the SIBA Beer Ex Finals Panel​. In 2017 I became a lecturer at Brew School in Bakewell and was invited onto the IBD Board of Examiners for the Packaging Diploma. I also became an auditor for SIBA for the FSQ audit. My experience is considerable and my commitment to the industry total.

The services I offer include preparing a bespoke HACCP plan for your brewery or packaging operation that if continued correctly will be acceptable not only as a legal requirement to produce safe beer or cider but also to go some way to be accredited to SIBA FSQ, SALSA and BRC.

The HACCP plan will include bespoke Flow Diagram, Hazard Analysis, Risk Assessment, Standard Operating Procedures for CCPs, Training matrix and CCP control documentation.

A basic training of HACCP for your bespoke operation will then be given to the team members.

Learn more at my website

or follow me on Twitter @GRHConsultancy

The latest from Lallemand!

Can I purchase LalBrew New England East Coast Ale Yeast or WildBrew Sour Pitch from Murphy & Son? The answer is yes! Interested? Please email or call 0115 978 5494 for prices, advice and availability.

So, what can you expect from these two Lallemand latest? The newest kid on the block is LalBrew New England, officially unveiled yesterday (Nov 13th ’17) and it’s an innovation that’s already causing a stir!

The LalBrew New England is a ready-to-use dried strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae which has been selected for its specific ability to allow hop flavours to remain prominent while also providing the fruity notes championed by the ‘East Coast’ style. The ‘East Coast’ style is a sister style to its West Coast counterpart, but with yeast that naturally produces fruity aromas. An ale with a mixed bouquet of fruit and hops on the nose and when tasted, which is sometimes brewed cloudy and sometimes not.

As we’ve already said, Lalbrew New England is causing quite a stir, the Murphy sales team have already received enquiries and that’s before its official release! In fact, this new yeast has been produced in reaction to a number of customer requests, hence our confidence in its relevance and popularity. It’s also been seen very favourably in the trials executed by several breweries. Like to trial this yourself? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Want the specifics?
Click here for the Lalbrew New England Technical Data Sheet

LalBrew New England isn’t the only innovation we’ve seen from Lallemand recently. The first product in the new WildBrew line, Sour Pitch, has also been making heads turn. A zesty addition to your brew style.

WildBrew Sour Pitch, is a ready-to-use dried bacteria. A strain of Lactobacillus plantarum specifically selected for its ability to produce a wide range of sour beer styles. Some of the styles you can brew with Sour Pitch include, Berliner Weisse, Gose, Lambic, American Wild and Sour IPA. In addition to which, if you choose Sour Pitch when brewing your sour beer style of choice, you can ensure unmatched consistency, effortless application, fully assured performance and unparalleled purity!

What’s the brewing industry reaction? Several breweries around the world have executed highly successful pilot brewing trials with Sour Pitch, the results of which have been overwhelming positive. Pair this with the huge buzz we’ve seen in the industry around Sour Pitch since its release at Drinktec 2017 and it’s undeniable that everyone is looking to try it, or rather “unlock their sour potential”.

Finally, WildBrew Sour Pitch has been designed to assist creativity in brewing, but here are a few tips for its application. The ideal temperature for inoculation of WildBrew Sour Pitch is: 35-38C (95-100.5F) optimal but 30-40C (86-104F) will result in effective souring and the recommended inoculation rate is 10g/hL.

Want the specifics?
Click here for the WildBrew Sour Pitch Technical Data Sheet


Originally, brewing started up in areas where the water supply was suitable for the production of beer, but with the wide geographical spread of modern breweries and modern supply systems, the water available to the brewer can be at best variable and at worst quite unsuitable. The natural water in areas such as Burton-upon-Trent proved excellent for production of bitter ale beers and many brewers will now treat their incoming supply to adjust pH and salts content to emulate Burton water. Where dissolved salt levels are low, it is usually sufficient to make up the concentrations to the desired levels. The most important ions are calcium (Ca++), sulphate (SO4–), bicarbonate (HCO3-), and to a lesser extent magnesium (Mg++), and chloride (Cl-).

Calcium is a very important constituent and performs a number of functions:-

  • Decreases the pH during mashing and wort boiling, favouring enzyme activity
  • Promotes the precipitation of unwanted proteins in the kettle, hop back or whirlpool
  • Promotes yeast flocculation at the end of fermentation
  • Promotes head retention on beer
  • Reacts with oxalate to form an insoluble salt, preventing gushing in beer

Sulphate is added to give beer a drier and more bitter effect

Bicarbonate has the opposite effect to calcium in that it causes an increase in pH, so reducing the desirable effects of calcium

Magnesium levels are typically rather lower than calcium and in addition its salts are more soluble,
so it has less effect on pH and flavour than calcium

High chloride concentrations are not usually found in water; its addition can impart palate fullness

Both temporary and permanent hardness can be treated using acidic products

The presence of calcium or magnesium ions in water gives rise to hardness, the familiar effect of which is to diminish or prevent the formation of soap lather. Calcium (or magnesium) bicarbonate in water is termed temporary hardness, so called because it can be removed simply by boiling the water and precipitating insoluble carbonate together with the evolution of carbon dioxide. Calcium or magnesium salts other than bicarbonates, typically sulphates or chlorides, are termed permanent hardness because they cannot be removed by boiling. Instead, other treatments such as sequestering, ion exchange are used.

Acid Treatment
This is now the most widely used method, for a number of reasons:-

  • It is relatively inexpensive
  • It is easy to use and does not produce sludge in the hot liquor tank
  • Products such as AMS will add desirable anions, sulphate and chloride
  • It can be achieved by using products such as Phosphoric Acid or Lactic Acid if no anions arewanted – for example in lager beers

It is essential to rouse the liquor when acid treating in order to encourage the removal of the carbon dioxide. This can have corrosive effects on the materials of construction of hot liquor tanks if left in solution.

Don’t miss out, join us for drinktec 2017!

Drinktec 2017, 11th to 15th September, Munich
Visit us at stand 217 – hall B1

There’s a buzz in the air, and we here at Murphy & Son are thrilled to be a part of it. Yep, it’s not long until drinktec 2017, are you going? We look forward to seeing you there!

Drinktec is the world’s leading trade fair for the beverage and liquid food industry; attended by manufacturers from across the world, who come together to meet with suppliers and distributors, and generally expand all areas of their network.

With a real sense of growth and innovation gaining momentum in our company this year, the opportunities of drinktec feel all the more valuable and exciting. We look forward to seeing many friends and building new commercial relationships across the industry in Munich.

Drinktec has been held by Messe Muenchen in Munich since 1951, and the four-year event cycle we know today was introduced in 1985. It is expected that approximately 1,600 exhibitors and 70,000 visitors will attend drinktec 2017, occupying 14 exhibition halls, totalling 150,000 square meters!

But, what can you expect from the Murphy & Son Ltd stand at this year’s show?

At the heart of our drinktec venture is our philosophy of quality, consistency and support.

  • Learn about our extensive range of products, formulated and manufactured to improve the quality of your brew.
  • Expand your knowledge of the methods that will ensure consistency across your production line, every time you brew.
  • Talk with our technical team of Master Brewers, here to support you every step of the way and answer any queries, big or small.

We couldn’t be more proud of our 130-year history as manufacturers and experts within the brewing industry, as part of a global and passionate community looking forward to another 130 years of great brews. We would like to thank Black Sheep Brewery, Nick Stafford’s Hambleton Ales, Rooster’s Brewing Co, Theakston Brewery, Tiny Rebel, Wild Beer Co and Wold Top Brewery for supporting our stand with samples this year. So, we hope you’ll join us for a beer as you investigate drinktec 2017.

Drinktec 2017: The entire world of brewing expertise