Category Archives: Carrageenan

Wort’ The Risk

Additions to the Kettle – Safety Tips

As we know brewing is a fantastic industry with great people, art, science, creativity and flavour! Additions towards the end of the boil can include; flavoursome late hops, the all-important Protafloc, yeast nutrients and a wide range of sugars spices and speciality ingredients.

However, with any process involving vast quantities of boiling sugary liquid there are risks and it is worth taking some time to give some tips from our team’s collective experiences to make kettle additions as safe as possible.

There are a vast array of brew-kettle designs out there, so this is not an exhaustive list, but it should cover some of the keys points should you have to make additions through the manway door. Feel free to post any further insights you feel are valid.

  1. Make sure the heat source is off! This seems like an obvious one but with the hectic brewing schedules and multi-tasking that can go on in a brewery it is easily done on manual kits with no lock out protection.
  2. Linked to the one above, ensure that leaks or faulty valves do not make you think you have turned off the heat source when you haven’t.
  3. Staff Training, structured procedures, working instructions and relevant safety equipment. This not only helps protect the people in the brewery but also the business if an accident were to happen.
  4. Clean chimney flue, free of blockages!
  5. If possible mixing/agitation to prevent “heat pockets” these can be disturbed by the additions, leading to a boil over.
  6. Regular cleaning of the element: This should prevent uneven heating which can produce boil over issues, alongside which it’ll also save you a bit of money through greater energy efficiency and have wort beer quality benefits.
  7. Antifoam: As the name suggests using this will reduce the likelihood of bubbles forming leading to extra capacity, better hop utilisation, easier cleaning and counter intuitively better final beer foam as foam positive proteins are not wasted upstream in the process. This should not be relied upon by itself as a safety measure as the safety benefits are offset by the use of the extra capacity.
  8. Sacrificial/test additions: A small amount say 10% of the total additions can be added to reduce the severity of nucleation affects. The rest can be even added in small stages if required.
  9. Having an escape route! If a boil over was to happen, keeping access free and visible so that everyone can get out of the way.
  10. Sharing information and best practise with other brewers. Learning from mistakes is very powerful and being open and honest about accidents & near misses may very well help protect a brewer in the future

Author: Adam Johnson 

Headline image courtesy of the Younger Members Network – Institute of Brewing and Distilling.

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.

FREE kettle, isinglass and auxiliary fining optimisations if you purchase our clarification products plus free liquor analysis, if you purchase our liquor treatments.

Our products and services help the brewing industry to help control their processes, minimise losses, maximise yields and to help run a more efficient brewery. Our unique selling point is that each product is backed up with free technical support.

Our friendly team of brewing experts offer services which give advice with all types of brewers’ problems. Our laboratory offers free kettle, isinglass and auxiliary fining optimisations if you purchase our clarification products plus free liquor analysis, if you purchase our liquor treatments.

dwb 1Liquor Treatments

Liquor treatments are vitally important to the brewing process. By converting your water supply into acceptable brewing liquor you will gain many benefits such as controlling your alkalinity, enabling optimum pH levels throughout the process which improves enzyme activity, extract yield, fermentability, clarity and stability.

Send in 30-50ml sample of your liquor to our laboratory with a cover letter, we will email you an analysis of your ions and recommend water treatments. Remember this service is free of charge for those who purchase our liquor treatments and you can have your water tested annually.

For more information regarding liquor treatments, why don’t you read the following article:

http://www.murphyandson.co.uk/murphyandson/water.html

akaClarification products

For customers who purchase our kettle fining, to obtain a precise dosage rate please send in 1 litre of your unfined wort to our laboratory.

For Isinglass and Auxiliary optimisations please send in 1 litre of your unfined beer.

All sample must be in plastic containers, fully labelled and accompanied by a cover letter with full contact details.

Please find the following article regarding clarification in beer:

http://www.murphyandson.co.uk/murphyandson/all-bright.html

Murphy and Son Ltd
Laboratory
Alpine Street
Old Basford
NG6 0HQ