Category Archives: Malt

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

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.



Due to all our new developments in the warehouse and production plant we have stumbled across a few stock items that are either obsolete or are nearing or past their best before date but still have good activity.

Yeast Quantity Best Before Price per pack
Mauri AWRI 1503 500g May-17 £23.44
Mauri Lager 497 500g Feb-17 £4.50
Munich Wheat Yeast 500g May-17 £30.56
Safspirit Malt Whiskey 500g Mar-17 £22.59
Safspirit American Whiskey 500g Jan-18 £21.19
Safspirit Fruit 500g May-17 £19.70
Safspirit Grain 500g Apr-17 £21.66

If you are interested in any of the above products please contact:





Torrified – 600kg

Flagon – 800kg

Lager – 175kg

Spring Malt – 600 kg

Torrified Wheat – 950 kg


Whats the catch? – It’s  year out of date.

Please be aware of the carriage costs.

If you are interested please do not hesitate to contact Frances Maud on or the sales line : 01159780111