Tag Archives: calcium

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 techsupport@murphyandson.co.uk

Ideal Winter Fining Products: KOMPACTIKLEER & BREWBRITE



Murphy and Son’s Kompactikleer

As the nights are drawing in and temperatures are dropping, this may be the ideal time to consider trying some of our products that reduce the chances of chill haze. We currently have two products that can be used to replace the existing processing aids that you currently use.

Chill haze occurs when proteins and tannins form loose covalent bonds forcing them from solution into suspension. Cask beer often reached temperatures well below that at which they are served during storage and transport, and chill hazes readily occur.

The use of a Silica hydrogel, or PVPP can help prevent chill haze as these products bind to the dissolved protein or polyphenol removing them from the solution and thus lowering the potential for chill haze.

Polyclar Brewbrite is a kettle fining product that uses both PVPP and carrageenan to bind tannins as well as protein in the copper. Kompactikleer is an isinglass, silica hydrogel blend which binds in haze potential protein the cask.


These products have a proven track record in the UK and the USA.

For more information regarding these products please click on the tech sheets or please contact frances.maud@murphyandson.co.uk

Consultancy Corner – Master Brewer John Bexon



John has worked closely with Murphy’s for over 25 years in his many brewing roles throughout his career. He has always been a great ambassador for Murphy and Son and we have always had a strong working/professional relationship

One of the UK’s leading Master Brewers with almost 40 years’ experience in both large, medium and craft breweries. An accomplished brewing professional, with a Masters Degree in business and trained in microbiology, phytopathology and biochemisty. John has worked at Bass Breweries and also in the Commonwealth Brewing Company, Boston, USA, where he was part of the emerging craft beer revolution. He is most famous for his recent role as Head Brewer at Greene King, which he left to form this consultancy.



You can draw on almost 40 years’ brewing and management experience to help improve your product and your profits. Whether you work for a major brewer or a small craft beer producer, I can make your business better. Helping you with expansion, trouble-shooting and continuous improvement of your operation.



I’ll provide a health-check of your brewing and packaging, advising how you can improve the brewing process. You can buy into the skills needed to design new and novel beers that will set your company apart from its competitors. And if you need to improve the quality of your existing brands, I’m your man!



We work in a fantastic industry! So how come the people who talk technical make beer sound so boring? If you need someone to lecture, inspire or train people, look no further. I can present to brewers, drinkers or suppliers and enthuse them about our business. Use my services to link organisations and remove barriers.

‘John Bexon Consulting’ will provide professional advice on most areas of the the brewing process.
Please click here for a comprehensive list.




A driven professional brewer and manager. A proven track record of departmental, people and process development. Sound communication skills at all business and social levels.

Studied in the University of Hard Knocks at times so takes life with a sense of fun


2.1 MIBiol ; Applied Biology in Microbiology, biochemistry & phytopathology ( plant diseases) 1984 DipMbrew ; Internationally recognised Master Brewer 1989 MBA : Master of Business Administration UCE B’ham 2000


Telephone: 07885 498475 Address: J Bexon Consulting Ltd, 1 Orchard Close, Beyton, Suffolk IP30 9AR Email: john@jbexonconsulting.com http://jbexonconsulting.com/





We are our own stand at Brau this year!!! 1-336 in Hall 1



Every year we have the pleasure of exhibiting at Brau in Germany under the umbrella stand of the Brewing, Food and Beverage Industry suppliers association commonly known as the BFBi, although we will still work closely with the BFBi, this year we have decided to detach ourselves and have our own stand. BRAU Beviale is one of the most important European trade fairs for the production and marketing of beer and soft drinks. The annual industry get-together ensures a successful mixture of an extensive range of beverage raw materials, technologies, logistics and marketing. A really worthwhile event to attend. We shall be exhibiting on stand 1-336 in Hall 1 and the exhibition is to be held from the 10th to the 12 of November, at the Nurnberg Messe, Nuremberg, Germany. If you are attending please feel free to visit or arrange for an appointment.

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:


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:


Murphy and Son Ltd
Alpine Street
Old Basford

Monitoring your pH throughout the process will help contribute to a good extract yield and fermentability.


The pH of the liquor will have little effect on the pH of the wort and beer. Alkalinity and Calcium are more important in pH control.
Once you have established correct levels of these ions it is advisable to follow the guidelines of typical pH measurements in the brewing process shown below. Hand-held pH meters can be purchased from Murphy & Son Ltd for £58.50.
Please be aware that if you purchase our liquor treatments, you may be entitled to free laboratory testing in the lab and free technical support to ensure you use the correct dosage rates.
Please find the following pH values that are typical measurements and are useful as guidelines when monitoring you pH values.

Raw Liquor pH 6.0-8.0
Treated Liquor pH 6.0-8.0
Mash pH 5.2-5.5
1st Runnings pH 4.8-5.2
Last Runnings pH 5.4-5.6
Wort in Copper pH 5.1-5.4
Wort after boil pH 4.9-5.3
Beer after fermentation pH 3.7-4.2

Alkalinity is mainly caused by calcium carbonate and bicarbonate. The alkalinity of your liquor plays a very important role in pH control. It causes high pH values throughout the brewing process. Hydrogen ions are removed from solution, thus wort pH remains high which results in low extract yield; presence of undesirable protein components; worts and beers prone to infection; increased extraction of silicates, polyphenols and tannins during sparge and harsh “after tastes” in the finished beer.

Reduces the pH during mashing and wort boiling which improves enzyme activity. This is achieved by the calcium ions precipitating phosphates present in the wort as insoluble calcium phosphate which in turn releases the hydrogen ions in the wort which reduces the pH.
3Ca2+ + 2HPO42- → Ca3 (PO4)2 ↓ + 2H+
The optimum pH of the enzyme α-amylase is about 5.7 and that of ß-amylase is about 4.7. Therefore an optimum range in the mash of pH 5.2-5.5 promotes the production of sugars from starch thus making worts more fermentable.
Promotes the precipitation of unwanted proteins in the kettle, hop back or whirlpool. Calcium also has an effect on the precipitation of undesirable wort proteins both during mashing and during the boil

Protein – H + Ca2+ → Protein – Ca↓ + 2H+
The hydrogen ions released further reduce the pH which encourages further precipitation of proteins. The reduction of pH then causes protein breakdown by the enzymes present in malt, this reduces protein levels and increases wort Free Amino Nitrogen levels (FAN).
Improves health and vigour of the yeast. This is a result of FAN compounds being utilised by the yeast during fermentation.

  • Improves clarity and stability of the finished product. Reduced protein levels in beers make beer easier to fine and less prone to haze formation, in particular chill haze. The shelf life of the final product is also improved.
  • Calcium ions protect α-amylase enzyme from inhibition by heat. Calcium ions also improve enzyme activity.
  • Reduces the risk of infection. The drop in pH encouraged by Calcium ions in the mash and copper provides a greater resistance to microbiological infection.
  • Reduces extraction of silicates, tannins and polyphenols. These materials contribute to harsh flavours, hazes in the final beer and decreased stability.
  • Reduces beerstone and in some cases prevents gushing in beer. Oxalates derived from the malt contribute to the formation of beerstone and are also thought to promote gushing in beer. Calcium reacts with oxalates to form insoluble calcium oxalate which is precipitated out in the mash.
  • Reduces colour formation during wort boiling. The extraction of colour forming compounds are reduced during sparging.
  • Improves beer fining performance. Calcium ions promote yeast flocculation at the end of fermentation.

For typical levels of ions for different beer styles, Double click following table to see figures…

typical levels of ions

Optimum pH for Mash Enzymes
• Alpha amylase 5.3 – 5.8
• Beta amylase 4.9 – 5.4
• Proteolytic 4.6 – 5.0
• Peptidase 4.6 – 5.0
• Phytase 5.0 – 5.2
• Mash 5.1 – 5.4

For further reading:



DWB is a formulated blend of powdered salts to increase mineral content of brewing liquor to produce the desired beer characteristics.