Tag 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 techsupport@murphyandson.co.uk

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.

Raw Material Seminar – 25th March 2015


The Institute of Brewing and Distilling

Southern United Kingdom Section


Raw Material Seminar

Charles Wells, The Brewery, Havelock Street, Bedford, MK40 4LU

on Wednesday 25th March 2015.


The Southern Section presents a whole day seminar on The Use of Raw Materials in the Brewery. The seminar is aimed mainly at those students taking the General Certificate examinations but will be of interest to all brewers, particularly those from smaller breweries. It will give practical help and will include advice on examination technique and a mock examination. 

The day is chaired by Derek Prentice. Derek is currently passing on the knowledge gained during a lifetime in brewing at Truman’s, Young’s and Fuller’s by acting as a tutor. He is also near to opening a new brewing venture in Wimbledon.


Adam Johnson is currently Technical Sales Representative at Murphy and Son where he provides technical and sales support for customers in the south of England, south Wales and Ireland. This includes advising on all aspects of the brewing process and then extensive range of Murphy’s products. He has a brewing degree from Heriot-Watt and began work as a quality technician at Belhaven Brewery before joining St Austell as Quality Brewer where he ran the laboratory and developed the QMS and HACCP systems.


Sophie de Ronde is the Brewing Technologist for Muntons, helping out brewers with recipe and ingredient queries and also has the facilities to brew pilot trials of their ideas. She gained a BSc from Essex University and, a couple of years later became Head Brewer at Brentwood Brewing Company where she spent seven years developing the consistency of the core beers and creating different beer styles and specialities from Fruit Saisons to rich Imperial Stouts.
Ed Wray holds a degree in Microbiology from Imperial College, London and Post Graduate Diploma in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot-Watt University. He joined Campden BRI as Project Brewery Maltster from The Old Dairy Brewery, where he was Head Brewer. During his time The Old Dairy he was responsible for production of a range of regular and seasonal beers and achieved SALSA accreditation. Having joined BRI he runs the pilot brewery and is involved in a wide range of project work for clients.


Andrew Whalley is Technical Sales Advisor at Charles Faram & Co Hop Merchants, advising brewers on hops, recipe formulation, and brewing. He started his brewing career at Lastingham Brewery in North Yorkshire before moving to York Brewery as Head Brewer, to start up the new brewery in 1996 and spent the next 16 years at York before moving into the brewery supply chain with Charles Faram in May 2012. He passed the IOB AME in 1999, and has been travelling to Slovenia and the USA since 2003 buying and assessing hops, discovering different styles of beer and brewing techniques.

09:30 – 09:50 Registration and Coffee
09:50 – 10:00 Welcome by Chris Reid of Charles Wells
10:00 – 10:45 LiquorAdam Johnson will look at the use of water in brewing. The focus will be on the composition of brewing liquor and the treatment options available to make adjustments dependant on raw liquor and desired beer style.
10:45 – 11:15 MaltSophie de Ronde will outline the attributes of various malts and malt products, outline the key characteristic of the various products available, how they are used in the brewery and the effect that different grist compositions can have on the finished beer.
11:15 – 11:30 Coffee
11:30 – 12:15 HopsAndrew Whalley will cover the history and cultivation of hops. He will outline the different hop varieties, their use in the brewery from brewhouse to maturation and their effect on the final product.
12:15 – 13:00 Brewery and Laboratory Tour
13:00 – 13:45 Lunch
13:45 – 14:30 YeastEd Wray will outline the basic characteristics of brewing yeast and its relationship with other microorganisms that are present in the brewery. He will outline the wort characteristics required for good yeast growth and how yeast is cropped and cared for after fermentation.
14:30 – 15:00 Examinations and QuestionsDerek Prentice will lead a session on examination techniques and will answer general questions with the remainder of the speakers to give the benefit of their experience.
15:00 – 15:15 Tea
15:15 – 16:30 Mock ExaminationDerek Prentice will present a mock examination on raw materials, how they are used in the brewery and the effects they have on the final product and present model answers, as well as giving advice on examination technique.
16:30 – 16:45 Final Questions and Comments
16:45 Close
The Seminar is limited to the first twenty-five applications received and the cost is £50 for IBD members and £65 for non-members, both exclusive of VAT.
To attend e-mail pete.channon@gmail.com. Payment by cheque to Dr Pete Channon, 189, Jeans Way, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU5 4PS or by bank transfer. Telephone enquiries to 07771 933091.