Patent No. 20110017737A1: Plastic Beer Keg

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Today in 2011, US Patent 20110017737 A1 was issued, an invention of William P. Apps, for his “Plastic Beer Keg.” Here’s the Abstract:

A plastic beer keg includes an outer container and an inner liner. A removable lid is secured over an opening to the container to enclose the liner. The liner includes a neck portion and a body portion. A head contact member transfers axial forces imparted by handling equipment away from the neck portion.

From reading through the description, the idea of this invention is to replace the costlier metal kegs currently in use today. Only time will tell.

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Patent No. 3558326A: Process For Isomerizing And Purifying Hop Extracts

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Today in 1971, US Patent 3558326 A was issued, an invention of William J. Durant, William C. Herwig, and Donald H. Westermann, assigned to Miller Brewing, for their “Process for Isomerizing and Purifying Hop Extracts.” There’s no Abstract, but they describe it as a “hop extract substantially free from waxes, oils, and nonacidic hop components is prepared by treating a waterimmiscible solvent solution of hop extract with an aqueous alkaline solution to isomerize acid hop components in the aqueous phase. The waxes, oils, and nonacidic hop components enter the nonaqueous phase and are removed with the latter. The aqueous phase is acidied, more solvent is added, and the hop acids enter the solvent phase and are recovered therefrom. The extract is used in making beer of improved light stability.”

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The Three Europes: Beer, Wine & Vodka

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I love maps, I does, and especially the more interesting graphic ones that go beyond just showing you point a, b and so on, especially the kind often referred to as pictorial maps. So I was excited to find out about this collection, called The Atlas of Prejudice, by Yanko Tsvetkov, a Bulgarian graphic designer living in Spain. From what I can gather, it’s an amazing, sometimes hilarious, collection of maps and charts showing how different groups view themselves and the world around them. He’s recently published a second volume of the atlas, and in promoting the new volume put out this clever poster of 20 ways of “Tearing Europe Apart,” as an example of the kinds of charts to be found in Atlas 2.

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Click here to see this chart full size.

Number 6, in the second row, shows how Europe can be divide into beer, wine or vodka loving/preferring regions.

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Take a look at that yellow sliver of a triangle in continental Europe. I suspect that the whole project is meant to be more thought-provoking and/or funny as opposed to being a completely accurate rendering of data, more using stereotypes or the author’s (and perhaps many other people’s) sense of these differences that are highlighted by the charts. But still, the slice of beer seems a bit too small to me, cutting through Belgium, obviously, the Netherlands, but only a portion of Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic, and also ignoring most of the Balkans and many far eastern European nations. I had always thought that those areas heavily favored beer, but maybe that’s outdated or was simply wrong. So I ask my Europeans friends and colleagues. Does that look right? Is vodka more popular than beer in most of those areas shown in in blue?

I don’t think he did a similar chart for the U.S. But I think it would look something like this:

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Patent No. 3637117A: Keg Tapping Device

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Today in 1972, US Patent 3637117 A was issued, an invention of Mack S. Johnston, assigned to Republic Corp., for his “Keg Tapping Device.” Here’s the Abstract:

The device comprises a keg adapter mounted about a keg opening and a dispenser coupler releasably coupled to the keg adapter having gas inlet and beer dispensing outlet passages terminating in two side-by-side probes depending from the coupler. The liquid probe is movably mounted in the coupler and biased in one direction. An inverted J-shaped tube is carried by the coupler in communication with the liquid probe and displacement of the tube moves the liquid probe in the opposite direction to open the beer valve in the keg adapter. The gas passage is in communication with a hand operated portable plunger-type pump whereby gas is provided through the keg adapter into the keg.

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Patent No. 3636888A: Pallet

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Today in 1972, US Patent 172687 A was issued, an invention of John A. Angelbeck Jr., assigned to Pack Rite Packaging & Crating, for his “Pallet.” There’s no Abstract, but it’s described as a “pallet used for the storage and transporting of containers such as beer kegs and the like.” It’s essentially a plastic pallet, and while I’ve seen a few of them, I don’t think they’ve replaced the wooden pallet the way the inventor hoped.
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Happy Burns Night

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Tonight, many fans of the Scottish poet Robert Burns, will celebrate Burns Night with a meal of Haggis, Scotch Whisky and a night of poetry reading. Though Burns was apparently a whisky drinker, I feel confident saying he probably also drank beer and there are plenty of ways you could incorporate beer and whisky into your evening. I nominate for your poetry recitation, Burns’ version of the popular folksong John Barleycorn, which is believed to have originated sometime in the 16th century. Burns wrote his in 1782, and because of his fame, is one the most oft quoted versions. Here’s how I summarized it in a post about John Barleycorn a few years ago:

Primarily an allegorical story of death, resurrection and drinking, the main character—the eponymous John Barleycorn—is the personification of barley who is attacked and made to suffer indignities and eventually death. These correspond roughly to the stages of barley growing and cultivation, like reaping and malting. Some scholars see the story as pagan, representing the ideology of the cycles of nature, spirits and the pagan harvest, and possibly even human sacrifice. After John Barleycorn’s death, he is resurrected as beer, bread and whisky. Some have also compared it to the Christian transubstantiation, since his body is eaten as bread and drank as beer.

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John Barleycorn

There were three kings into the east,
Three kings both great and high,
An’ they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.

They took a plough and ploughed him down,
Put clods upon his head;
An’ they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead.

But the cheerfu’ spring came kindly on,
And show’rs began to fall;
John Barleycorn got up again,
And sore surprised them all.

The sultry suns of summer came,
And he grew thick and strong;
His head weel armed wi’ pointed spears,
That no one should him wrong.

The sober autumn entered mild,
When he grew wan and pale;
His bending joints and drooping head
Showed he began to fail.

His colour sickened more and more,
He faded into age;
And then his enemies began
To show their deadly rage.

They’ve ta’en a weapon long and sharp,
And cut him by the knee;
Then tied him fast upon a cart,
Like a rogue for forgerie.

They laid him down upon his back,
And cudgelled him full sore;
They hung him up before the storm,
And turned him o’er and o’er.

They filled up a darksome pit
With water to the brim;
They heaved in John Barleycorn,
There let him sink or swim.

They laid him out upon the floor,
To work him farther woe,
And still, as signs of life appeared,
They tossed him to and fro.

They wasted, o’er a scorching flame,
The marrow of his bones;
But a miller used him worst of all,
For he crushed him ‘tween two stones.

And they hae ta’en his very heart’s blood,
And drank it round and round;
And still the more and more they drank,
Their joy did more abound.

John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
Of noble enterprise;
For if you do but taste his blood,
‘Twill make your courage rise;

‘Twill make a man forget his woe;
‘Twill heighten all his joy:
‘Twill make the widow’s heart to sing,
Tho’ the tear were in her eye.

Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
Each man a glass in hand;
And may his great posterity
Ne’er fail in old Scotland!

Here’s an analysis of the poem, and below is a video of the Scottish St. Andrews Society of Greater St. Louis‘ Burns Night in 2011 and the recitation of John Barleycorn by an Allan Stewart.

And although it has little to do with Burns Night, I still love the version sung by the band Traffic, with frontman Steve Winwood, which appeared on their 1970 album John Barleycorn Must Die.

Patent No. 172687A: Improvement In Beer-Coolers

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Today in 1876, US Patent 172687 A was issued, an invention of Louis Baeppler, for his “Improvement in Beer-Coolers.” There’s no Abstract, but the description includes this:

My invention relates to an apparatus which maybe readily applied to a keg or barrel of any description, so as to cool the beer after it leaves the barrel.

The invention consists of an ice-chamber, provided with an opening at the bottom for the insertion of a cock to be attached to the lower end of the cooling-coil, and an opentopped slot at the top for the insertion and removal of the upper end of the coil, and a cover for closing said chamber, as hereinafter described and shown.

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Patent No. 3231384A: Continuous Boiling And Hopping Of Brewers’ Wort

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Today in 1966, US Patent 3231384 A was issued, an invention of William Ernest Parker and Francis Lloyd Rigby, assigned to Canadian Breweries Ltd., for their “Continuous Boiling and Hopping of Brewers’ Wort.” There’s no Abstract, but partway down in the description is this:

The method of the present invention generally comprises forming a continuously flowing stream of hot brewers wort, causing said stream to flow in a substantially horizontal path, continuously introducing a predetermined mass of hops to said stream, heating said flowing wort, venting said stream of undesirable volatiles above said path of flow and controlling the time flow ratio of said wort and hops as to hop said wort to desired degree, and finally continuously discharging spent and hopped wort from said stream. This may be carried out with the wort and hops flowing counter-current to one another, discharging spent hops at one end of the path and hopped wort at the other. Alternatively, it may be carried out in a co-current flow.

The method may be carried out in particularly simple apparatus which may take the form, for counter-current flow, of a substantially horizontally disposed tubular vessel with provision for introducing wort towards one end thereof and hops in the other end thereof and which includes a perforated auger moving the hops in countercurrent flow to the continuously flowing wort as to cause spent hops to discharge at one end of the apparatus and hopped wort at the other, and which is a preferred type of apparatus proposed although such counter-current flow might be achieved by apparatus of other design. For cocurrent flow, the wort is introduced at one end while the hops are introduced adjacent that end and/or selectively along the length of the vessel.

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Patent No. 1070116A1: Beer Flavor Concentrate

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Today in 2001, US Patent 1070116 A1 was issued, an invention of Matthew L. Tripp, assigned to the Green Bay Beer Company, for his “Beer Flavor Concentrate.” Here’s the short Abstract. “A beer flavor concentrate and a method for making and using the beer flavor concentrate to produce a final beer product through the addition of carbonated water and alcohol.”

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While I’m not sure if this was ever marketed as, or as part of, a product, more recently concentrated beer has become available on the market. For example, Pat’s Backcountry Beverages was made primarily for camping. Over the last couple of years, both Popular Science and Gizmodo have been taken a look at how it works and if the reconstituted beer is any good.

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Patent No. 2969161A: Bung For Beer Barrels

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Today in 1961, US Patent 2969161 A was issued, an invention of Robert Givens Mcculloch, for his “Bung for Beer Barrels and the Like.” There’s no Abstract, but the application describes it an “invention has been devised to provide a bung (generally called a shive) for beer barrels and like containers for liquids which will enable a tap fitting or pipe to be connected to the barrel without spilling the contents of the barrel during the connecting operation.”
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