Patent No. 734985A: Apparatus For Converting Wort Into Beer

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Today in 1903, US Patent 734985 A was issued, an invention of Charles Spindler, for his “Apparatus For Converting Wort Into Beer.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to improved apparatus for the manufacture of fermented liquors, particularly beer; and it has for its object to provide an improved apparatus of this class which shall be superior from a standpoint of continuity and efficiency of operation, comparative simplicity in construction, compactness in form, and in the obviation of the use of a number of separate apparatuses the use of which is customarily incidental to processes involving the employment of apparatus of this class.

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Patent No. 998815A: Beer-Making Apparatus

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Today in 1911, US Patent 998815 A was issued, an invention of Ernst Uhlmann, for his “Beer-Making Apparatus.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

My invention relates to that portion of the beer making art wherein the wort is treated with hops, and it has for its objects to provide an apparatus for preventing the wort from acquiring an objectionable color and flavor and from a tendency to sour as a result of such treatment.

My invention is designed to overcome these objections and to provide a form of apparatus for rapidly removing the hops from the wort, which shall ‘be simple in construction and operation and require much less floor space for accommodation than apparatus commonly used for the purpose.

In carrying out my invention I remove the hops, albuminoids, and such matter from the wort while the latter is flowing from the brewing kettle to the coolers, so that the wort is freed from these matters almost immediately it leaves the brewing kettle, and does not remain in contact with the hops, etc., longer than a few seconds. Also I remove all the wort from the hops without employment of any mechanical or air pressure.

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Patent No. 1234255A: Process Of Treating Beer

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Today in 1917, US Patent 1234255 A was issued, an invention of Charles S. Ash, for his “Process of Treating Beer.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to a process of treating beer; and has for its object to stabilize beer by eliminating the causes of cloudiness and turbidity therein, and also to prevent the development of color and the development of a cooked taste in the beer following pasteurization.

In the brewing and finishing of beer, the aim of the brewer is to obtain a product which is brilliantly clear and transparent and which will so remain under all conditions of subsequent handling.

Beer is rendered turbid or cloudy on standing, particularly in the cold, by reason of the precipitation of nitrogenous bodies. In the process of mashing the grains and making the wort, which is subsequently fermented, a portion of the nitrogenous bodies of the grain is brought into solution. After the fermentation and the aging or lagering to which the new beer is subjected some of these nitrogenous bodies are precipitated and are removed by filtration. After the final filtration the beer is brilliant, but upon storage in the case of keg beer, and upon pasteurization and storage in the case of bottled beer, the beer gradually becomes cloudy and finally turbid.

There are two ways in which this cloudiness and turbidity can be prevented; first, by the absolute removal-of the nitrogenous bodies still held in the lagered beer, which are susceptible to subsequent precipitation through storage or heating or cooling; and, second, by treating the lagered beer in such a manner that these, nitrogenous bodies remain in solution. The first method has never been hitherto successfully accomplished. The second method has yielded results of more or less value and is accomplished by adding to the beer substances known as enzymes, which have the power of rendering these insoluble nitrogenous bodies soluble and hence the beer remains brilliant.

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Two beers with the same color, but different turbidity.

Patent No. 193371A: Improvement In Pumping Apparatus For Raising Beer

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Today in 1877, US Patent 193371 A was issued, an invention of Clement Labuethe, for his “Improvement in Pumping Apparatus for Raising Wine, Beer.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

My improved apparatus consists of a special construction and combination of devices, hereinafter described, for transmitting liquids from one cask or vessel to another, and of delivering it for use.

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Patent No. 3896001A: Malting Processes

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Today in 1973, US Patent 3896001 A was issued, an invention of James Barrett, Brian Heys Kirsop, and Godfrey Henry Oliver Palmer, assigned to Brewing Patents Ltd., for their “Malting Processes.” Here’s the Abstract:

A process for the production of malt comprises removing a part of the husk of the barley, steeping the barley, treating the barley with aqueous mineral acid and with gibberellic acid, and allowing the barley to germinate. The combination of treatment steps is claimed to improve the rate of germination.

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Patent No. 302282A: Apparatus For Racking Beer

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Today in 1884, US Patent 302282 A was issued, an invention of Johann Pusch, for his “Apparatus for Racking Beer.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

My invention relates to an improved hermetic apparatus for racking beer, and is designed as an improvement on the apparatus described in Letters Patent No. 274,516, granted to me March 27, 1883.

As in the apparatus described in the above, named Letters Patent, the object of this invention is to effectually prevent the escape of the carbonic-acid gas contained in the beer during the process of racking; and the improvements herewith made consist, first, in the novel means employed in connection with the barrel-platform for raising and lowering the same; second, in the novel means for clearing the supply-pipes of all beer after the barrel is filled, and, third, in the novel bung-feeding mechanism, all as will be fully described and claimed.

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Patent No. 141072A: Manufacture of Beer And Yeast

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Today in 1873, US Patent 141072 A was issued, an invention of Louis Pasteur, for his “Manufacture of Beer and Yeast.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

The following is a recapitulation of the essential features of this improved process: The wort is introduced in a iling state in the apparatus, on which a cover is then placed, or the cylinder may be entirely closed and communicate with the atmosphere only by means of the pipes, cocks, and long tubes with which it is provided. Boiling water is then thrown on the a paratns, after which it is allowed to cool with or without the assistance of cold water, during which time air or carbonic-acid gas is admitted by the long tube; but previous to this one of the plug on the cover is closed by unplug, through which passes a tube, terminating in an India rubber tube and glass stopper. Pure wort is then fermented by pure yeast, and, when sufficiently advanced, the contents are poured through the tube in the stopper of the pipe on the cover of the fermenting apparatus.

If there is a supply of pure yeast from the preceding operation this may be used, as in the ordinary processes, the vessel being inverted for the purpose, it’ necessary, after fermentation has commenced; but this might lead to great inconvenience at a subsequent period, although the use of pure yeast, manufactured according to this improved process, would of itself form a great improvement on the ordinary process.

With the aid of the microscope and the method of control, before indicated, the change of condition, which might arise under the latter modes of treatment, may bc readily ascertained; but one cooling apparatus be used or a few, only the wort being p 1;- into vets,- (pitched or varnished on the exterior, which are deprived of any germs of disease, either by the use of boiling water or by the recent applying of pitch on the interior.

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Pyramid Closes Berkeley Brewery

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North American Breweries announced today that effective immediately, they’ve closed the Pyramid Brewery that’s been located in Berkeley, California since 1997. That leaves just the Walnut Creek alehouse remaining in California, after they closed the Sacramento brewpub in 2013.

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At Pyramid’s website, it offers only the following by way of explanation.

The Pyramid Berkeley Alehouse is now closed.

Thank you so much for your support and patronage over the years! We also want to thank our employees for their dedicated service. Our other locations remain open and available to provide great beers and a wonderful experience. We hope to see you there.

The East Bay Express has a bit more of the story, explaining “Berkeley’s Pyramid Alehouse (901 Gilman St.) is now permanently closed, according to a message on the restaurant and brewery’s answering machine.”

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Of course, the story isn’t complete without acknowledging that they haven’t been brewing at that location since 2013, when the brewers voted to unionize and shortly thereafter the company suspended brewing claiming it was to “fix a quality issue.” Which was obvious nonsense, especially now that the closure has gone from temporary to permanent. The original “temporary” period to “fix” the brewery was supposed to be 6-9 months, which meant it should have reopened and brought back the laid-off brewers sometime between March and June of 2014, or a little over one year ago.

This is, at least in part, what happens when breweries become part of larger businesses like equity firms, who only care about profit and bottom lines, and not the businesses themselves. Pyramid is part of North American Breweries (NAB), and was created in 2009 when equity firm KPS Capital Partners (KPS) bought it along with Magic Hat, Portland Brewing, Labatt’s USA, Genesee and a couple of other brands. In 2012, KPS sold NAB to Cerveceria Costa Rica, a subsidiary of Florida Ice & Farm Co., for $388 million.

East Bay Express later added this update, apparently from a press release from NAB:

The company decided to close its Berkeley facility in order to prepare the building for sale — “after an extensive evaluation process. “We have made the decision to focus our West Coast production in our Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington locations,” said CEO Kris Sirchio.

Frankly, that’s about as believable as the celebrity or political figure embroiled in scandal who retires “to spend more time with his family.” I’m sorry to see the brewery go, but frankly NAB has become a difficult company with many layers to get through before finding an actual live person who can, or will, answer questions about the company’s brands. When Sacramento closed, I spent hours on websites and phones just trying to find someone who would comment or answer questions, and this time I’m not even going to try, given how awful it was last time. One commenter on the EBE piece said, “[w]ord on the street is that another brewery is looking to purchase the property,” so perhaps we’ll have good news about the location soon.

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R.I.P. Pyramid Berkeley 1997-2015.

Patent No. 244695A: Process Of Purification Of Hops For Brewing Purposes

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Today in 1881, US Patent 244695 A was issued, an invention of James Walkek, for his “Process of Purification of Hops for Brewing Purposes.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

The mode or process of purifying hops for brewing purposes — to wit — by steeping the hops in water at or approximating a temperature of 100 Fahrenheit until the supernatant liquor ceases to be turbid, then drawing off the Water, and finally removing the thus purified hops direct to the brew-kettle, substantially as set forth.

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Patent No. 2354093A: Brewing Apparatus

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Today in 1944, US Patent 2354093 A was issued, an invention of Berthold Stein, for his “Brewing Apparatus.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

The present invention relates to brewing apparatus, more especially adapted for the achievement of certain improvements in the art of brewing beer, ale, near beer, or the like, with the principal object of making a more palatable and stable malt liquor, because a decided need exists for such improvement, inasmuch as a great many people do not. like to drink the present malt liquor of such general class particularly because of the unpalatable taste or odor.

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Also, today in the same year, US Patent 2354092 A was issued, another invention of Berthold Stein, for his “Art of brewing beer, ale, or near-beer.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

The present invention relates to certain improvements in the art of brewing beer, ale, near beer, or the like, with the principal object of making a more palatable and stable malt liquor, because a decided need exists for such improvement, inasmuch as a great many people do not like to drink the present malt liquor of such general class particularly because of the taste unpalatable or odor.

The drawing file with this patent looks virtually identical to the other one, too.
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