Patent No. 3174650A: Bung Withdrawing Assembly

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Today in 1965, US Patent 3174650 A was issued, an invention of Frank A. Bellato, for his “Bung Withdrawing Assembly.” There’s no Abstract, but the description states simply that the “invention relates to a device for removing the wooden bungs from beer kegs and similar containers after such kegs have been emptied of their contents.” Then the goals of their patent application are laid out:

A major object of the invention is to provide an auger, of special form for the purpose, having a pilot portion arranged so as to first penetrate the bung along a path axially of the bung without possible deviation from such path such as grain direction or irregularities in the wood of the bung might cause, and having a portion following the pilot portion arranged to then advance into the bung in a manner to cause the bung to be withdrawn from the bung hole and split into separate sections so that such sections will fall of themselves from the auger.

It is another and important object of the invention to provide a means for operatively mounting the auger, both for rotation and axial movement, in an upwardly facing position, and a means for supporting the keg above the auger in such a position that the bung, which as usual is in one side of the keg, will be disposed in a downwardly facing position directly in line with the auger.

The importance of having the bung disposed in an inverted position, with the auger disposed below the keg and bung, is that no chips or wood dust, as created by the action of the auger, can enter the keg but will drop down clear of the keg.

A further object of the invention is to provide a catch tray and carryotf chute in connection with and directly below the auger which will receive, and cause to be carried alway, all chips, withdrawn bung pieces, as well as any liquid residue dropping from the empty keg when the bung is withdrawn, and keep such waste matter from possibly fouling the auger supporting and operating mechanism.

The keg, when initially placed on the supporting means, may not always be disposed with the bung in the necessary downwardly facing position, and a still further object of the invention is to provide a keg support-ing means which enables the keg, after once being supported, to be easily rotated so as to dispose the bung in the proper position for engagement by the auger.

In connection with this latter feature, it is also an object of the invention to provide a clamping unit for engagement with the top of the keg, which will rst exert a yieldable hold-down action on the keg which still allows the keg to be rotated if necessary, and which will then clamp the keg against any movement. At the same time, the clamping means is mounted so that it can be readily moved clear of the keg so as to offer no interference with the placement of the keg on or removal of the same from the supporting means.

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Patent No. 3649993A: Apparatus For Opening The Flaps Of A Container And Removing Debris Therefrom

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Today in 1972, just one year ago, US Patent 3649993 A was issued, an invention of Henry Sauer, assigned to Schlitz Brewing Co., for his “Apparatus For Opening The Flaps Of A Container And Removing Debris Therefrom.” Here’s the Abstract:

An apparatus for opening and spreading the top flaps of a carton containing packaged articles such as bottles, and for cleaning the carton after the flaps are opened. The carton containing the articles is moved along a conveyor and the sides of the carton are engaged by pressure members which deform the sides and pivot the flaps, if closed, to a partially open position. The carton then passes beneath a vacuum duct, which acts to raise the flaps. After the flaps have been raised, the carton moves into engagement with a spreader unit which spreads the flaps laterally outward. With the flaps in the spread position, the carton is then conveyed beneath a second vacuum duct which acts to draw lightweight debris from the carton.

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The Equinox: Day, Night & A Beer

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Today, of course, is the Vernal Equinox, the first day of Spring for those of us on the northern side of the equator, and the beginning of Autumn for our southerly brethren. It’s also a day when we have roughly equal amounts of day and night.

People around the world have celebrated the equinox for millennia in an amazing array of ways. Back in the early days of Lagunitas Brewing, their celebration manifested itself, as you’d expect, in a beer they called Equinox. Launched originally in 1995, it quietly went away in the early 2000s, when they were working both day and night and it probably seemed like stopping to mark the middle of that made no sense. But this year, on the Equinox, they decided to bring back Lagunitas Equinox, though in a slightly altered package and recipe. It’s still a “pale oat ale,” but it’s a bit stronger now, at 8.4% abv (it was 6.4% before). It’s also again in 22 oz. bottles and kegs.

Lagunitas-Equinox

Lagunitas describes the beer as “a creamy, pale oat ale hopped up with a huge charge of Equinox and Simcoe hops for a piney, eucalyptusy, cedary, sprucey, foresty blast.” And Tony’s label notes make for some challenging reading.

Qan you imagine a world without Beer? Everything ewe gnoe would be different. Phish might phly, aaugs might uze power touls. Pfriedae nights mite be spent building treez out of the day after tomorrow’s pstale sour greem and cheaze leavings. And then theirft bea the speling iszuues. Thingss wood bee just plane wierd, eye meene weird. Come two thing of Itt, Eye think aya cool stand begin a kid bit hapier write gnaw… (glug, glug, glug… gulp.) Mmm, aaht Once again all Is right with the world, the fish are in their ocean, the dog will not maim me, I’ll have a date for Friday night, and I know for sure that in fact God loves me. Beer. You only borrow it. Kawl us!

They also created a pretty trippy one-minute video showing a split-screen journey of the beer during both day and night simultaneously.

Patent No. 4505941A: Lauter Tun For The Filtration Of Wort During Brewing

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Today in 1985, US Patent 4505941 A was issued, an invention of David W. Raines, for his “Lauter Tun For The Filtration Of Wort During Brewing.” Here’s the Abstract:

Lauter tuns are used for the filtration of wort during brewing. In use the wort runs off through a filter bed and has to be collected. Hitherto the bottom of such tuns have been flat having a number of holes through which the wort runs. If the bottom is ostensibly flat, problems can arise in that puddles accumulate in any undulations leading to possible spoilation of the wort. The bottom of a tun in accordance with the invention is formed with a series of straight parallel valleys extending across the tun and having spaced wort collection points for connection to straight wort mains or manifolds located beneath the tun.

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Craft Beer Share Reaches 10%

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The preliminary numbers for 2014 are out, and the news is fairly spectacular, especially if you remember Kim Jordan’s keynote speech in New Orleans predicting and challenging the industry to set 10 percent share of the market as an attainable goal. The Brewers Association today revealed that craft beer’s share of market finally blew past 10% and is now 11% of the total beer market, by volume.

From the press release:

In 2014, craft brewers produced 22.2 million barrels, and saw an 18 percent rise in volume2 and a 22 percent increase in retail dollar value3. Retail dollar value was estimated at $19.6 billion representing 19.3 percent market share.

“With the total beer market up only 0.5 percent in 2014, craft brewers are key in keeping the overall industry innovative and growing. This steady growth shows that craft brewing is part of a profound shift in American beer culture—a shift that will help craft brewers achieve their ambitious goal of 20 percent market share by 2020,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “Small and independent brewers are deepening their connection to local beer lovers while continuing to create excitement and attract even more appreciators.”

But wait, there’s more.

Additionally, the number of operating breweries in the U.S. in 2014 grew 19 percent, totaling 3,464 breweries, with 3,418 considered craft broken down as follows: 1,871 microbreweries, 1,412 brewpubs and 135 regional craft breweries. Throughout the year, there were 615 new brewery openings and only 46 closings.

Combined with already existing and established breweries and brew pubs, craft brewers provided 115,469 jobs, an increase of almost 5,000 from the previous year.

“These small businesses are one of the bright spots in both our economy and culture. Craft brewers are serving their local communities, brewing up jobs and boosting tourism,” added Watson. “Craft brewers are creating high quality, differentiated beers; new brewers that match this standard will be welcomed in the market with open arms.”

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Patent No. 1132218A: Bottle-Filling Machine

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Today in 1977, US Patent 1132218 A was issued, an invention of Adolph Schneider, for his “Bottle-Filling Machine.” There’s no Abstract, but the description states that the “present invention relates to that type of mechanism used for the purpose of packaging carbonated liquids, or analogous substances, under pressure:”

The objects of the present invention are, to provide a stationary support upon which the to-be filled packages rest during the filling operation; to provide a series of pistons, one of which will actuate the filling tube of the bottle filling mechanism, and the other or. which will actuate the sealing head; to provide a series of cylinders for said pistons, one piston being contained in each cylinder; to arrange system of pressure supply ducts for conveying pressure to said cylinders for the purpose of actuating the pistons; to arrange a series of ducts for exhausting the pressure from the said cylinder so arrange these ducts, if desired, as to enable them to perform double functions, namely, that of an inlet and an exhaust duct; to provide an automatically operated valve for controlling the flow of liquid from the source of liquid supply to the filling tube, and in arranging this valve so that it is automatically operated at a time approximately when the filling tube has reached its lowermost position; to provide a method of establishing communication between a source of air pressure less than the sure of the liquid in the tank and the liquid of the bottle; to provide a valve for controlling the flow of said air whereby said valve will be automatically operated to establish said air communication at practically the same time that the communication is established to permit the flow of liquid from the filling tube into the bottle; to provide an arrangement whereby one of the set of pistons may be power driven in both sections, and the other of said pistons can be power driven in one direction only, with the last mentioned piston being moved in the opposite direction by contact with the first mentioned piston; and to provide a telescopic connection between the source of liquid supply and the filling tube, and a telescopic connection between the source of air supply and the sealing head.

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Patent No. 4011896A: Apparatus For Rapidly Dispensing Beer Into Open Cups

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Today in 1977, US Patent 4011896 A was issued, an invention of John W. Nilon and Thomas J. King, for their “Apparatus for Rapidly Dispensing Beer into Open Cups.” Here’s the Abstract:

Beer is stored in vessels located in a refrigerated storage area before passing through dispensing lines connected to a plurality of dispensing taps. The dispensing lines are maintained in heat-exchanging relationship with cooling apparatus which further depresses the temperature of the beer below that of the refrigerated storage area. By the time the beer reaches the cooling taps, the temperature of the beer is sufficiently depressed so as to permit the beer to be dispensed at a high rate into drinking containers which pass beneath the taps.

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Anchor To Release Double Liberty IPA

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I generally don’t like revealing a new beer coming from a brewery before they’ve officially announced it, preferring to let the brewery manage how that information is made public. But since others have revealed it online, and because it’s pretty big news, I’m breaking my own rule. Anchor Brewery has apparently created a new beer called Double Liberty IPA.

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The label has been approved, drawn by their longtime label artist Jim Stitt, although no date has yet been set for its release as far as I know right now. Since they only recently released their new Flying Cloud Stout, I suspect it will be a little while before it’s officially announced. The COLA search also reveals it will be both bottled as well as available in kegs.

According to the neck label, “Double Liberty IPA is made with 2-row pale malt and whole-cone Cascade hops.” It also apparently has “double the hops and double the IBUs.” They describe it as “imparting uniquely complex flavors and dry-hop aroma to this radically traditional IPA.” I love that phrase — “radically traditional.” It also weighs in at 8.2% a.b.v.

I’m sure we’ll learn more details soon. Anchor’s brewmaster Mark Carpenter is speaking to my class at Sonoma State on Wednesday, so hopefully he’ll be able to tell me more then. But frankly, I’m pretty excited to try this new beer. Liberty Ale has long been one of my favorite beers, and is the beer I always order first, each time I visit the brewery’s tap room. So an imperial version of that beer has to be worth trying, especially if Mark had a hand it creating it, as he did with the original Liberty 40 years ago.

Patent No. EP 0009614B1: A Brewing Process

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Today in 1984, US Patent EP 0009614 B1 was issued, an invention of Kenneth Hartley Geiger, assigned to Labatt Brewing Company Ltd., for his “Brewing Process.” There’s no Abstract, but buried in the description is says that the “object of the present invention is to reduce or even eliminate the disadvantages of the above processes if the wort produced from the malt is subjected to fermentation for a period sufficient to allow the yeast to substantially develop prior to the introduction of an adjunct comprising a highly fermentable sugar and optionally, other conventional adjunct materials,” then continues with this:

This object is achieved by the present invention by initially fermenting a malt wort with brewers’ yeast until said yeast is partially developed to at least about one-half of the maximum amount of development obtainable during the fermentation, thereby providing a partially fermented wort, thereafter introducing an adjunct comprising a highly fermentable sugar into the partially fermented wort over a period of time such that the Plato value of the fermenting wort substantially does not increase and osmotic shock is avoided and then continuing the fermentation, the degree of attenuation in the brewing process being 80% or more.

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