Patent No. 2229875A: The Art Of Wort Cooling

patent-logo
Today in 1941, US Patent 2229875 A was issued, an invention of Robert Schwarz and Fred L.A. Schmidt, for their “Art of Wort Cooling.” There’s no Abstract, but here’s the general idea.

Generally speaking, the invention involves cooling the wort by evaporation in a cycle which includes the passage of clean, filtered air or air 2o rendered germ-free by other methods, along or across the path of a flat expanded stream in which the wort is introduced into a closed chamber. Where the cooling after such operation is inadequate, the wort or some of it is pumped in go one or more repetitions of said cycle until the desired cooling has been effected.

US2229875-0
US2229875-1

Firestone Walker To Introduce Cans

firestone-walker-long
Firestone Walker Brewing announced today that they will be offering three more of their beers in cans shortly. According to the press release, “Union Jack (IPA), Easy Jack (session IPA) and Pivo (hoppy pilsner) [are] all being introduced in six packs starting in mid February.”
FW_Pivo_Can
From the press release:

“We could have rushed into canning a few years ago, but we wanted the timing to be right,” said brewery co-proprietor David Walker. “The market for canned craft beer is now hitting its stride, and canning technology has come a long way in a short period. Also, cans are a perfect fit for life here on the Central Coast. All of these factors converged to finally reach a tipping point for us.”

The brewery’s new canning line was made by leading beer packaging company KHS based in Dortmund, Germany.

“It was the best—and most expensive—solution,” said Brewmaster Matt Brynildson. “You can make the best beer in the world, but if you run it through a substandard packaging line, you end up with a beer-wrecking machine. With this KHS line, there are no worries about beer integrity.”

The canning line was first fired up last year to produce cans for the brewery’s 805 brand. The cans are dry-rinsed with ionized air and purged with CO2, then filled. The cans next run through a bubble breaker to remove any air bubbles before being surface purged with CO2 to eliminate oxygen from the head space. They are then seamed with a Swiss-made Ferrum seamer and inverted for a short period to detect any leaks as they exit the seamer. After a final rinse, cardboard carriers are auto-assembled around the cans. At full speed, the canning line produces 400 cans (12-ounce) per minute.

“I think there are advantages to both cans and bottles,” Brynildson said. “Cans do a great job of blocking UV light and maintaining a great seal, but on top of that they’re just fun. They’re light and they carry anywhere. I get goosebumps just thinking about having these beers in cans.”

FW_Cans_Trio

Patent No. 135245A: Improvement In Brewing Beer And Ale

patent-logo
Today in 1873, US Patent 135245 A was issued, an invention of Louis Pasteur, for his “Improvement in Brewing Beer and Ale.” There’s no Abstract, but Pasteur explains in the description that this is a “process of brewing without the presence in the wort of atmosphericair, my invention has for its object to produce a better quality and greater quantity of beer from the same quantity and quality of wort, and to afford a beer which shall also embody the quality of greater degree of unalterableness during time and changes of climate, &c., in transportation and use; and to these ends my invention consists in expelling the air from the boiled wort while confined in a closed vessel or closed vessels, and then cooling it by the application of sprays of water to the exterior of such vessel or vessels, as will be hereinafter more fully explained.”

US135245-0

1873-brewing-beer-and-ale-patent-artwork-blueprint-nikki-marie-smith

The Next Session Goes To A Beer Festival

session-the
For our 96th Session, our host is Joan Villar-i-Martí, who writes Birraire, which is also his nickname. He’s asking us all to attend a beer festival, either in person or virtually, and take a position on one or the other, or even somewhere in between on this question, which, if you haven’t guessed, is the topic. “Festivals: Geek Gathering or Beer Dissemination?.”

The discussion at hand is “Festivals: Geek Gathering or Beer Dissemination?” I guess it is pretty much clear, but apart from exposing whether the answer is A, B or C (the latter being “it depends”) I expect participants to give us some insight into their local beer scene to better understand the importance or irrelevance of Festivals in each area. My guess is that it can be quite different depending on the popularity of beer in different countries and cultures.

P1010052
The Great American Beer Festival in 2002.

So get thee to a beer festival, or search your memory banks for your festival experiences. To participate in February’s Session, just wax on and/or off about your take on the humble beer fest. Then on February 6, post your thoughts in the comments section to Birraire’s announcement.

P1010533
At the Toronado Barleywine Festival in 2013.

Patent No. 20110017737A1: Plastic Beer Keg

patent-logo
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.

US20110017737A1-20110127-D00000
US20110017737A1-20110127-D00010
US20110017737A1-20110127-D00012

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

patent-logo
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.”

US3558326-0

The Three Europes: Beer, Wine & Vodka

atlas-brain-2
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.

tearing-europe-apart
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.

europe-w-beer-v

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:

us-w-beer-v

Patent No. 3637117A: Keg Tapping Device

patent-logo
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.

US3637117-1
US3637117-2
US3637117-3

Patent No. 3636888A: Pallet

patent-logo
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.
US3636888-1
US3636888-2
US3636888-3

Happy Burns Night

scotland
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.

Silenvs-john-barleycorn

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.