Today in 1910, US Patent 948463 A was issued, an invention of Frank C.H. Strasburger, for his “Filling-Machine.” There’s no Abstract, but according to the description, the “invention relates to’ machines for filling bottles with beer or other charged liquids and its object is to accomplish the filling operation without the loss of gas in suspension in the liquid and without the production of foam in the bottles. Attainment of this primary object of the invention also has for its object to utilize the pressure in the liquid tank for closing the liquid valve; to establish a counter-pressure in the bottle before the liquid valve is opened; to operate the liquid valve by a diaphragm and cause the valve to open by equalizing the pressure on both sides of the diaphragm; and to close the liquid valve by exhausting the pressure on one side of the diaphragm.”
Today in 1966, US Patent 3234026 A was issued, an invention of Morton William Coutts, for his “Process for the Manufacture of Beer, Ale and the Like.” There’s no Abstract, but according to the description, the “invention relates to a continuous method for the fermentation of brewery wort for the production of a portable non-distilled alcoholic beverage product. This application is a continuation of my application Serial No. 676,187, filed August 5, 1957 A major object of the invention is the provision of an improved process for the production of such products which will enable the production thereof with greatly decreased fermenting time than is possible by present processes and which will give better control of flavour at greatly decreased cost of manufacture.”
Today in 1994, US Patent 5282413 A was issued, an invention of Rene Sauvage, James Roget, Jean Amstutz, and Guy Flament, for their “Installation for Steeping Grains.” Here’s the Abstract:
Installation for steeping grains of the type comprising a tank (1) provided with a cylindrical lateral wall (2), with a bottom (3) and with a perforated platform (11) disposed at a certain distance from the bottom (3) and on which the grain rests in a layer of suitable thickness, the upper surface of this layer of grains being able to be levelled by a rotary system with raking arms (6) carrying blades and associated with a first motor (9) capable of rotating them, a second motor (10) being coupled to the system in order to make it vertically movable. This installation comprises removable connection making it possible to connect, mechanically and temporarily, the perforated platform (11) to the system with raking arms (6) and blades or directly to the second motor (10).
Today in 1966, US Patent 3232211 A was issued, an invention of William P. O’Malley, assigned to Malley Brewery Ltd. of Montreal, Canada, for his “Continuous Brewing Apparatus.” There’s no Abstract, but there’s this in the description.
The present apparatus is designed so as to incorporate all of the operations and techniques used in the batch process. Thus, by imparting continuity to the individual batch process operations, the result obtained is a continuous brewing process, which can perhaps best be described by the somewhat contradictory statement, that it is the batch process made continuous.
The continuous brewing process of the invention is accordingly based on the principles of batch processing, and it follows that for each unit of the batch process, there must be a corresponding unit for the continuous process.
Since the sequence and nature of the batch operations in any of its units are already established and Well defined, the design of the continuous unit is consequently limited and governed to some extent by the physical aspect of the batch operations for that unit.
As a result, the design of the present continuous unit was made around the operations existing in the batch unit, imparting the added factor of continuity to the operations without altering their character or nature in any way.
In order to duplicate the batch process while maintaining the desired continuity certain new apparatus must be provided to take the place of the apparatus where separate fillings, mixings, restings and withdrawal were necessary with the batch process. With this in mind the present invention provides such apparatus as will be described in more detail later and wherein a main feature resides in the construction of a combination mash and lauter tun designed specifically for continuous operation.
Today in 1989, US Patent 4801462 A was issued, an invention of Arthur Tonna, assigned to The Stroh Brewery Company, for his “Copper Heat Exchange Tubes.” Here’s the Abstract:
Wort, heated to boiling in a brew kettle, is continuously withdrawn from the brew kettle and passed through a copper heat exchange coil in an external heat exchanger. Hot combustion gases are discharged at high velocity into direct contact with the heat exchange coil to thereby heat the wort flowing through the coil to a temperature in the range of 220° to 240° F. The heated wort is then returned to the brew kettle and discharged at a location beneath the level of the wort in the kettle. The direct firing of the wort in the copper heat exchange coil provides improved flavor characteristics for the beer.
Today in 1968, US Patent 3366033 A was issued, an invention of Laurence Robert Bishop, assigned to Watney Combe Reid & Co Ltd, for his “Brewing of Beer.” There’s no Abstract, but the description states that the invention is not so much a new method for the brewing of beer — as the title suggests — but instead is “an apparatus for segregating lupulin from dried hops including a pin mill into which the dried hops are introduced and subjected to disintegration and means for conveying the disintegrated material from the pin mill to a sifting means in which the lupulin is sifted from the discarded plant tissue.”
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.”
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.
Today in 1985, US Patent 4494451 A was issued, an invention of John F. Hickey, for his “Brewing Apparatus.” Here’s the Abstract:
Brewing apparatus which comprises a first vessel including heating means, a second vessel including strainer means, a third vessel, and a valve means and pump arrangement by means of which the three vessels can be coupled as necessary for fluid transfer purposes so that the first vessel can be used firstly as a hot liquor tank to produce hot liquor which is transferred to the third vessel which serves firstly as a hot liquor container, from which in use the hot liquor is transferred to the second vessel wherein it is mashed with malt to produce a wort and which serves firstly as a mash tun, from which the wort is transferred to the first vessel therein to be heated with hops whereby the first vessel serves secondly as a brewing kettle from which the resultant brew is transferred to the third vessel which serves secondly as a fermenting vessel.
Today in 1887, US Patent 356323 A was issued, an invention of Franklin Leonard, for his “Machine for Picking and Separating Hops.” There’s no Abstract, and the description is hard to read, as well, but it’s a “new and improved Machine for Picking and Separating Hops from the Vines.”
Today in 2014, just one year ago, US Patent 20140017354 A1 was issued, an invention of James Joseph and Brandy Callanan, for their “Beer Brewing System and Method.” Here’s the Abstract:
The present subject matter relates to systems and methods for automated, whole grain brewing. In one configuration, such a system can include a base, a boil kettle positioned on the base, a first heating element in communication with the boil kettle and configured to selectively heat fluid contained in the boil kettle, and a mash tun positioned on the base, the mash tun configured to receive one or more solid or fluid materials therein. A pumping system positioned at least partially within the base can be connected to the boil kettle and the mash tun, the pumping system being operable to selectively pass fluid into, out of, and among the boil kettle and the mash tun. In addition, a control system can be positioned at least partially within the base and configured to selectively control the first heating element and the pumping system.
Essentially it’s an “automated, whole grain brewing system” for homebrewing, but you read a lot more about it in the description.