Beer Birthday: Sabine Weyermann

Today is the 59th birthday of Sabine Weyermann, co-owner of Weyermann Malting in Bamberg, Germany. If you’ve visited any of the Craft Brewers Conferences, you’ve no doubt seen the bright yellow and red of the specialty malting company, which is sold in the U.S. by the Brewers Supply Group. Sabine’s family began the Weyermann Malt company in 1879, although she can trace her family back at least as far as 1510. She’s an amazing person, and her malt has helped fuel many a small and large brewery. Join me in wishing Sabine a very happy birthday.

Sabine giving a presentation at their offices in Bamberg when I visited there in 2007.

CBC_San Diego_ 2012
Sabine and her husband Thomas Kraus-Weyermann at CBC in San Diego, 2012.

You can see the Weyermann Malting Brewer’s Star that Weyermann’s starting making at the top of my home office/guest house, which we call “The Brewhouse.”

Historic Beer Birthday: Louis Camille Maillard

Today is the birthday of French physician and chemist Louis Camille Maillard (February 4, 1878-May 12, 1936) who was the Doogie Howser of his era, joining the faculty of the University of Nancy when he was only sixteen. He rose to prominence thanks to his work on kidney disorders and later taught medicine at the prestigious University of Paris.


But his biggest contribution, especially to brewing, was an accidental discovery he made in 1912, which today we call the Maillard Reaction, or Browning Reaction.

Here’s the basic description, from Wikipedia:

The Maillard Reaction a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives browned food its desirable flavor. Seared steaks, pan-fried dumplings, biscuits (widely known in North America as cookies), breads, toasted marshmallows, and many other foods undergo this reaction. It is named after French chemist Louis-Camille Maillard, who first described it in 1912 while attempting to reproduce biological protein synthesis.

The reaction is a form of non-enzymatic browning which typically proceeds rapidly from around 140 to 165 °C (284 to 329 °F). At higher temperatures, caramelization and subsequently pyrolysis become more pronounced.

The reactive carbonyl group of the sugar reacts with the nucleophilic amino group of the amino acid, and forms a complex mixture of poorly characterized molecules responsible for a range of odors and flavors. This process is accelerated in an alkaline environment (e.g., lye applied to darken pretzels), as the amino groups (RNH3+) are deprotonated and, hence, have an increased nucleophilicity. The type of the amino acid determines the resulting flavor. This reaction is the basis of the flavoring industry. At high temperatures, a potential carcinogen called acrylamide can be formed.

In the process, hundreds of different flavor compounds are created. These compounds, in turn, break down to form yet more new flavor compounds, and so on. Each type of food has a very distinctive set of flavor compounds that are formed during the Maillard reaction. It is these same compounds that flavor scientists have used over the years to make reaction flavors.

It was, and is, for food science and understanding how heat and cooking create flavors. If you want to dive deeper, the Warwick Medical School has an article on the Historical Development of the reaction, and NPR’s Food for Thought on the centenary of Malliard’s discovery posted 100 Years Ago, Maillard Taught Us Why Our Food Tastes Better Cooked.

But it was also very important to brewing, too, especially when it comes to malting and roasting malt to get different flavors and colors in the beer. For example, here’s UC Davis professor Charlie Bamforth writing about the Malliard Reaction in his book Grape vs. Grain.


Not surprisingly, John Mallett, in his recent book Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse, mentions Malliard’s contributions to brewing science.


The chemistry website Compound Interest has a good explanation with their post, Food Chemistry – The Maillard Reaction.


And finally, Popular Science’s BeerSci series discusses the Maillard Reaction in How Beer Gets Its Color.

Patent No. 249332A: Mixture Or Grist For Brewing Purposes

Today in 1881, US Patent 249332 A was issued, an invention of Francis J. Geis, for his “Mixture or Grist for Brewing Purposes.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

My invention consists in a mixture or grist for brewing malt-liquors, composed of malt and cereals or grain having the cellulose or integument and germ or heart removed, the cereals or grain constituting from about twenty-five to fifty per centum, by weight, of the said mixture or grist.The cereals or grains thus treated have the oily and other objectionable matter removed, but contain the maximum amount of starch and the necessary albumenoids and gluten.

In carrying out my invention I prefer to remove the cellulose or integument and germ or heart of the cereals or grain by means of mechanism which is another invention of mine, and for which I intend to apply for Letters of Patent.

Before brewing I substitute for preferably from twenty-five to fifty per centum of the weight of malt ordinarily employed to produce a given quantity of the beverage alike weight of the prepared cereals or grain, and mix the two to form a grist. I then subject the combined mass of malt and cereals or grain to treatment by any suitable one of the usual methods employed in the manufacture of lager-beer, beer, ale, porter, or other malt-liquor, according as I desire to produce either of those beverages. I have found that one hundred pounds of the prepared cereals or grain will equal one hundred and thirty-six pounds of malt in extractor wort (the liquor that runs or is produced before fermentation) for the beverage, and as the prepared cereals or grain are much the cheaper,it is obvious that by means of employing this substitute I very materially cheapen the cost of the beverage. A larger and better quality of yeast of a uniform and vigorous character also results from the use of the prepared cereals or grain.


Patent No. 936011A: Apparatus For Making Malt

Today in 1909, US Patent 936011 A was issued, an invention of George J. Meyer, for his “Apparatus For Making Malt.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

Heretofore malting has usually been effected by tumbling barley or other grain around in rotatable drums or turning the same over periodically by hand or mechanical shovels while the same is supported in thin horizontal layers on a floor or in shallow boxes. None of these systems utilize the overhead space in the rooms of malt houses and therefore are not economical in this respect,

One of the objects of this invention is to utilize this overhead space to the fullest extent and thereby increase the malting capacity of a building of certain dimensions.

My invention has the further object to simplify the means whereby malting is effected so as to reduce the cost thereof and also insure a more thorough mixing of the barley from time to time during the malting operation so as to insure a more uniform product.


Patent No. 4165388A: Torrefied Barley For Brewer’s Mashes

Today in 1979, US Patent 4165388 A was issued, an invention of Robert D. Bryce, for his “Torrefied Barley For Brewer’s Mashes.” Here’s the Abstract:

Torrefied, expanded barley for use as a partial replacement for malt in brewer’s mashes is prepared by heating unmalted barley having a protein content of at least about 12% to a temperature sufficient to expand the barley to a degree that a given volume of barley before heating weights about 1.4 to about 1.75 times the weight of the same volume of barley after heating. Before heating, the unmalted barley preferably has a moisture content of about 12% to 20% by weight.


Patent No. RE10509E: Mash Cooler

Today in 1884, US Patent RE10509 E was issued, an invention of Frederick O. Kunz, for his “Mash Cooler.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

This invention relates to an apparatus for cooling mash to the fermentation temperature, which is simple in construction, effective in operation, and capable of being thoroughly cleaned with facility. The apparatus comprises a vertical column or chamber, which is traversed by a series of water conducting pipes, and is provided with detachable outer walls and doors for gaining access into the interior of the column and the tubes, for cleaning and other purposes. The water-tubes extend through the shell of the vertical column and lead into small non-communicating chambers formed between the shell of the cooler and the outer walls. The object of these chambers is to cause the water circulating through the tubes in an upward 0 direction to take a circuitous or zigzag course and flow out at the top of the cooler. The mash to be cooled flows into the cooler at the top thereof, and is strained and thrown down over the pipes in the form of a shower, and it makes its exit at the bottom of the cooler and passes through a vertical stand-pipe and escapes at the top of the latter, being then of a temperature suitable for immediate fermentation in the customary fermenters.


Patent No. 3897569A: Malting

Today in 1975, US Patent 3897569 A was issued, an invention of Ronald Horgan, for his “Malting.” Here’s the Abstract:

An improved malting process comprises the steps of steeping barley or other cereal grain to initiate germination thereof, subjecting the germinated grain to a treatment to restrict further growth and respiration of the grain, and malting the grain in a relatively short period. The treatment may be a mechanical treatment such as pumping the grain in water, or it may be a temperature or chemical treatment. The subsequent malting may be carried out at a temperature between 20 DEG and 40 DEG C and the malting period is less than 48 hours.


Patent No. 456872A: Process Of Manufacturing Malt

Today in 1891, US Patent 456872 A was issued, an invention of Frederick W. Wiesebrock, for his “Process of Manufacturing Malt.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

It is the purpose of my invention to provide a novel process for the manufacture of malt to be used in the production of fermented liquors, said process being of such a character that it may be practiced at all seasons of the year. It is my purpose, also, to materially cheapen the production of malt, to render the same independent of skilled labor, and to produce more uniform and better results than have been attainable heretofore.


Patent No. 3679431A: Wort Production

Today in 1972, US Patent 3679431 A was issued, an invention of David Henry Clayton and John Karkalas, for their “Wort Production.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

This invention is concerned with improvements in or relating to wort production.

– Wort contains in addition to fermentable carbohydrates, soluble nitrogeneous compounds. Barley malt is the traditional raw material for the production of wort since it provides a source of carbohydrates and “nitrogen com pounds and in addition provides the enzymes capable of degrading the carbohydrates and nitrogen compounds to the soluble components of wort.

Malt is manufactured from e.g. barley by the process of malting. This consists of first germinating and then drying barley grain under controlled conditions.

The manufacture of malt is expensive because (1) large capital investments are necessary for the malting machinery, (2) a skilled labour force is required to operate the malting machines, (3) malt can only be made successfully from the higher qualities of barley which are expensive and (4) during the malting process a physical loss in dry matter occurs; this is known as the malting loss.

It is an object of the invention to provide an improved method of producing a wort in which the use of barley malt is reduced or virtually eliminated.

We have found that wort may be produced by treating an aqueous slurry of starch and protein-containing plant material for example unmalted cereal grain e.g. It appears that said hydrodynamic conditions result in the formation of a homogeneous mass very suitable for the action of the starch liquefying enzyme. Examples of starch and protein-containing plant materials other than cereals include roots, fungi material and by-products of processes to which ‘cereals have been subjected.

Examples of suitable materials include tapioca and rice, as well as wheat, barley and maize.

The invention provides a method of producing wort from an aqueous slurry of starch and protein-containing plant material comprising the steps of liquefying starch by treating the slurry with a commercial starch liquefying enzyme subjecting the slurry to hydrodynamic conditions such that a substantial thixotropic reduction of viscosity is produced by shearing forces in the slurry to facilitate the action of the starch liquefying enzyme prior to any substantial reduction of viscosity resulting from the enzymatic liquefaction converting starch to sugar by treatment with a saccharifying enzyme and converting protein to soluble nitrogen-containing compounds by treatment with a proteolytic enzyme.

The invention also provides wort when produced by a method as set out in the last preceding paragraph.

The invention also provides a process for brewing beer including such a method.

The invention also provides beer when produced by such a process.

The invention also provides a process of producing a concentrated wort syrup by concentrating wort produced by such a method.

The invention also provides a concentrated wort syrup when produced by such a process.


Patent No. 2683594A: Grain Drying Machine

Today in 1954, US Patent 2683594 A was issued, an invention of Harvey J. Davis and Eugene Martenson, for their “Grain Drying Machine.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

Our invention relates to improvements in grain drying machines for small grain, especially oats, wheat, rye, barley and corn.

The primary object of our invention is to provide an efficient portable machine for removing, under the action of heat a sufficient amount of moisture from such grain to prevent molding, but, without damaging the grain as regards germination, color, odor, or taste.

Another object is to accomplish the above while agitating the grain so that it will be uniformly but slowly dried under the action of heat at a low temperature.

Still another object is to provide a machine for the above purposes which is economical to manufacture, use and service, and easily cleaned.