Patent No. 700833A: Manufacture Of Fermented Liquors

Today in 1902, US Patent 700833 A was issued, an invention of Joseph Schneible, for his “Manufacture of Fermented Liquors.” There’s no Abstract, though it’s described this way in the application:

This invention relates particularly to the carrying on of the fermentation of liquors such as malt beverages, for example and to the culture, propagation, and separation of yeast for further use As the fermentation of such liquors is now commonly practiced the yeast propagated for further use is separated and collected under conditions which are liable to result in contamination of the yeast by contact with air,usually teeming with wild ferments and very often with fungi, and in subsequent injury to the finished product.

It is the object of this invention to provide for the carrying on of the fermentation and the separation of the yeast in such a manner as to avoid exposure of either yeast or liquor to such contaminating and injurious influences, while at the same time the fermentation is carried on under practically normal conditions as to pressure.-

In accordance with this invention the newly-fermented liquor containing the yeast in suspension for further inoculation is transferred from the vessel in which the fermentation was carried on to a clean vessel, in which the separation of the yeast intended for further work from the liquor takes place and from which the liquor is withdrawn, thereby leaving the yeast in the clean vessel. The further quantity of liquor to be fermented is then introduced into the vessel containing the yeast and is inoculated thereby,thus avoiding altogether the removal of the yeast from the vessel in which the same has been allowed to separate from the fermented liquor and avoiding its exposure to the contaminating influences above referred to. This process is carried on successively in the manner referred to, the newly-fermented liquor being transferred from the vessel in which the inoculation has taken place and the main fermentation was carried on to a clean vessel, as before.


Patent No. 1760071A: Centrifugal Separator

Today in 1930, US Patent 1760071 A was issued, an invention of Henry George Koepke, for his “Centrifugal Separator.” There’s no Abstract, though it’s described this way in the application:

My invention relates to centrifugal separators of the discharge nozzle conical type, primarily constructed for the separation of yeast from most of the associated liquids in which it has been’ propagated.


Patent No. 5906151A: Apparatus And Method For Brewing An Alcoholic Beverage

Today in 1999, US Patent 5906151 A was issued, an invention of Adam Firestone, Jeffers Richardson, Donald E. Othman, and Michel A. Blom, assigned to Firestone Walker, LLC, for their “Apparatus And Method For Brewing An Alcoholic Beverage and Beverage Brewed by Same.” Here’s the Abstract:

An apparatus for brewing an alcoholic beverage includes a plurality of wooden barrels including at least one first wooden barrel, at least one second wooden barrel, and at least one third wooden barrel; an enclosed trough; a plurality of first conduits providing flow communication between each of the plurality of wooden barrels and the enclosed trough; an enclosed catch pot in flow communication with the enclosed trough; a plurality of second conduits providing flow communication between the enclosed catch pot and each of the plurality of wooden barrels; and devices, such as valves, for controlling flow between each of the plurality of wooden barrels and the second conduit. The at least one first wooden barrel is a new barrel that has been filled with an alcoholic beverage up to 5 times, the at least one second wooden barrel is a middle aged barrel that has been filled with an alcoholic beverage from 6 to 12 times, and the at least one third wooden barrel is an old barrel that has been filled with an alcoholic beverage from 13 to 30 times.

This is essentially a patent for Firestone Walker’s modified Burton Union System that they pioneered when they first started, and then scaled-up when they bought the old SLO Brewery in Paso Robles and increased the size of their beer production. Jeffers, of course, is still there is the Barrelmeister, or Director of the Firestone Walker Barrelworks. That system is one of only two such brewing systems left in the world, the other being at Marston’s in Burton-on-Trent in England.

Here’s a few photos of the system at the Paso Robles brewery in 2012.



5,000-Year-Old Beer Recipe Found In China

There was exciting news yesterday about a find in China by a research team from Stanford University. According to one source, “Archaeologists have discovered what they believe to be the earliest direct evidence of beer brewing in China, a trove of beer-making equipment dating from between 3400 and 2900 BCE, discovered at the Mijiaya site in Shaanxi province. Along with this archaeological find, scientists conducted an analysis of residue on the ancient pottery, jars, and funnels found, revealing a surprising recipe for the beer.” Their findings will be published in the PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).

Here’s the abstract:

The pottery vessels from the Mijiaya site reveal, to our knowledge, the first direct evidence of in situ beer making in China, based on the analyses of starch, phytolith, and chemical residues. Our data reveal a surprising beer recipe in which broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum), barley (Hordeum vulgare), Job’s tears (Coix lacryma-jobi), and tubers were fermented together. The results indicate that people in China established advanced beer-brewing technology by using specialized tools and creating favorable fermentation conditions around 5,000 y ago. Our findings imply that early beer making may have motivated the initial translocation of barley from the Western Eurasia into the Central Plain of China before the crop became a part of agricultural subsistence in the region 3,000 y later.



This research reveals a 5,000-y-old beer recipe in which broomcorn millet, barley, Job’s tears, and tubers were fermented together. To our knowledge, our data provide the earliest direct evidence of in situ beer production in China, showing that an advanced beer-brewing technique was established around 5,000 y ago. For the first time, to our knowledge, we are able to identify the presence of barley in archaeological materials from China by applying a recently developed method based on phytolith morphometrics, predating macrobotanical remains of barley by 1,000 y. Our method successfully distinguishes the phytoliths of barley from those of its relative species in China.

I’m not sure how that squares with Chateau Jiahu, the beer made by Dogfish Head based on a 9,000-year-old find in China, from Northern China. They also found preserved pottery jars “in the Neolithic village of Jiahu, in Henan province.” The difference, as far as I can tell is the ingredients themselves, although in both they do use barley. This beer recipe calls for broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum), barley (Hordeum vulgare), Job’s tears (Coix lacryma-jobi), and tubers to be fermented, whereas the earlier one from Jiahu used “pre-gelatinized rice flakes, Wildflower honey, Muscat grapes, barley malt, hawthorn fruit, and Chrysanthemum flowers.” So their claim that this is older seems suspect unless there’s some qualifier I’m missing. As is typical, academic papers are only available online if you’re already an academic or are willing to pay to look at it for a short period of time, so I’ve not been able to look at their full claims or at the recipe itself, except what’s been written about it by more mainstream news outlets.

According to Gizmodo’s coverage:

Step aside with your claims to long legacies, craft breweries! This reconstructed beer recipe is over 5,000 years old. It’s the earliest beer recipe—and the earliest known use of barley—in China.

Archaeologists at Stanford University, while digging along China’s Wei River, made an intriguing discovery: A marvelously complete set of brewing equipment. And at the bottom of that equipment was something even more wonderful: Residue from the drink it once brewed.

After scrapping that gunk from the pots, researchers analyzed it and confirmed that it was, indeed, leftover froth from a 5,000-year-old beer. They were also able to pin down the recipe of that beer to an unlikely, but delicious-sounding, combination of broomcorn millet, barley, Job’s tears, and tubers.

So they claim, or rather Stanford claims, this is “the earliest known use of barley in China.” I didn’t think that the Chateau Jiahu added the barley to the original recipe, which was developed with the Patrick McGovern from the University of Pennsylvania, and I have a call into Dogfish Head to find out. But failing that, there’s a 4,000-year difference in the two claims that it seems hard for me to believe the Sanford team wouldn’t have uncovered.

The report from CBS News calls the barley a “secret ingredient,” which seems really odd, but seems to reflect the surprise of the researchers on this project. But McGovern’s find in the Jiahu area of China is more than ten years old, and got considerable media attention when the modern version of the beer was first released in 2007, so again I’m not sure a) how they could have missed it or b) what makes this find different, and if it is why none of the news reports are addressing that difference. Some news outlets, such as IFL Science, do mention that beer is older than 5,000 years, which is fairly well-known. Whether it was known in China at the very beginning, as it was in the fertile crescent seems to be gaining ground as a theory.

Although most of the paper is unavailable, there is supplemental information that is available, and that does give some information about the brewing process:



Historic Beer Birthday: Eduard Buchner

Today is the birthday of Eduard Buchner (May 20, 1860-August 13, 1917). Buchner was a German chemist and zymologist, and was awarded with Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1907 for his work on fermentation.


This is a short biography from The Famous People:

Born into an educationally distinguished family, Buchner lost his father when he was barely eleven years old. His elder brother, Hans Buchner, helped him to get good education. However, financial crisis forced Eduard to give up his studies for a temporary phase and he spent this period working in preserving and canning factory. Later, he resumed his education under well-known scientists and very soon received his doctorate degree. He then began working on chemical fermentation. However, his experience at the canning factory did not really go waste. Many years later while working with his brother at the Hygiene Institute at Munich he remembered how juices were preserved by adding sugar to it and so to preserve the protein extract from the yeast cells, he added a concentrated doze of sucrose to it. What followed is history. Sugar in the presence of enzymes in the yeast broke into carbon dioxide and alcohol. Later he identified the enzyme as zymase. This chance discovery not only brought him Nobel Prize in Chemistry, but also brought about a revolution in the field of biochemistry.


Eduard Buchner is best remembered for his discovery of zymase, an enzyme mixture that promotes cell free fermentation. However, it was a chance discovery. He was then working in his brother’s laboratory in Munich trying to produce yeast cell free extracts, which the latter wanted to use in an application for immunology.

To preserve the protein in the yeast cells, Eduard Buchner added concentrated sucrose to it. Bubbles began to form soon enough. He realized that presence of enzymes in the yeast has broken down sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Later, he identified this enzyme as zymase and showed that it can be extracted from yeast cells. This single discovery laid the foundation of modern biochemistry.


One of the most important aspects of his discovery proving that extracts from yeast cells could elicit fermentation is that it “contradicted a claim by Louis Pasteur that fermentation was an ‘expression of life’ and could occur only in living cells. Pasteur’s claim had put a decades-long brake on progress in fermentation research, according to an introductory speech at Buchner’s Nobel presentation. With Buchner’s results, “hitherto inaccessible territories have now been brought into the field of chemical research, and vast new prospects have been opened up to chemical science.”

In his studies, Buchner gathered liquid from crushed yeast cells. Then he demonstrated that components of the liquid, which he referred to as “zymases,” could independently produce alcohol in the presence of sugar. “Careful investigations have shown that the formation of carbon dioxide is accompanied by that of alcohol, and indeed in just the same proportions as in fermentation with live yeast,” Buchner noted in his Nobel speech.


This is a fuller biography from the Nobel Prize organization:

Eduard Buchner was born in Munich on May 20, 1860, the son of Dr. Ernst Buchner, Professor Extraordinary of Forensic Medicine and physician at the University, and Friederike née Martin.

He was originally destined for a commercial career but, after the early death of his father in 1872, his older brother Hans, ten years his senior, made it possible for him to take a more general education. He matriculated at the Grammar School in his birth-place and after a short period of study at the Munich Polytechnic in the chemical laboratory of E. Erlenmeyer senior, he started work in a preserve and canning factory, with which he later moved to Mombach on Mainz.

The problems of chemistry had greatly attracted him at the Polytechnic and in 1884 he turned afresh to new studies in pure science, mainly in chemistry with Adolf von Baeyer and in botany with Professor C. von Naegeli at the Botanic Institute, Munich.

It was at the latter, where he studied under the special supervision of his brother Hans (who later became well-known as a bacteriologist), that his first publication, Der Einfluss des Sauerstoffs auf Gärungen (The influence of oxygen on fermentations) saw the light in 1885. In the course of his research in organic chemistry he received special assistance and stimulation from T. Curtius and H. von Pechmann, who were assistants in the laboratory in those days.

The Lamont Scholarship awarded by the Philosophical Faculty for three years made it possible for him to continue his studies.

After one term in Erlangen in the laboratory of Otto Fischer, where meanwhile Curtius had been appointed director of the analytical department, he took his doctor’s degree in the University of Munich in 1888. The following year saw his appointment as Assistant Lecturer in the organic laboratory of A. von Baeyer, and in 1891 Lecturer at the University.

By means of a special monetary grant from von Baeyer, it was possible for Buchner to establish a small laboratory for the chemistry of fermentation and to give lectures and perform experiments on chemical fermentations. In 1893 the first experiments were made on the rupture of yeast cells; but because the Board of the Laboratory was of the opinion that “nothing will be achieved by this” – the grinding of the yeast cells had already been described during the past 40 years, which latter statement was confirmed by accurate study of the literature – the studies on the contents of yeast cells were set aside for three years.

In the autumn of 1893 Buchner took over the supervision of the analytical department in T. Curtius’ laboratory in the University of Kiel and established himself there, being granted the title of Professor in 1895.

In 1896 he was called as Professor Extraordinary for Analytical and Pharmaceutical Chemistry in the chemical laboratory of H. von Pechmann at the University of Tübingen.

During the autumn vacation in the same year his researches into the contents of the yeast cell were successfully recommenced in the Hygienic Institute in Munich, where his brother was on the Board of Directors. He was now able to work on a larger scale as the necessary facilities and funds were available.

On January 9, 1897, it was possible to send his first paper, Über alkoholische Gärung ohne Hefezellen (On alcoholic fermentation without yeast cells), to the editors of the Berichte der Deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft.

In October, 1898, he was appointed to the Chair of General Chemistry in the Agricultural College in Berlin and he also held lectureships on agricultural chemistry and agricultural chemical experiments as well as on the fermentation questions of the sugar industry. In order to obtain adequate assistance for scientific research, and to be able to fully train his assistants himself, he became habilitated at the University of Berlin in 1900.

In 1909 he was transferred to the University of Breslau and from there, in 1911, to Würzburg. The results of Buchner’s discoveries on the alcoholic fermentation of sugar were set forth in the book Die Zymasegärung (Zymosis), 1903, in collaboration with his brother Professor Hans Buchner and Martin Hahn. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1907 for his biochemical investigations and his discovery of non-cellular fermentation.

Buchner married Lotte Stahl in 1900. When serving as a major in a field hospital at Folkschani in Roumania, he was wounded on August 3, 1917. Of these wounds received in action at the front, he died on the 13th of the same month.


Patent No. 257977A: Beer Chip

Today in 1882, US Patent 257977 A was issued, an invention of Bernard Rice, for his “Beer Chip.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

My said invention relates to the chips or shavings employed by brewers for clarifying the beer in vats or thus previous to kegging it. These chips consist of beechwood, by preference, and have heretofore been used in the form of thick shavings, or of sawed lath-like chips, straight and flat, or of a mixture of the two. Grave objections lie to either form, which it is the design of my invention to obviate. The shavings invariably break in numerous places on the convex side, form ing interstices into which the particles of yeast and impurities settle, rendering it impossible to properly cleanse the shavings in the usual revolving washers. The sawed chips, while not open to this objection, are deficient in superficies, are liable to pack and stick together, and on the whole are inferior to the shavings. The desideratum is a shaving or chip having a large superficies, curved so as not to pack nor adhere to other chips, tough enough to withstand the agitation in the washer without breaking, and one which will not mildew when kept in stock. Such a chip I have succeeded in preparing, and that at a cost less than that of the chips as heretofore made. In practice I cut a sheet of veneer from a revolving login the usual way, choosing by preference the inner portion of the log, which is free from knots, and comparatively free from resin, and thoroughly dry the sheet. Either before or after drying I cut it into chips about eighteen inches long by one and a quarter inch wide, and pass them between heated calender rolls. This process has the effect to compact the fiber and prevent the chips from becoming soggy and sinking in the vats, to toughen them and prevent them from breaking in the cask or washer, and it gives them a. permanent curvature, so that they never straighten out. It also increases the density of the wood, rendering it of substantially the same specific gravity as the beer, whereby the chips do not tend to float exclusively at the surface, but remain suspended in the beer. The calendering, furthermore, dries out the sap and resin.

In order to insure a proper bending of the chips, an extra roller or bender may be attached to the calendering machine; but that is not essential. The rolls may also have embossed figures or lines, so as to indent the chips and increase their superficies.


Historic Beer Birthday: Emil Christian Hansen

Today is the birthday of Emil Christian Hansen (May 8, 1842-August 27, 1909). Hansen was a “Danish botanist who revolutionized beer-making through development of new ways to culture yeast. Born poor in Ribe, Denmark, he financed his education by writing novels. Though he never reached an M.Sc., in 1876, he received a gold medal for an essay on fungi, entitled “De danske Gjødningssvampe.” In 1879, he became superintendent of the Carlsberg breweries. In 1883, he successfully developed a cultivated yeast that revolutionized beer-making around the world, because Hansen by refusing to patent his method made it freely available to other brewers. He also proved there are different species of yeast. Hansen separated two species: Saccharomyces cerevisiae, an over-yeast (floating on the surface of the fermenting beer) and Saccharomyces carlsbergensis, an under-yeast (laying on the bottom of the liquid).


Here’s his entry from Encyclopedia Britannica:

Danish botanist who revolutionized the brewing industry by his discovery of a new method of cultivating pure strains of yeast.

Hansen, who began his working life as a journeyman house painter, received a Ph.D. in 1877 from the University of Copenhagen. Two years later he was appointed head of the physiology department at the Carlsberg Laboratory in Copenhagen, where he remained until his death. His research was concerned mainly with yeasts that convert carbohydrates to alcohol, and in 1888 he published an article that described his method for obtaining pure cultures of yeast. The yeast grown from these single strains was widely adopted in the bottom-fermentation brewing industries. Further investigations led him to the discovery of a number of species of yeast. He defined the characters of the different species and devised a system of classification. After further study he devised additional methods for the culture and isolation of certain species.

Emil Hansen as a young man.

This is how Carlsberg describes Hansen’s breakthrough in 1883:

The Carlsberg Laboratory made its first major scientific breakthrough when Dr. Emil Chr. Hansen developed a method for propagating pure yeast.

Fluctuations in the beer quality were not unknown at the time, but had until then been solved by thorough cleaning of all installations after suspension of production. If a brew failed, there was no use in pasteurising it; it had to be destroyed.

In 1883, the Old Carlsberg beer got infected with the beer disease and all efforts were made to find a solution to the problem.

Dr. Emil Chr. Hansen who joined the Carlsberg Laboratory in 1878 was examining the beer, and he found that it contained wild yeast. Through his studies and analyses, he discovered that only a few types of yeast (the pure yeast) are suitable for brewing, and he developed a technique to separate the pure yeast from the wild yeast cells. The problem had been solved, and the new Carlsberg yeast – Saccharomyces Carlsbergensis – was applied in the brewing process.

The propagating method revolutionised the brewing industry. Rather than to patent the process, Carlsberg published it with a detailed explanation so that anyone could build propagation equipment and use the method. Samples of the yeast – Saccharomyces Carlsbergensis – were sent to breweries around the world by request and young brewers came to Carlsberg to learn the skills.


This is the entry from Wikipedia on the history of Saccharomyces Carlsbergensis:

So-called bottom fermenting strains of brewing yeast were described as early as the 14th century in Nuremberg and have remained an indispensable part of both Franconian and Bavarian brewing culture in southern Germany through modern times. During the explosion of scientific mycological studies in the 19th century, the yeast responsible for producing these so-called “bottom fermentations” was finally given a taxonomical classification, Saccharomyces pastorianus, by the German Max Reess in 1870.

In 1883 the Dane Emil Hansen published the findings of his research at the Carlsberg brewery in Copenhagen and described the isolation of a favourable pure yeast culture that he labeled “Unterhefe Nr. I” (bottom-fermenting yeast no. 1), a culture that he identified as identical to the sample originally donated to Carlsberg in 1845 by the Spaten Brewery of Munich. This yeast soon went into industrial production in Copenhagen in 1884 as Carlberg yeast no. 1.

In 1904 Hansen published an important body of work where he reclassified the separate yeasts he worked with in terms of species, rather than as races or strains of the same species as he had previously done. Here Hansen classified a separate species of yeast isolated from the Carlsberg brewery as S. pastorianus, a name derived from and attributed to Reess 1870. This strain was admitted to the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures (CBS) in 1935 as strain CBS 1538, Saccharomyces pastorianus Reess ex Hansen 1904. In a further publication in 1908, Hansen reclassified the original “Unterhefe Nr. I” as the new species Saccharomyces carlsbergensis and another yeast “Unterhefe Nr. II” as the new species Saccharomyces monacensis. The taxonomy was attributed to Hansen 1908 and the yeasts entered into the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures in 1947 as CBS 1513 and CBS 1503 respectively.

Since the early 1900s, bottom-fermenting strains of brewery yeast have been typically classified as S. carlbergensis in scientific literature, and the earlier valid name assigned to a bottom-fermenting yeast by Reess in 1870 was rejected without merit. This situation was rectified using DNA-DNA reallocation techniques in 1985 when Vaughan-Martini & Kurtzman returned the species name to S. pastorianus under the type strain CBS 1538 and relegated the two former species assigned by Hansen in 1908, S. carlsbergensis CBS 1513 and S. monacensis CBS 1503, to the status of synonyms. These experiments also clearly revealed the hybrid nature of the lager brewing yeast species for the first time, even though one of the parental species was incorrectly classified in retrospect. Nonetheless, over the last decades of the 20th century, debate continued in scientific literature regarding the correct taxon, with authors using both names interchangeably to describe lager yeast.


Although most accounts mention that he wrote novels to put himself through school, one has a slightly different take, though I’m not sure how true it is. “Emil earned his bread and butter as a painter but he yearned for another life and left Ribe so he could study. He graduated from High School relatively late – he was 29 years old.”


Emil Christian Hansen, taken in 1908, a year before his death.

Patent No. WO2006046879A2: Method Of Making Colorless And Artificially Colored Clear Beer

Today in 2006, US Patent WO 2006046879 A2 was issued, an invention of Alberto D. Rivera, Emiliano S. Macapugay, Jade Y. De Carlos, assigned to the San Miguel Corporation, for their “Method of Making Colorless and Artificially Colored Clear Beer.” Here’s the Abstract:

This invention is directed to a method of preparing a colorless and artificially colored, clear beer through adsorption process by contacting the wort with activated carbon during wort boiling. This method produces a colorless, clear beer with originally processed inherent taste and aroma utilizing existing brewery process and equipment. Artificially colored, clear beer such as primary- colored beer, which can be conveniently produced using the colorless, clear product is also disclosed.


Of course, Miller Brewing tried their hand at something similar with their Miller Clear beer, which they tested in 1993. And of course, there was Coors Brewing’s Zima, released a little before that, although they referred to it as a “malt beverage” rather than a beer.


Patent No. WO1996012669A1: Method And Apparatus For Enhancing A Beverage Head

Today in 1996, US Patent WO 1996012669 A1 was issued, an invention of Alexander Richard Dunn and John Cooke, assigned to Scottish & Newcastle Plc, for their “Method and Apparatus For Enhancing a Beverage Head.” Here’s the Abstract:

A gas jetting apparatus is used to jet a fine jet of gas through an orifice at a nozzle (18) into a beverage, for example beer, to promote formation of a creamy head. This apparatus may be incorporated into a beverage dispenser, for example a beer tap which dispenses draught beer.

And includes the following description:

“Method and Apparatus for Enhancing a Beverage Head”

This invention relates to a method and apparatus for enhancing a beverage head, particularly, but not exclusively, a head on a draught beer dispensed from a tap.

Sparklers are sometimes used to agitate a flow of beer as it is dispensed from a beer tap; this can promote frothing of the beer and contribute to formation of a head on the dispensed beer. It is also known to provide a single use secondary chamber within a sealed, pressurised beer can from which gas and/or beverage is jetted into beer within the can when the can is opened.

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of promoting formation of a beverage head, comprising jetting a fine jet of gas derived from a gas source through at least one orifice and into a dispensed beverage.

The method may form or assist in the formation of a head.

The beverage may be dispensed from a tap; it may be a draught beverage.

The gas may be jetted into the beverage once the beverage has been dispensed. Alternatively or additionally, the gas may be jetted into the beverage whilst the beverage is being dispensed, it may be jetted into a stream of beverage.

Patent No. 426965A: Beer-Filtering Apparatus

Today in 1890, US Patent 426965 A was issued, an invention of Phillip Seibel, for his “Beer-Filtering Apparatus.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This filtering apparatus is intended especially for beer or other liquids liable to foam, and has means for the removal of the foam into a settling-chamber, from which the liquid is withdrawn as it subsides. The apparatus is composed of two or more similar filters connected with the same system of circulating pipes.