Patent No. 1302549A: Process For Brewing Beer

Today in 1919, US Patent 1302549 A was issued, an invention of Herman Hausen, for his “Process For Brewing Beer.” There’s no Abstract, but as Prohibition began, the invention was specifically for non-alcoholic beer to satisfy demand for at least the taste of beer once the regular kind was outlawed. Here’s a fuller explanation.

My invention relates to the manufacture of non-alcoholic beer, of beer containing less than one-half of one percent of alcohol, and of temperance beer. In the processes heretofore employed for making such beverages, the de-alcoholizing occurs by distillation of the alcohol after the liquid vis fermented or the beer brewed. These old processes involve certain disadvantages which are obviated by my invention, which, generally speaking, consists in simultaneously boiling and fermenting the beer wort in a vacuum and within the range of beer fermentation temperatures at which the activity of the yeast is not destroyed to evaporate the alcohol and preserve live yeast in In the accompanying drawing I show more or less diagrammatically and mostly in sectional view all the apparatus required to carry out my new process.


Patent No. 2468840A: Heater For Wort Kettles

Today in 1949, US Patent 2468840 A was issued, an invention of Robert C. Schock, for his “Heater For Wort Kettles.” There’s no Abstract, but in the description it states that the “invention relates to means and methods of heating wort prior to its use in the making of beer.” A little later on, they add that the “invention comprises a heating unit having varying heat units supplied to it for their exchange with a mass to be heated, and to keep said mass heated, such exchange taking place at relatively lower temperatures, then at relatively higher temperatures, and then again at lower temperatures, the latter if desired.”

Patent No. 3729321A: Preparation Of Beer

Today in 1973, US Patent 3729321 A was issued, an invention of N.L. Vacano, assigned to Rainier Companies, for their “Preparation Of Beer.” There’s no Abstract, but the description summarizes it. “This invention relates to the production of beer. More particularly, this invention is concerned with improvements in the process of producing beer starting with the wort, fermenting the wort with yeast to form green beer, aging of the beer and the subsequent finishing operation, as Well as improved apparatus for producing beer.”

Patent No. 4659662A: Batch Fermentation Process

Today in 1987, US Patent 4659662 A was issued, an invention of Win-Pen Hsu, assigned to J. E. Siebel Sons’ Company, Inc., for his “Batch Fermentation Process.” Here’s the Abstract:

Ethanol and fermented beverages such as beer or wine are produced in a batch process by contacting a fermentable substrate with yeast cells encapsulated within a porous, semi-permeable material. Contacting is carrier out in a vessel containing the substrate and a semi-permeable retaining means submerged in the substrate. Encapsulated yeast cells are maintained below the retaining means and in contact with the substrate during fermentation while being freely movable in a portion of the substrate. The retaining means is permeable to the substrate and is substantially impermeable to the encapsulated yeast cells. Preferably, the matrix encapsulating the yeast cells is an alginate gel.


Patent No. 1581918A: Production Of Fermentable Worts

Today in 1926, US Patent 1581918 A was issued, an invention of William Hastings Campbell, for his “Production of Fermentable Worts.” There’s no Abstract, but the description states that “This invention relates to the production of fermentable worts, the production of industrial alcohol and the cultivation of yeast, and has for its object to provide improvements therein.” Here’s a bit more.

The invention consists broadly in the process of producing fermentable worts and the cultivation of yeast which comprises introducing the liquor component of the wort and the solid material from which the fermentable bodies are derived into apparatus in which a plurality of superimposed inclinable diaphragms are arranged, allowing the solid material to settle on the diaphragms, withdrawing the wort and discharging the solid material from the apparatus after a suitable washing operation to extract the soluble bodies mechanically held thereby.


Patent No. 5304384A: Rapid Cooling

Today in 1994, US Patent 5304384 A was issued, an invention of Cameron R. Murray and William J. Van der Meer, assigned to Labatt Brewing Company Limited, for their “Rapid Cooling.” Here’s the Abstract:

A process for preparing a fermented malt beverage wherein brewing materials are mashed with water and the resulting mash is heated and wort separated therefrom. The wort is boiled, cooled and fermented and the beer is subjected to a finishing stage, which includes aging, to produce the final beverage. The improvement comprises subjecting the beer to a cold stage comprising rapidly cooling the beer to a temperature of about its freezing point in such a manner that ice crystals are formed therein in only minimal amounts. The resulting cooled beer is then mixed for a short period of time with a beer slurry containing ice crystals, without any appreciable collateral increase in the amount of ice crystals in the resulting mixture. Finally, the so-treated beer is extracted from the mixture.


The Incredible Beerable Egg

One of the highlights of this years Craft Brewers Conference in Portland was a potential innovation in brewing undertaken by Alan Sprints at Hair of the Dog Brewing. Alan posted a picture of his newest fermenter arriving to be displayed at the trade show, with Steve Rosenblatt from Sonoma Cast Stone, who manufactured the concrete fermenter.


I was immediately intrigued and finding it in the trade show was one of my first missions of CBC. It turns out it was made in Petaluma, which is just down the road from where I live. The company has been making concrete fermenters for the wine industry, but this is the first one they’ve made for a commercial brewer. They have a separate website for this part of their business, Concrete Beer Tanks.


There’s two sizes, the Amphora, which is 320 gallons and the one Hair of the Dog ordered, which is the Egg Shape, which is 476 gallons (or just over 15 barrels).


Their brochure lists the benefits of a concrete fermenter:

  • Concrete has natural temperature stability, and our tanks offer an optional, embedded glycol system for precise control.
  • Concrete allows the design of organic shapes, promoting convectional fermentation flow with no corners for fluid to pocket or stagnate.
  • The porosity of concrete allows for micro-oxygenation to aid in initiating the fermentation process.


Apparently the wine industry has been using these increasingly in recent years, but they have been used for centuries prior to the advent of stainless steel. Just a quick search reveals quite a few articles about their growing use in winemaking. For example, in Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Wines and Vines, Seattle Magazine and the North Bay Business Journal. And there’s at least one other domestic manufacturer, Vino Vessel and a German company, Speidel, that makes a Gärei Fermentegg, or Fermentation Egg.


Here’s how Speidel describes their fermentation egg:

The organic fermentation in the egg-form is based on the golden ratio without corners and edges. Wine, beer and cider could move fluently during the fermentation and storage. This gentle process guarantees on keeping the completely development of the product. The idea of fermentation or aging in the egg is just to come back to the ancient methods but with the new materials. Already in the ancient times beer has been placed for resting into the egg-formed amphoraes. Recently there were several successful tests for storage wine in the egg-formed fermentation vessels made of concrete. Shortly after Speidel has developed the fermentation egg made of food-safe polyethylene.

The fermentation egg is appropriate for the fermentation of wine, beer and cider. Fans and devotees of the fermentation egg confirm that the fermentation process runs spontaneous, therefore wine and beer taste more filigree and complex. Check it out and convince yourselves! Our food-safe polyethylenes have high permeability of oxygen. This ensures the evenly influence of oxygen and perfect conditions for the fermentation and maturation. It is very easy to clean the egg because of its smooth surface inside.

Here’s a drawing of the tank.

Sonoma Cast Stone online has their reasons why brewers should consider concrete beer tanks:

Winemakers love concrete…

Winemakers all over the world are rediscovering the benefits of using concrete as a medium for fermentation, finding the virtues of both of oak and stainless steel with the drawbacks of neither. Now, most of the world’s highest-rated wines are made in concrete.

The craft beer industry is at least as creative and dynamic as the wine industry, and we at Sonoma Cast Stone are thrilled to offer you artisans of fermentation a new medium to create with. We predict a renaissance of innovation, producing an exciting, new generation of wild beers, sour beers, meads and porters.

Concrete is cool! No… really.

Concrete can take the heat, or the cold. It’s a natural insulator and will stabilize the temperature of whatever is inside of it. This stability makes for a smooth and gradual fermentation, because there are no temperature spikes to make the yeast become aggressive.

Sonoma Cast Stone also offers a unique temperature control system. Our system is hidden within the walls of the tank itself and does not make contact with that wine.

Just breathe!

Concrete is porous, albeit on a microscopic scale, and that’s where it beats stainless steel. The environment in stainless steel is too perfect to be ideal for fermentation. A gradual introduction of micro-oxygenation, the wine remains flat. It cannot breathe and evolve.

Wine fermented in concrete has the round mouthfeel of wine fermented in oak, but it has much greater purity of fruit flavor, even a greater intensity of fruit color. For fermentation, storage or aging, concrete is simply phenomenal.

Staying neutral…

Even neutral oak is not neutral. All oak will give a bit of itself to your beer, whether you like it or not. Concrete makes for a truly neutral vessel, imparting only a slight and desirable minerality.

What this means for a beer maker is control. Control over what your beer tastes like, and with the optional, embedded glycol tubing system, you also have precise control over the temperature you maintain throughout fermentation.

Hair of the Dog Brewing had their new concrete tank delivered yesterday and it should be installed and ready to go shortly. Alan told me that Adam will be the first beer he makes in concrete. It will be interesting to see how the new Adam tastes, especially in comparison to the old version.


Patent No. 256550A: Cooling Beer

Today in 1882, US Patent 256550 A was issued, an invention of David W. Davis, for his “Cooling Beer.” There’s no Abstract, but in the description states the following:

My invention consists in a new process ot cooling beer, which process can be applied to most of the devices in use for that purpose, und especially to that class of coolers known as the Baudelot Cooler, and the process is produced by the device that will be fully hercinafter described.


Patent No. 580536A: Process Of And Apparatus For Finishing Beer

Today in 1897, US Patent 580536 A was issued, an invention of Jacob F. Tiieurer and Paul Fischer, assigned to The Pabst Brewing Company, for their “Process of and Apparatus for Finishing Beer.” There’s no Abstract, but the description says simply it’s an “invention which will enable others skilled in the art to which it pertains to make and use the same, reference being had to the accompanying drawing, and to the letters of reference marked thereon, which forms a part of this specification. The main object of our invention is to finish beer and other beverages in such a way as to give them the desired freshness, vivacity, and keeping qualities, and in the attainment of that object to economize space and time and to produce a superior article.”

Patent No. 989546A: Bottle-Filling Machine

Today in 1911, US Patent 989546 A was issued, an invention of Herbert S. Jandus, for his “Bottle-Filling Machine.” There’s no Abstract, but there’s this description. “invented a new and Improved Bottle-Filling Machine, of which the following is a full, clear, and exact description.”

This invention relates to certain improvements in machines for filling bottles, cans, or other containers with liquid or semi-liquid` substances, and more particularly to that type of machine in which a series of empty containers are continuously delivered to the machine, automatically filled in succession, and continuously delivered thereof. In a filling machine embodying all of the various features of my invention, the containers are conveyed along an endless belt to the machine and the latter operates to remove them from the belt, fill them in succession, and return them to the belt. The machine is so constructed that after filling each bottle, the liquid is removed from the bottle to a predetermined level below the mouth thereof, irrespective of slight variations in the height of successive bottles.


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