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Brewing

Brewing, or the manufacture of alcoholic beverages from grain, is almost universally practised among the different races of mankind, and has been known since very ancient times. The necessary materials for the brewing of beer are water, hops, and malt. The water employed should be bright and clear, and should contain very little organic matter. The presence of different mineral salts, however, is necessary for the production of good ales. The hops for brewing are grown largely in Worcester, Sussex, Surrey, and Kent. They are picked about the beginning of September, taken direct to kilns and dried. They impart to the beer a pleasant taste and odour, and act also as a preservative. In this country barley is the grain always employed for conversion into malt. During this conversion a substance, "diastase," is formed, which has the power of converting the insoluble starch of the grain into a soluble and fermentable sugar. The process of malting consists of the following operations: - The grain is first steeped in water for 40 or 70 hours - steeping. The water is changed at intervals of about 12 hours, and is finally run off, and the grain spread in thin layers over the floor - flooring - to germinate, being from time to time turned over with wooden spades, and the temperature regulated by altering the thickness of the layers. When germination has proceeded far enough the seed is removed to kilns and dried - kiln-drying. The malt is then stored in bins until required. The next process it undergoes is known as mashing, in which all the soluble constituents are extracted by water. It is first crushed by smooth rollers, and the ground malt and hot water are run into the mash-tuns - wooden or cast-iron circular tubs, provided with false perforated bottoms. The malt and liquid are well stirred by mechanical contrivances, the temperature being kept about 60 Fahr., and after a couple of hours the liquor - wort - is run off, and should be clear. The operation is repeated with a smaller quantity of water. The wort is then pumped into copper boilers, and boiled with the requisite amount of hops - boiling. From these it is run out into shallow tanks, the "coolers," and frequently into refrigerators - cooling. It is next run into the "fermenting tuns" to undergo the last process - fermentation, which requires great care and attention. It is brought about by adding yeast to the wort, and allowing the liquor to stand, the temperature being kept at about 58 to 60 Fahr. until fermentation (q.v.) has proceeded sufficiently far. It is then "cleansed" to remove the yeast and scum, and run into casks.

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