entering into the question, at present, of the best methods for making malt.
To understand the matter properly, barley must be divided into three or four qualities, which, supposing it to be of English growth, and manufactured by English workmen in the most approved and skilful manner, places the question at once on a fair footing.
By what standard are we to determine either the produce of each of the qualities of barley, or the average of the whole ? If the evidence of individual brewers generally is taken, the accounts are so conflicting and erroneous, that no dependence whatever can be placed on such testimony; that these erroneous and conflicting opinions are the result of ignorance, no one can imagine for a moment. They spring simply from the brewer never having made a number of trials of the worts, as obtained from the mash, and then measuring them by the saccharome-ter after being boiled and cooled down to strength. It must have been from some erroneous calculation, that the officers of excise gave information to Government in 1846, that the average of brewers' worts in England contained 22£ lbs. saccharum per bushel; and it was upon this evidence that 180 lbs* of sugar were held equivalent to a quarter of malt, to strike the drawback upon the duty on sugar used by brewers and distillers. This estimate, it may be remarked in passing, was too low by lj lbs. per bushel, a<nd no distinction was made betwixt brewers' worts and those of the distiller, who do not boil them, but run them immediately into the coolers from the mash-tun, and thus save the loss which arises to the brewer in boiling by the evaporation of the wort and destruction of part of the saccharum during the process.
But this is not all. Mr Huskison, many years ago, in his place in the House of Commons, asserted, oA the occasion of a question on the malt-tax, that the quantity of ale brewed from a quarter of malt was 3£ barrels, and that on comparing the amount of barrels of ale and beer brewed with the quantity of malt paid duties for, there appeared 500.000 quarters which had been manufactured without paying duty; and thereupon, on a charge which had no foundation whatever, the stringent and oppressive regulations on the maltsters and brewers of England were justified. The fact was asserted on erroneous calculation. The quantity of beer and ale brewed was exaggerated by half a barrel to each quarter of malt; and no outcome was allowed on malt measured when made above what is charged duty for in the process of malting, which amounts to five per cent, on the whole annual quantity made. Besides, brewers, during the whole time the tax was charged on their productions, paid duty on more beer and ale than they made. The gauge was taken from the gyle-tun; and they could never cleanse, by at least five per cent., what they ^ere charged with. I have mentioned these matters to shew that maltsters and brewers did not complain without reason of the grievances they had to endure under the fiscal regulations of the excise. It is not that the excise-officer overstepped his power; for, both in England and Scotland, during a long experience, I have generally found them to be fair and candid in their charging the duties. It is the system that injures the fair trader that is in fault, and the sooner it is amended the better.
To return from this digression, which, however, is not by any means foreign to the subject, the maximum quantity of saccharine extract obtained from malt may be stated as follows:—
First quality of barley, 30 lbs. per bushel.
Deduct loss of saccharum in boiling two hour8, and in cooling and hop-drain,
Second quality of barley, ... 28 lbs. per bushel. Deduct loss of saccharum, ... 3J
Third quality of barley, 25 lbs. per bushel. Deduct loss of saccharum, ... 2f
Fourth quality of barley, ... 23 lbs. per bushel. Deduct loss of saccharum, ... 2£
The reader will thus perceive the immense ad van-.
tage which brewers ought to derive from the purchase of the best samples of barley, and economy and skill both in malting and brewing. I shall have occasion afterwards to advert again to this subject, when such improvements will be suggested as may lead towards a saving of the saccharine extract in brewing.
These definitions and rules are offered not without hesitation. Facts derived from experience are merely approximations, and require to be confirmed by the test of strict experiment; but whatever promises to be profitable ought to be communicated. It is in art as in science, truth sometimes can only be approached by approximation ; and improvement ought to be attempted, when the nearness of the approach is sufficient for the purposes of practical utility.
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