Thursday, 28 September 2017

History: The Lady's Well Brewery ... Again - Talk of Enameled Tuns and Cornish Boilers...

Following on from my last post, I promised to get to work on a poor quality copy of another piece on the opening of The Lady's Well Brewery (Murphy's) in Cork in 1856. I've done my best to figure out all the text but a few words have escaped me and, as you will see, I have questioned any figures or words I wasn't sure about. This write up focuses on the brewing machinery and vessels mostly and combined with the previous post it gives a better picture of the size, scale and workings of the brewery.

Also, the above advert appeared in the paper beside this piece but was also of poor quality so I've used a legible version with the same text but from The Cork Examiner instead, the original is at the bottom of the post with the original text.

(From the Cork Constitution)
    A few years ago a stranger visiting Cork, and entering the city from the former terminus of the Great Southern and Western Railway, might have noticed a large square building, the high walls surrounding which frowned darkly up on the narrow and crowded thoroughfare. This building was the Cork Foundling Hospital founded in the latter half of the 18th century for the support of deserted children of both sexes and maintained by a tax upon coals. For many years the establishment continue to exist but the progress of legislation, which has subverted so many still more venerable institutions, has at length abolished the Cork foundling hospital. The property in the building became vested in the Poor Law Guardians, who wore it first desirous that it should be converted into an Emigration Depot, and entered into communication with the Emigration Commissioners for that purpose. It appeared, however, that, partly from the growing conviction on the public mind that emigration ought no longer be assisted by the home government, the Commissioners could not assent to the terms required by the Guardians or the use of the building. Subsequently the Guardians were about to offer the building to the military authorities for the purpose of an auxiliary Barracks, but for this its situation was on suited and at length the premises having been offered for sale to the public, they have been purchased by Messrs J. J. Murphy and Co., who intend devoting them to a more practical and, we hope more profitable, if not more useful, objects Nando's originally contemplating.
    Few persons not acquainted with the subject and have any correct idea of the immense quality of malt liquor annually manufactured in these countries It is calculated that in England the amount yearly drank is 85[?] gallons per head on the entire population in Scotland 212[?] and in Ireland 1 ½ [?] - that the entire quantity consumed per annum is 17,000,000 barrels. In addition to what is consumed by our home population, vast quantities are exported to almost every part of the habitable globe and the consumption, so far from diminishing, is largely augmenting every year. In England malt liquor is emphatically the national beverage - it is the favourite drink of the artisan, and is found on every dinner table. In Ireland it does not seem to have please the public taste so well as in the sister Kingdom, still large quantities are consumed, and it is to be hoped it may ultimately supersede the more intoxicating and less nutritious produce of the still.
    Comparatively little of the building which went to form the Foundling Hospital was available for the purposes for which the premises were purchased by the Messrs. Murphy, and considerable expense had to be incurred in order to render the works complete. They possess, however, one great advantage in having an inexhaustible supply of the purest well water, suitable for manufacturing the finest bitter and sweet ales. The entire area included within the boundaries of the premises is 278[?] feet square. The building runs along each of the four sides and, is 15[?] feet in depth, thus leaving an open square in the centre of 210[?] feet each way. In the middle of the square is the well already mentioned, from which the water is pumped up a depth of 60 feet, as often as wanted. For the purpose of securing a sufficient supply, a tank has been constructed capable of holding 3,000 barrels, communicating by pipes to all parts of the building, thus any damage from fire maybe obviated. The water or “liquor,”’ as it is termed in brewers phraseology, is either soft water, for the manufacturer of porter, or hard water which is preferable for fine ales and beer. 
    The entire of the building and apparatus of the brewery was erected under the superintendence of the Messrs. Murphy's brewer, Mr Gresham Wiles who studied subject under Mr James Young, of Messrs. Hoare and Co, London, one of the highest practical brewers in the Kingdom. The premises have been taking possession of by the Messrs. Murphy in July, operations were immediately commenced to render them complete at the earliest possible period, and in the lapse of a [...] less than six months they were so far completed that brewing was entered on. Acting under the advice of Mr Wiles, the materials are entirely heated by steam, not as usually the case by common [...]. Steam is supplied from boilers housed[?] in a designed[?] building - it is of a new patent construction, combining the principles of the Cornish and the tubular boilers. In appearance it consists of two horizontal cylinders 18 feet in length and seven feet in diameter, running parallel to each other. Underneath are the fires, which present a great improvement over those commonly constructed, as by a lever the stoker can break and pulverize the coals, and keep up the heat without opening the doors of the grates. These boilers not only heat the materials but feed several steam engines amounting to 70 or 80 horse power, which communicating by shafts to various parts of the building keep the apparatus in motion. 
    Ascending to the first loft the [...] is shown the mash tuns, which are 8[?] feet deep, 18[?] feet in diameter, and each capable of mashing 120 quarters of malt. The interior[?] of each tun is enamelled, a process patented[?] by Mr. Wiles and which enables the tun to be [...] cleaned after each time of filling. All ales and a porters[?] are in one sense brewed in the same way; that is to say, the water goes into the copper, passes thence[?] into the mash tun, through that into the receiver, then into the copper again, after which it is cooled. It then passes into the gyle tun where it undergoes the process of fermentation, and thence it is cleansed[?] into the cask. In this general light, the process is [...], but on the mode of which the various operations are conducted, on the proportion and quality of the ingredients, on the temperature, time, &c., showed in the different portions of the process the entire quality of the produce depends. This is of course one of those “secrets” which every manufacturer keeps undisclosed, but it is reasonably to be expected that has improvements are made from time to time in the mode of operation the quality of the produce will be better, and the cost of manufacture reduced. In this respect some innovations have been introduced in the establishment of the Messrs. Murphy, the [...] of which is stated to economise time, and while cheapening the expense of manufacture, to produce a liquor at once combining strength of body with excellence of flavour. 
    In the Lady's Well Brewery, the boiling is effected by steam, and such is the rapidity with which it is effected that the entire liquor, in two large batches, containing 200[?] barrels each, can be raised to a boiling temperature in three quarters of an hour. Boilers contain ‘sparges’ which are constructed upon a patent principle, combining economy of fuel with rapidity of operation. The liquor having been raised to the proper temperature it is let into one of the mash tuns already mentioned. Each of these “mash tuns” is capable of containing 430 barrels. The malt, having been ground, is then shot into the mash tun. Each mash tun at the Lady's Well Brewery may be filled and empty three times a day. The time and manner of hopping vary among different brewers, some using more and some less. Much of course, depends on the kind of ale or porter required to be brewed, and the particular particular market it is intended for. The heat should be just sufficient to separate the aromatic portion of the plant without extracting the rank and injuries elements. To the judicious management of the hopping is mainly due the mild and pleasant flavour of the “Lady’s Well Ale” manufactured at Messrs. Murphy's Brewery, and which bids fair to acquire and extend the popularity. 
    From the copper in which the work has been hopped it is passed into the cooler, where is is brought rapidly down to a lower temperature by means of the refrigerating process, which is affected by cold water, introduced through numerous pipes running through every part of the cooler, until the wort is brought down to the requisite temperature. It is then introduced into fermenting tuns of which there will when the establishment is completed be eighteen, holding from 200 to 500 barrels each. The process of fermentation which general generally last for days, is completed in Messrs. Murphy's establishment in half the usual time, after which it is drawn off into the cleansing rounds, where it undergoes a further fermentation before being fit for use. The cleansing rounds are 150 and number, and contain 8 barrels each. 
    The vats in to which the liquor is subsequently introduced are of large size holding from 300 to 800 barrels each. Some idea of the extent of this establishment may be derived from the fact that they can now produce 5,000 barrels of malt liquor, each barrel holding 36 gallons, per week.

The Kerry Evening Post - 7th January 1857

As you can see it describes in a bit more detail some of the equipment and buildings from my first post, but some of the actual grammar and wording is still quiet hard to figure out in places...

Anyhow, I hope this and the previous post are useful to someone and that I'm not just going over old ground ... so to speak!


... with thanks again to the local studies room in Carlow Library.

No comments: