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A Study Of American Beers and Ales   By: (1875-)

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Contribution from the Bureau of Chemistry


Washington, D. C. PROFESSIONAL PAPER March 21, 1917


By L. M. TOLMAN, Chief, Central Inspection District, and J. GARFIELD RILEY, Assistant Chemist, Food and Drug Inspection Laboratory, New York, N. Y.



Introduction 1

Method of undertaking the investigation 2

Methods of analysis 3

Results of analysis 3

Effect of raw materials used upon composition of the finished brew 11

Conclusions 23


The investigation, the results of which are reported in this bulletin, was undertaken for the purpose of securing information in regard to the composition of brewery products made in this country. The main object of this investigation was to find, if possible, a means of distinguishing beers and ales made entirely from malt from those made from malt together with other cereal products, such as rice, corn, and cerealin.

It was concluded, after looking into the literature, that in order to accomplish this purpose it would be necessary to collect a series of samples made from the various raw materials ordinarily used and make a study of the effect of these raw materials upon the composition of the finished product.

The investigation seemed desirable for the reason that practically all of the existing data related to foreign beers, in the preparation of which a type of malt was used entirely different from that ordinarily used in the production of American beers. Furthermore, very few of the existing data relating either to foreign or domestic beers were based upon samples concerning which exact information was available in regard to the raw materials used in the wort.


It was felt that it would be wholly unsatisfactory to make this investigation by means of laboratory brewings on a small scale, as the results thus obtained would not show the true conditions, because it is not possible in the laboratory to duplicate exactly the mashing or fermenting processes actually used in a commercial way. It was decided, therefore, to attempt, with the cooperation of several breweries, to make this study under the exact conditions prevailing in commercial plants. Access was secured to several breweries making different types of products from various kinds of raw materials, under such conditions that it was possible to obtain a complete history of the beer through its various stages to the finished product. One of the writers (Riley) watched the method of manufacture during its whole process and obtained samples of the product at the various stages of manufacture. Thus, it was possible to procure finished samples with practically the same degree of certainty, as regards knowledge of composition and history, as would have been the case had they been prepared in the laboratory.

In three different breweries manufacturing a wide range of products samples of the wort and beer were obtained in this manner, the entire process of manufacture being studied in detail. A record showing the kind and amount of raw materials placed in the mash and in the cooker was made of the samples collected from these three breweries. A record also was kept of the time and temperature of each operation until the mash was ready to run into the kettle... Continue reading book >>

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