From the HBD Archive
From: Darryl Richman <>
Subject: re: refrigeration
Date: 1989-05-23 19:52:41 GMT

From: ferguson%X102C@HARRIS-ATD.COM (ferguson ct 71078)
">From: Darryl Richman <>
">Subject: re: Sam Adams
"> The bold print says "Sam Adams
">Was An Ale Drinker!" Of course, lager beer was unknown before the 1840's--
">it's a creation of mechanized refrigeration.
" ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ?????
"I have no idea when lager was first brewed or whether it was a product
"of mechanical refrigeration. However, I have seen or heard of several
"old breweries that were located in caves (sometimes man-made) because
"of the cooler temperatures there and I always assumed that the beer
"brewed in these caves was a lager or lager/ale hybrid. For example,
"the now defunct Wolf brewery in Stillwater, MN was in a man-made cave
"carved into a solid limestone rock at what must have been considerable
"expense. If these caves were not for lagering, what the heck were
"they for?

True enough that caves were used. Lager brewing actually depended on
two coincident scientific advancements that occured in the decade of
1835-1845. I haven't got an encyclopaedia here, sadly, but the first
was (Carl?) Linde's invention of mechanical refrigeration (using
ammonia, I believe). The other was the culturing of yeast from single
cells, which allowed brewers for the first time to acquire true
strains. Most of this work occured at the Carlsberg brewery (hence the
name of lager yeast, until recently, Saccharomyces Carlsbergensis).
Once you have true strains, you have to figure out which one(s) to use,
and it was discovered that some strains flocced to the bottom of the

So, back to the caves... Before refrigeration, beer would go sour in
short order if left warm. Caves were convenient because they held
their cool temperature relatively constant throughout the year. When
it got too warm to brew in the summer, the brewers would knock off til
fall. The Oktoberfest was predated by another festival to celebrate
the first new beer of the year; the fest would drain the dregs of last
spring's beer. In a sense, beer was lagered long before Linde, but the
yeasts used were ale yeasts, with their fruity overtones and higher
esters and alcohols. After Linde and Carlsberg, it was possible to
consistently make smooth, crisp, clean beers year round.

The older style of German beer still exists today, although it is
dwarfed by the lager output. This style is Altbier, old fashioned
beer. It is brewed in the Rhine valley, where they don't take to ideas
from Bavaria and Denmark easily.

--Darryl Richman

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