US draught beer in 1903

Draught beer at the turn of the Twentieth Century in the US

from Twenty-Five Years of Brewing

George Ehret [1891]

Mashed, sparged, boiled, cooled, doubly fermented, clarified and thoroughly aged, the beer is now ready for racking. This is done by several gangs of men at the same time. The quantity to be racked and the capacity of the packages to be filled being known, the foreman is enabled to determine how many kegs must be held in readiness. Each "racker" has a given number of kegs before him. Above a wide board, which runs along the wall,there is a long row of faucets through which the beer, drawn from the lager-casks, flows into a detachable hose and thence into the kegs. When one keg is full, the hose is quickly inserted into another, and, while this is being filled up, the first is being closed with a wooden bung tightly hammered into the bunghole. In the lower end of the pipes, to which the faucets are attached, glass tubes are inserted which enable the "racker" to discover immediately the slightest change in the color or clearness of the beer. When such a change occurs, the stream of beer must be turned off at once, because the presence of muddy particles indicates that the sediment in the lager-cask has been reached and is being stirred up. Since the introduction of an electric-light plant into Hell Gate Brewery this task, like all the work done in the cellars, gives more satisfaction and is performed with greater ease and with far more accuracy, than formerly. In fact, the employment of the many modern improvements which have been adopted during the last quarter-century, exclude chance and accident almost entirely and enable the brewer to accomplish his purposes with precision and certainty.

The kegs are now ready for delivery to the retailer, and pass out of the proper domain of the brewer, until they are returned empty and are again conveyed to the wash-house, or, perhaps, if their condition should require it, to the pitching-yard or to the cooper-shop—all of which places we shall presently visit on our tour of inspection.