Monthly Archives: August 2010

History Byte – Coopering Tools Part 3

Diagram of the chime, chiv and croze

In this post we are going to look at cutting the chime.  The chime is the bevelled edge at the top and bottom of the barrel cut with a cooper’s Adze.  The top of the chime is leveled off with a special Plane known as a Cooper’s Sun Plane.  Next the chiv (also called a howel in some areas) is smoothed in preparation of cutting the groove known as the croze.

Cooper's Sun Plane

The croze will hold the heads of the cask.  It is cut with a Croze Plane.  The head is formed by straight pieces of wood held tightly together by dowels.  After assembly, the head is planed smooth and cut into a circle.  Using his Drawing Knife, the cooper rounds the edges of the head to fit tightly into the croze.  The inside of the barrel is then cleaned and the edges of the joints are levelled using a stoup plane.

Cooper's Stoup Plane, used to clean and smooth the inside of the cask

   The outside of the barrel is scraped clean and smooth.  The temporary iron rings at the top and bottom of the cask are removed and the heads are fitted tightly into the croze with split reeds in the croze to prevent leakage. Permanent iron hoops are placed at the top and bottom of the barrel to lock the head into place.  The temporary iron hoops on the body are also replaced with permanent iron hoops.  Once the hoops are in place, the bung and tap holes are drilled and the cask is complete!
While this is a more modern video, and he’s actually refurbishing a barrel, you can see some of the tools used to cut in the head.

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History Byte – Coopering Tools Part 2

Assembling the Staves

In my last post on coopering, we left off with the shaping of the staves. We are now at the assembly stage. The staves are assembled into a cone shape inside an iron hoop.
They are placed over a cresset which is a rickety looking structure used to hold a small fire.

Cresset

The fire warms up the wood to make it more pliable for bending.  Black Creek has a steam oven designed to steam large barrels with thick staves.  The staves would be moistened before being put over the oven.  Once warmed, the splayed staves are drawn together by driving on successively smaller hoops known as truss hoops.

Steam Oven

The hoops are driven on with a hammer driver and hoop driver.  Riveted iron hoops, usually six for beer casks, are driven on, and the barrel goes over the steam oven one more time to encourage the wood to retain the barrel shape.

Hammer Driver

  Next post – cutting the chime, chiv and croze!

Scotch Driver - These tools are grooved to prevent them from slipping off the hoop as they are struck with a hammer to drive the hoop over the staves.

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Thanks!

Just a quick word of thanks to everyone who attended the Dog Days of Summer Beer and Cheese pairing on August 20th.  It was a great success, and we really enjoyed hosting Julia Rogers and her fabulous pairings.  For those who missed this opportunity, our next pairing, with new cheese and beer selections, will be taking place on September 10th, 2010.  The Late Harvest Beer and Cheese tasting will celebrate the season’s bounty with a flight of rustic ales and farmstead cheeses.  $30 per person, $27 for members (plus taxes).  Call 416-667-6284 for tickets

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New Brew – Lemon Balm Pale Ale

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Back by popular demand!  Ed’s Lemon Balm Pale Ale was so well received, he’s brewing another batch.  This crisp refreshing pale ale, has a hint of mint flavour and lemon aroma courtesy of the herb, Lemon Balm.  For those unfamiliar with lemon balm, it’s a bushy herb related to mint that is easily recognizable by the strong lemon smell given off by it’s crushed leaves.  In the past Lemon Balm was considered a healing and soothing plant, and especially effective in relieving pain due to indigestion.  Lemon balm was also used to impart a lemony taste and smell to many beverages and foods.  Ed will be brewing tomorrow and the Lemon Balm Pale Ale version 2.0 will be ready for sampling and sale beginning August 27th, 2010 only at Black Creek Historic Brewery located in the heart of Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto, Ontario, and available again only for a very limited time (until the barrel is empty!)

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Event – An Evening of Field to Firkin

Sample Historic Ales

Black Creek Historic Brewery welcomes you to enjoy an Evening of Field to Firkin on Friday August 6th, 2010. Beginning at 7:00 pm, join us for a colourful tour led by our costumed beer expert, enjoy samples from our casks and end the night with a refreshing pint of ale on us. As you tour the Brewery and the grounds of Black Creek Pioneer Village, prepare to be transported back in time as you learn about the history of beer and the many colourful characters involved in brewing in Victorian Ontario. The program cost is $15 (+tax) and space is limited, so please call 416-667-6284 for more information and to reserve your spot!

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Filed under Brewery Events, Brewing History

New Brew – Lemon Balm Pale Ale

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Ed’s been hard at work brewing new recipes for us to try.  His latest effort is a Lemon Balm Pale Ale which will be a crisp refreshing pale ale, but with a hint of mint flavour and lemon aroma courtesy of the herb, Lemon Balm.  For those unfamiliar with lemon balm, it’s a bushy herb related to mint that is easily recognizable by the strong lemon smell given off by it’s crushed leaves.  In the past Lemon Balm was considered a healing and soothing plant, and especially effective in relieving pain due to indigestion.  Lemon balm was also used to impart a lemony taste and smell to many beverages and foods.  The Lemon Balm Pale Ale will be ready for sampling and sale beginning August 6th, 2010 only at Black Creek Historic Brewery located in the heart of Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto, Ontario, and available only for a very limited time (until the barrel is empty!)

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Filed under Brewing History, Current Brews