Of cleaning and sweetening Casks & Brewing Vessels.
If a cask, after the beer is drank out, be well stopt to keep out the air, and the lees remaining in it till you want to use it again, you will need only to scald it well, and take care of the hoops before you fill it; but if air gets into a foul empty cask, it will contract an ill scent in spight of scalding. A handful of bruised pepper boiled in the water you scald with, will take out a little musty smell; but the surest way is to take out the head of the cask, and let the cooper[Pg 162] shave and burn it a little, and then scald it for use; if you cannot conveniently have a cooper to the cask, get some stone lime, and put about three pound into a barrel, (and proportionally to smaller or bigger vessels) and put to it about six gallons of cold water, bung it up, and shake it about for some time, and afterwards scald it well; or for want of lime, take a linen rag, and dip it in melted brimstone, and fasten one end to the bung, and light the other, and let it hang on the cask. You must give it a little air, else it will not burn; but keep in as much of the sulphur as you can. Scald it afterwards, and you will find no ill smell.
If you have new casks, before you fill them, dig places in the earth, and lay them half their depth with their bung holes downward, for a week; and after well scalding them, you may venture to fill them.
Another way to proceed, if your brewing vessels are tinged with any ill smell, is to take unflacked lime and water, and with an old broom scrub the vessel whilst the water is hissing, with the lime; and afterwards take all this lime and water away, and put fresh water into the vessel, and throw some bay or common salt into each, and let it stand a day or two; and when you come to brew, scald your vessels, throw into them[Pg 163] a little malt-dust or bran; and this will not only finish their sweetening, but stop them from leaking.
But since there is so much trouble in getting vessels sweet after they have been neglected, you ought to make all thorough clean after brewing, and once a month to fill your vessels with fair water, and let it off again in two or three days.
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