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Brewery Visit - Europe

Part 3: No 2 and No 3 Brew Houses, 
the Roast House and the Malt House

Guinness3 1Wednesday 13th May 2015

Bob Thompson

So we are back on our tour of the brewery. I was approaching the No 2 Brew House on which work was started in 1877. By this time land on the opposite (north) side of James Street had been acquired and the cooperage was moved there, freeing up space for the new brewery.

The new riverside area was used not only for barrel making as it was here that they were cleaned and racked with beer before being stored prior to distribution by rail, sea or cart.

Guinness3 2This new brewery was a marvel of its age, containing 24 kieves (mash tuns) and 14 coppers when it was finally completed, which was over a long period.

Because of the relocation of various vital functions remote from the Brew House an internal railway was constructed, commencing in 1873. Part 2 contained the details of this vital installation.

We were standing outside the No 2 Brew House but sadly weren’t allowed in. I guess it was semi-derelict inside.

Since being established in 1877 it had gradually increased in size and output over the years with more and more vessels being added and it finally reached a stage where there was no longer room for further expansion. Please see the photograph above right with the No 3 Brew House looming behind it.

Guinness3 3A modernisation program was started in 1968 and this ultimately led to the foundation of the third Brew House. The kieves (mash tuns) of No 2 were last used in 1977 when replaced by newer versions in another building. Its Coppers lasted until 1989, with over 100 years of continuous use!

After walking around the corner we entered the Brew House. This is actually the No 3 Brew House but was never referred to as such following the closure of the No 2 Brew House, just as the Brew House. The main hall seemed enormous to me, being used to smaller breweries, please see photograph above left, and right showing the interior.

This brewery opened in 1988 and was completely automatic. It brews with four simultaneous streams. I am not sure how much it could brew in a single day but I would guess that it would be at least 12 brews, nor do I know what the amount each copper could handle per brew. However I do know that it was capable of turning out more than four million barrels per annum, a staggering amount. Please see a view of it showing some of the materials storage vessels as seen from the panoramic Gravity Bar atop the Store House.

Guinness3 4I will get on to the most recent brewery (No 4) later, yet the Brew House (No 3) that we were in, was then still brewing occasionally. I believe that beers that do not require continuous brewing were created on this plant.

I suspect that the stickers on the outside of the vessels depicting the new beers, Dublin and West Indies Porter are not a coincidence as far as this matter is concerned. However this temple of beer has now closed with all production moving to the No 4 Brew House.

Guinness3 5After leaving the No 3 Brew House our group continued in a southerly direction, passing the enormous Store House. This will be covered in detail later in this article but suffice to say it was constructed in 1902 as the main fermentation building as the older Vat Houses were wearing out and output continued to increase. We were on Robert Street which is partially in the private land owned by the brewery yet with a section still open to public traffic.

After crossing New Market Street we went through another entrance gate back into brewery territory. On our left is what is known as the “Grain Intake and Roast House”.

Obviously this is where the Malted barley arrives from the maltsters but it also performs another function. Guinness uses an amount of non-malted barley in their brews. This is roasted in this building and it contributes to the colour and taste that modern day Draught Guinness is noted for.

Guinness3 6We then crossed Robert Street and entered the Malt House (see photo left with Store House on right and Malt House middle and left).

This is yet another amazing building. It was designed by Robert Worthington and is rather unusual inasmuch that on its first and second floors there are 126 octagonal brick-built bins that contain the malted barley and are capable of holding the equivalent of 250,000 barrels of malt, enough for three weeks brewing.

This building is the largest constructed of brick in all of Ireland. It is said that it was built between 1881 and 1884, yet this information is disputed when Eddie pointed out some of the cast iron support columns that were clearly embossed with the name of the manufacturer as “Ross & Walpole, Dublin 1885”.

Guinness3 7Nowadays the building is used to store barley on its first floor for the Roast House opposite.

The reason for its location at the highest point of the brewery’s land is because it is there the Grand Canal once almost lapped at its doors. Before the arrival of the railways this was essential as it brought the produce of the fertile lands in the middle of the country to the city. This naturally included malt and malted barley for the many breweries and distilleries of the capital.

Guinness3 8The Malt House was built on the site of an old basin yet there was another at the side of the building, which is now an employee’s car park. I’m not sure when this section of the canal closed but I can say with confidence that most of the section from here to Inchicore is nowadays occupied by the western line of Luas, the tram system. After that point the tramway runs west along the side of the still existing canal.

At some time a further section of the canal from Inchicore was built with seven locks around the south side of the city to the Grand Canal Dock. This had a sea lock out to the River Liffey. Interestingly that area would nowadays be unrecognisable as the nearly the whole area has been rebuilt in the last 20 years with many modern office buildings. The Grand Canal was started in 1759 and by 1780 it was open from Sallins into Dublin. It was completed by a connection to the River Shannon in 1803 which opened the following year. Both the public basin and the Guinness basin had been filled in by the early 1960s.

After this visit to the Malt House we walked back through the brewery property to look at the new No 4 Brew House. This is appropriately covered in Part 4 of this article.

Part 3 of 7