Properties of beer (part 3)

Following up on the previous two blog posts, this will be the final post on the properties of beer and how to determine them.

A typical biochemistry test is to determine the bitterness of the beer. The bitterness is dependant on the used hops. Hops contain Iso-α-acids which is the organic component that determines the bitterness. To determine this we use a ultra-violet spectrophotometer. Each specific compound has a specific absorbance of light. Light consists out of an entire spectrum of colours, each having their own specific wavelength. The absorbance of the Iso-α-acids is 275nanometers. This is light we can’t see with our bare eyes as our visual spectrum ranges from 400-750nanometers.
These bitter-acids are extracted out of the beer by adding iso-octane. This component absorbs all the bitterness out of the beer. Because of the different densities, the bitter phase floats on top of the beer. This top layer which contains the bitter components can be extracted. After measurements in the spectrophotometer we get a measurement for the turbidity which is directly proportional with the amounts of bitter-acids in the beer displayed in ppm (parts per million).

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Another very important parameter is the turbidity. Whether a beer is see-through or turbid depends on the yeast in the bottle. Often, breweries will use secondary fermentation or fermentation in the bottle which means that a small amount of living yeast cells is placed in the bottle together with the beer. This has a couple of advantages, firstly, as the yeast cells are alive, they use up the small amount of oxygen in the bottle for their own respiration while producing extra carbon dioxide. As oxygen produces off flavours in the beer the yeast cells allow the beer to have a much longer shelf life (3-4 years) in comparison to non secondary-fermented beers (6month shelf life). Secondly, the yeast in the bottle matures the beer over time giving it specific flavours necessary to perfect the beer.

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Left: clear beer, not secondary fermented ; Right: turbid beer, secondary fermented

The turbidity is measured with a turbidity meter. It sends a ray of light through the bottle at a 100% intensity. Depending on the turbidity in the bottle, the light ray gets reflected, lowering the intensity of the light ray, and is measured on a sensor at the other side of the bottle. Depending on the decrease of the light intensity the turbidity can be calculated. A brewers wish is that the yeast sticks to the insides of the bottle, this indicates good yeast. A certain amount of turbidity can be wanted but too much is never good. It won’t do you any harm but will cause a bit of stir in your intestines after a few beers. So often the turbidity is measured once when the beer is at rest and once after making a few gentle pouring movements with the bottle. If there’s much more turbidity afterwards then you know that the yeast doesn’t stick to the bottle.

As 2016 comes to an end so does this blog. After reading through this I know for sure that many of you will be able to craft a perfect and delicious beer. Happy holidays and I’ll raise my beer on a good and prosperous 2017. Cheers! “dif-tor heh smusma” as Spock would say or “live long and prosper”.

~Blanckey the Brewer, signing off.

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Properties of beer (part 2)

As stated in a previous blog post this post will be a follow up on the properties of beer and how to determine them. So without further ado, let’s jump right into it.

04refalc11-5To determine the alcohol percentage of beer, the beer needs to be degassed (eliminating the carbon dioxide). This is done by pouring about 20ml of beer (as I only needed a small amount) in a open flask and placing it on a slow shaker for over 4 hours. Hereafter the beer was poured over a filter into another flask to get rid of any contaminants from the air or yeast.
To determine the amount of alcohol a distillation is performed. This is basically the technique to make whiskey and gins. It’s a rather ‘old fashioned’ way of determining the amount of alcohol and is only done on a small scale. A distillation works as follows. The decarbonated beer is heated allowing it to evaporate. The formed gas consists of alcohol fumes and water vapor. The gas moves through a tube that is water cooled allowing the gas to go back to its liquid state (condensation) and is collected in another flask. This collection flask contains a small amount of cold water. This is necessary to make sure that the alcohol doesn’t evaporate again as it has a much lower boiling point than water. The density of the solution is determined by a ‘density measuring module’. All data is eventually used in the formula of Balling and the alcohol percentage is displayed in ml/100ml or %V as displayed on all in-store bottles.

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Destillation setup

The head on a beer is a piece of art, it has to be perfect and, most importantly, stay. Unless you’re chugging a beer at 2am at your local nightclub, no one wants their beer collar to disappear in seconds. Measuring how long the collar of the beer lasts is described as ‘foam stability’. The equipment used for this test is called the ‘Nibem Foam Stability Tester’. To conduct this test you’ll need foam, a lot of foam. This can be done by injecting CO2 gas in the beer itself causing it to foam excessively. This foam is then captured in a standardized glass of 25cl. Once the glass is completely filled with foam it’s inserted into the machine which contains electrodes. These automatically detect the foam and follow the degradation of the foam in real time over a length of 30 millimetres.

Be sure to check the next, and last, post of the blog on how to determine the last properties of beer. Cheers!

Blanckey the Brewer

Properties of beer (part 1)

As a masters student in industrial engineering at the university of Ghent I follow the course ‘Brewery technology’. After being lectured every week about the brewing process and the necessary calculations I finally got to put my acquired knowledge to the test.
I got assigned a ‘brewing day’ in which I had to performed tests on one of my favourite beers ‘Grimbergen Gold’ while maintaining the brewing process of the local beer ‘Bijloke’, brewed exclusively at the University of Ghent.

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Production of Bijloke at UGent (background)

In the next blog posts I’ll explain the fundamental tests to determine the properties of beer. These tests determine the amount of Carbon Dioxide, Oxygen, alcohol percentage, living yeast cells, foam stability, bitterness and turbidity. The properties of all factory bottled beers are already precisely determined, therefore these can serve as a reference to compare with my personally found values. In reality these tests are obviously not performed on every bottle. As the entire industrial process is so precisely controlled there’s barely a chance that the pre-determined values would differ. If on the other hand the brewer decides to change the recipe or brew a new type of beer, these tests become very fundamental to know whether they’re on the right track.

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Henry’s law: the higher the pressure above the liquid the more dissolved gas in solution

An important test is to determine the amount of CO2. Carbon dioxide gives beer its fizzy properties as it does in all carbonated drinks. The principle of this test is to determine the pressure in the bottle of beer according to Henry’s Law. Henry’s Law states that the concentration of dissolved gas in a liquid is proportional to the pressure in the gas in equilibrium with that liquid. This basically means that the concentration of a gas (here CO2) in the beer is proportional with the pressure of the head volume in the bottle. How higher the pressure in the gas above a liquid, the more gas is dissolved in the liquid. To perform this test, the bottle is shaken thoroughly and the maximum pressure of the gas is measured with a manometer. All this pressurized gas is then drained through a tube and into a column with a specific liquid in it. The amount of CO2 gas can then be calculated through a complex formula depending on the amount of liquid that is pushed away by the gas volume.

 

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Henry’s Law: In a bottle or can, depending on the pressure, CO2 is dissolved in the liquid. When opening a can the pressure in the can disappears allowing the gas to escape from the liquid, making the well know “psshh” sound.

The life of a scientist isn’t always that bad as technology keeps evolving every day and allows automation for almost everything these days. It makes difficult tasks as easy as pressing a button. That is to be taken quite literally as determining the amount of oxygen in the beer only required punching a hole through the bottle cap and let the machine do its work by pressing ‘start’.

Be sure to follow up on the next blog posts for more laboratory beer tests, cheers!
~Blanckey the Brewer

Fermentatio

On Friday the 2nd of December I had the honour of being invited to a beer brewing seminar. It was hosted by Fermentatio, a society established in 1887 uniting industrial and amateur brewers.

The day started with following the directions towards the auditorium. While everyone was chatting away with old friends and business partners I sneaked through the crowd towards the coffee table. Grabbing myself a cup of coffee that tasted absolutely horrible, though the accompanying biscuit made up for it. I entered the auditorium and took place, while almost spilling my coffee, at the last row which was assigned specifically to students. After waiting for almost 45 minutes everyone finally took a seat and the presentations started.

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The first speaker was someone from the Belgian company Meura talking about their special type of mash filters. As I mentioned before in this blog-post, mash is the malt soaked in warm water. Meura developed a special filter with an inflatable membrane, being up to 10% more efficient than others. Hereafter we received a presentation on research of DMSO, which is a chemical compound that produces off-flavours in beer, and about a microchip that allows the fermentation of yeast in micro-droplets.

After the break we got lectured about cultivation processes of brewers yeast, the oxidisation process to remove iron and manganese out of the brewing water and about fungi of barley and their mycotoxins  .

Fungi and mycotoxins are basically the nemesis of beer brewers. The fungi we’re talking about is Fusarium which is a large genus of filamentous fungi of which ‘Blight’ is a member, which is a very well known plant disease that led to the Great Irish Famine. Mycotoxin is a secondary metabolite from fungi. Primary metabolites are components that an organism produces in order to survive, secondary metabolites are compounds produced when the organism is satisfied with its primary nutrients. Secondary metabolites can vary from toxins to antibiotics to (citric)acid. There’s a whole world out there specialised in the production of these components but let’s not swerve too far in that direction.

When a brewer buys his grain he doesn’t use them right away; they’re stored in silo’s or containers at low temperatures. This storage environment needs to be perfect because if it’s too moist or the temperature isn’t right the Fusarium can start cultivating in the grains and spread rapidly (if present in the grain or air).

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Fusarium head or Blight

The TDI (Tolerable Daily Intake) of a mycotoxin is 0,06 microgram per kilogram. In case a mycotoxin has cultivated in a batch of beer an intake of only 3 beers is enough to reach that daily dose. Hear me out before you start throwing all your beers out in fear of becoming ill due to these toxins. The human population is immune to 90% of all mycotoxins from the Fusarium family. Dr. Anneleen Decloedt performed research at the University of Ghent on examining beer types which might contain mycotoxins where less than 90% of the population is immune. As conclusion she found that those types of beer are: fruit beers, Trappists and sour beers.

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Research performed by Dr. Anneleen Decloedt

You might ask yourself, “why all this research, aren’t the laws for health and hygiene extremely strict”? Yes, you’re right though what’s happening in the modern days is that many toxins and viruses are mutating to resist the current cures and vaccines. The same happens with mycotoxins. Once they’re mutated we’re not resistant any more to that ‘new’ type of toxin and the health and safety laws do not incorporate these modified toxins.

 

The magic of brewing

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The magic of brewing

Up until now I’ve talked about the ingredients, the art and beauty of beer, the fermentation,… but what about the actual process? You have the ingredients, now how do you turn them into a delicious pint of carbonated alcohol? It all starts with the wort production in the brewing halls.

The first step is milling the brewing grain. This can either be done with a roller mill or with a hammer mill. In the first method the grain is being squished between two rollers separating the inner seed and the husk. It is important that the husk is not too damaged as it is used in further steps. The second method is a hammer mill which is exactly what it sounds like. The grains enter a cylindrical container where hammers rotate at a high velocity, pulverising the seeds. The most used method is using multiple sets of rollers.
Breweries will often soak their grains first for approximately 30 minutes at 30-50°C. This allows for a more compact stacking, eliminates most of the air in between the grains and makes the husks more elastic. The milled grains and their husk are called grist.

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The second step is mashing
which is the actual creation of the wort. The grist is transported to a large vessel called the mash tun, water is added and heated. This is where the magic happens. The barley contains enzymes that need to be activated. Each of those enzymes has a specific temperature optimum. For those who don’t know what an enzyme is, it’s basically a protein that allows certain biological reactions to be conducted at ‘much easier to achieve’ conditions. The reaction not only goes much faster but the temperature at which the reactions goes through is significantly lowered as well. I’m not going into detail what every enzyme does, but on the graph below you can see the temperature at which each enzyme is activated. Each temperature level is held for approximately 30-40 minutes so that each enzyme has the time to do its work. At the end of the process the temperature is driven up to 78°C which inhibits all the enzymes causing them to lose their function.

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The third step is a filtration step or ‘lautering’. The mash is moved into a container with a false-bottom. The whole package of grains, husk and mash-liquid is left to settle for a little while causing the husks and grains to settle at the bottom. When the false-bottom is opened the liquid runs through and the husk/grain package functions as a filter. The liquid that runs through is pumped back to the top. This filtering process is repeated for half an hour until the ‘filter’ is completely solid due to the pressure. The obtained liquid is called the primary wort. Afterwards the filter is cleaned with hot water to retrieve the last bits of the wort stuck in the filter which is called the secondary wort.

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Wort Whirlpool

As a final step the wort is boiled for two hours; stabilising the liquid and sterilises it at the same time. At this stage the hops and extra sugars are added and the acidity is adjusted. If necessary, Zinc is also added as it is a necessity for a good fermentation and foam stability in the final product.
When the boiling process has ended the wort is sent to a “whirlpool” where it is cleared of all leftover solids. The wort is immediately cooled as it reduces the chance of oxidization which produces unwanted flavours.

Afterwards it is sent to a fermenter as I mentioned in this post and the fermentation process can start. After all this work you only have to wait a few more weeks and you’ll be able to sample your own craft beer.

Thinking about this whole process sure made me thirsty, I’m off to enjoy an ice cold beer! Cheers!
~ Blanckey The Brewer

Water – a complex liquid

In previous posts I’ve talked about the basic ingredients and about yeast and the fermentation itself. What I’ve barely mentioned and what is basically the foundation of beer is water.

water_homebrewingIt might not seem that important to people who are unfamiliar with industrial processes. “Just take some tap water and throw it in with the other ingredients” you might say. Unfortunately it’s not that easy. Water as we know it, bottled or from the tap, contains a lot of “contaminants” for usage in industrial processes. Beer contains 90% water and to make 1 litre of beer you need approximately 3 litres of water. There are two ways of retrieving water for brewing purposes. Surface water from lakes, rivers,…; and groundwater, which is pumped up from below the surface. Old breweries were often built on top or near a place where they pumped the water from the ground for direct usage and minimum transport costs. Nowadays this isn’t necessary any more as water is corrected to a constant quality and to the norms of the brewery.

The choice of water affects the beer in three different ways: It affects the pH which affects the flavour of the beer as it activates different types of taste buds on the tongue, the water’s sulfate to chloride ratio ‘seasons’ the beer and chlorine and other contaminants can cause unwanted, bad tasting flavours.

The main ‘evildoers’ in water are ions (iron, calcium, sulphate,…). If interested you can click here to find out about the effect of every ion on the beer’s taste as it’s too elaborate to explain it all in this dense blog post. There are two types water, soft and hard; both can be used to brew beer. The unit of water hardness is ‘French  Degrees’ or °FD and the difference between the two is the quantity of Calcium and Magnesium ions.

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The used water goes through a series of processes before it can be used in the final product. It needs to be de-ironed, decarbonised, demineralised, sterilised and degassed. There are different methods for each step depending on the preferences of the brewer, available space (for the necessary machinery), cost of the investment, danger,…

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Oxidization in beer

The most important process is degassing. This is the process where oxygen is eliminated from the solution. The amount of oxygen in water is often mentioned as dissolved oxygen (DO) in mg/l or ppm (parts per million). For beer the maximum amount is 0,02 mg/l. The reason for this is that oxygen oxidises beer. Oxidization is the cause of stale flavours as molecules in the beer undergo a chemical reaction with oxygen.

There are two ways of degassing water. The first method is vacuum degassing where the beer is brought into an environment with low pressure so that oxygen spontaneously leaves the beer. Another method is pressure degassing where the beer is placed in a keg with pressurized carbon dioxide or nitrogen so that the oxygen is pushed away by the pressurized gasses.

Now you might wonder, “if beer contains 90% water then can’t I just give up on drinking boring water and drink beer as a substitute”? How wonderful (and perhaps a bit alcoholic) that might sound you wouldn’t last very long. Alcohol has a diuretic effect causing the net balance of the water intake and the alcohol’s diuretic effect to be negative meaning you’d dehydrate.
We’ve all suffered from hangovers. The reason why you have feel so bad after a night of drinking is because of dehydration. Thus, depending on the alcohol percentage, you’d only last for a couple of days. Sorry to break it to you but at least you now know it’s not worth the try.

Now go grab yourself a glass of beer (or water) and I’ll you next time, cheers!
~Blancke The Brewer

Fermentation & real ales

Beer  is a fermentation product. Yeast turns sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide while the other components give flavour to the beer. The most common type of yeast is the Saccharomyces cerevisiae and is used all sorts of processes from baking to brewing and other things. It’s one of the most intensively studied micro-organisms. Researchers have mapped its entire genome and thus it can be genetically modified to the specific requirements of any process.

There are three  main types of fermentation being top-, bottom- and spontaneous fermentation. Lagers and other common types of beers use bottom fermentation where the yeast sinks to the bottom of the fermenter and takes place at a low temperature (7-13°C).
Spontaneous fermentation is the process where mother nature takes over. The beer is inoculated with a wild-type yeast rather than a specifically cultivated type of yeast. The final product is thus not determined by the brewer. The flavours are sometimes buffered in case it gets too acidic. A famous example of this type of beer is Lambic.
Ales and some stouts will use top fermentation. Top fermentation lets the yeast form a thick foamy head on top of the fermenter and is carried out at higher temperatures. This makes the process shorter. Top fermentation is often carried out in open vessels. This causes a greater risk for infection but with the right safety measures this shouldn’t cause a problem.

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The biggest difference between the these types of fermentations is whether the beer is ‘alive’ or not. Lagers and other beers that are brewery-conditioned are chilled after the fermentation process, have their yeast removed and are pasteurised to make it sterile. They’re also force-carbonated while being tapped or bottled.

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Secondary fermentation in bottle

Ales don’t go through this process which is why they’re referred to as ‘alive’ or ‘real ales’ as they contain living organisms in their final product. The yeast in the final product gives the beer its finishing touch and maturity as it ferments the leftover sugars and carbonates the bottled product, this is called secondary fermentation. This causes the beer to have a shorter shelf-life than other types of beer and need to be taken care of during storage at home or in pubs.

When I spent my days in Ireland I visited the Smithwick’s ale brewery in Kilkenny. I got to sample a lovely pint of Smithwick’s red-ale and in my opinion it’s one of the best classic ales. So for anyone wondering what an ale tastes like I advise you to get your hands on a freshly tapped ruby-coloured pint of naturally fermented and carbonated goodness.

Sláinte!
~ Blanckey The Brewer

Pint O’ Guinness

Ireland has a special place in my heart. I lived there for half a year and travelled back many more times after that. Therefore I decided that I’ll dedicated the next two blog posts about Irish beers. This week’s post will be about stouts with Guinness in the spotlight and next week’s will be about the real ales. If you’re in for a laugh, make sure to check the video at the end of this post as Conan O’Brien describes how every tourist feels in the brewery.

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St. James’s Gate Brewery

One of the first things that I did as tourist back then was to visit the Guinness brewery at the St. James Gate. I received the standard tour with a history lesson and some information about the basics of brewing. After being forced to make my way through the souvenir shop I finally reached the only destination I cared for when I set foot in that building and that was to pour my own pint of Guinness. I even received a certificate for pouring it perfectly (just like every other tourist that ever set foot in the brewery).

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Pint of Guinness settling

As I was about to take the so beloved first sip of my pint I noticed how the chocolate milk colour slowly settled, revealing the famous dark and rich colour of the stout.
To be honest, the first sip wasn’t all that great. I was let down by it, but I had never drank a stout before so I just blamed it on that. It took me nearly half a pint to finally be able to pinpoint the flavours and to appreciate the taste of a Guinness. Now I don’t have that problem any more, as I enjoy every single sip of a well poured Guinness.

A little fun fact about Guinness is that the lease for the beer, back in 1759, was signed by Arthur Guinness for a total of 9000 years. We won’t be running out of Guinness anytime soon.

The science behind the famous stout.

In a previous post I talked about the basic components of beer. All beers use the same basic ingredients but there is a lot of variation in those. Different types of malt, yeast, hops and even different sources of water. It all determines the flavour of the beer.

If you hold a pint of Guinness the first thing that catches your eyes is the dark brown/black colour. This is the effect of the used malt as every beer consists of a ratio of pale and dark/roasted malt. While a normal lager will only use a small amount of dark malt, Guinness and other stouts tend to use quite a bit more.

The second eye catcher is that the beer is still. In most other beers you can enjoy the whirlwinds of carbon dioxide making its way through the beer all the way to the head. With a stout you can stare as long as you want, you won’t see that effect. That’s because other type of beers are poured with CO2 on tap hence why they’re carbonated drinks. A stout however is poured with a mixture of CO2 gas and nitrogen making it an almost still drink. The stout obtains its thick and creamy properties because of this making it quite a heavy pint. That’s why it’s often called a meal in a glass.

Last but not least is the collar. With a normal beer the collar will start fading rather quickly because of the effect of oxygen in the air on the proteins holding the foam together. The typical thing about a Guinness is that the collar will stay until your glass is empty due to the composition of the proteins. The only thing that will happen if you keep your beer untouched for too long is that the collar will get a grimy-yellow colour and become stale. Though that’s a rare sight as it’s more than likely that someone will steal your pint to evade it from going stale. Wasting a Guinness is considered uncivilized.

For more information about Guinness you can visit the official site: https://www.guinness.com
If you want to learn how to pour a perfect pint of Guinness then check this video to learn the how-to from a master brewer himself.

I hope you learned something new about the famous Irish stout today. As the Irish would say, ‘Sláinte’, meaning cheers in Gaelic.

~Blanckey The Brewer

 

 

 

A 4 billion dollar shandy

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Shandy is a beverage consisting of beer mixed with a soft drink. Whether it’s coke, sprite, fanta or something else that’s up to your personal preference. For a true beer lover this might seem like blasphemy but it isn’t all that bad. It’s a growing market as it is quite refreshing during the summer and it has a sweeter flavour; perfect for people who aren’t too fond of beer. Examples that became quite popular over the last few years in Belgium are Hoegaarden- or Maes Radler. But as the French say “des goûts et des couleurs, on ne discute pas” meaning that we can’t argue about taste and colours.

It’s only been a few weeks since beer giant AB InBev bought SAB Miller and speculations about the interests in soft drink magnate Coca-Cola already came to light. It won’t be for anytime soon as they’re still processing and refining their previous purchase but stock-market analysts expect an offer in 2020.
Even though these are all conjectures Coca-Cola is already breaking bonds with AB InBev.

With their purchase the Belgian-Brazilian beer brewer also got SAB Millers 57% share of the rights in the South-African control of the Coca-Cola production. This is the bottling process and shipment of Coca-Cola to 14 different countries in Africa and it makes a turnover of 2.6 billion euros.
What SAB Miller originally did for Coca-Cola in regards to bottling is what AB InBev does for PepsiCo in South-America and that’s where the shoe pinches. PepsiCo is Coca-Cola’s biggest concurrent and wants to avoid at all cost that one of their partners also works for the concurrent, which is quite understandable.ab-inbev-pepsi-coke_0

Coca-Cola, as the owner, has the right to buy out SAB Millers majority stake in the venture due to the change in ownership. It doesn’t happen often but this time Coca-Cola didn’t hesitate to do so with AB InBev coming into to the picture and that for a price of 4 billion dollars.

As AB InBev owns almost 30% of the world’s beer market there’s not much room for further consolidation. Which is why the speculations of the interest in the soft drink market isn’t that preposterous. Though they’ll have to brew a few more pints to get rid of their debt after the 95 billion dollar purchase.

Now for us this all is unimportant news as it has no immediate impact on our daily life. While they talk about billions I’ll just be saving up a few quid to get myself a few well deserved pints during the weekend.

See you next time, cheers!
~Blanckey The Brewer

Beer: A beautiful artistic symphony

As the week comes to its end and Monday, unfortunately, is luring around the corner a new blog post is being written just for you, to brighten up your final hours of the weekend. So sit back, relax, pour yourself a nice beer and enjoy this post about the beauty of beer, its components and the science involved.

The basics

Beer has four main components being water, malt, yeast and hops. These components have been used for centuries. The texture and flavour of the beer is mainly determined by the type of these components as each of them has a certain humidity, flavour, scent,… depending on where it’s been cultivated and under what circumstances. Of course, if you’d only use these components all beers would basically be the same. Over the past decades brewers have been adding other components such as cinnamon  or rosemary. These led to a whole new spectrum of beer flavours which we now label as ‘craft beers’. Thanks to the courage and determined brewers we can enjoy a total of 32,000 beers worldwide. I still got a long way to go to try them all.

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Malt

The malt determines the colour of the beer and undergoes a series of processes before it can be used in the beer. It has to soak, germinate and finally kilning, which is the process where it’s being dried in an oven at high temperatures. The higher the temperature the darker the malt and thus the darker the colour of the beer will be. The colour is checked on an EBC scale ( European Brewery Convention) which goes from as low as 4, like a pilsner, up to 80 equal to the colour of an imperial stout.

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Fresh hops

Hops not only create the flavour and aromas in the beer but also contribute to the stability of the foam layer and the transparency. Hops straight from the field contain approximately 80% moisture which is reduced by drying to 10%.

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Yeast

 

 

The final component, yeast, is what makes us drunk on nights out. During the fermentation process the yeast converts sugars to alcohol and carbon dioxide (the gas that makes drinks fizzy).

Crafting beer is not just a matter of throwing these ingredients together and letting it ferment. To craft a delicious beer we all enjoy takes time, precision and craftsmanship.

A little fun fact

Back in the early 19th century beer was even used as a healthy beverage. Back then people had no idea about micro-organisms such as bacteria that contaminated their drink water. During the process of brewing beer you boil the substance and thus killing off all the micro-organisms. Because of this people didn’t get sick. Even though that was ages ago they weren’t wrong. Beer is a very healthy product sometimes containing 50% of necessary proteins. Though because of the alcohol involved it can’t be labelled as a healthy product. That’s one of the reasons breweries are producing non-alcoholic beer as it can be advertised as a healthy product.

The beauty of beer

I’ve found a couple of informative videos on the web about the different kinds of beer and the whole brewing process. For anyone who is interested I’ll leave the links down below. However one video caught my attention because of its poetical view on beer. The person in question is Professor Charlie “The Pope of Foam” Bamforth from the university of California who teaches the science of malting and brewing. He talks about the beauty of brewing. How beer is much more than an alcoholic beverage that you drink to get drunk.

Hereby I will conclude this post for today as I take my last sip of a Grimbergen.
For the readers who are interested, here’s a link to a video by professor Karl Siebert about how we taste beer with all our senses: Science of beer – Cornell University

If you’d like to know more about the brewing process itself then here’s a video by the same man as in the first video, Charlie Bamforth: The Art and Science of Beer – University of California.

Cheers, see you next week!
~Blanckey The Brewer