Tag Archives: Brewing

Can You Brew Beer with Gorilla-Food?

Animals in captivity require different diets than their counterparts in the wild. For this reason, it is sometimes difficult for zoos to house new animals, since they may not initially know of their dietary and medicinal needs.

An African spice described as tasting of ginger, cardamom, and pepper has been found to prevent a heart condition in gorillas in zoos.

Sam Adams incorporates this same spice—known as Grains of Paradise—in their annual Summer Ale.

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Sake Step 1: Prepare the Rice!

Sake is a very complex alcohol that is made using a unique blend of wine-making and beer-brewing techniques.

In the Sake-making process, the first step is to prepare the rice for fermentation.

To this end, rice is passed over a rough stone to slowly ware down the hulls. The longer rice is pollished like this the better quality the Sake will be.

Polishing the rice like this process can take up to 4 days, and the finest quality of grains for making sake end up 50% of their original size.

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Yeasts Select Their Own Smell

Beer brewers carefully select very specific strains of yeast for their brews. Any one of the litterally hundreds of different types of yeast can impart a specific set of aromas and/or flavors to the final beer.

Beer afficianodos are not the only creatures that are captivated by the aromas that yeast give to beer. Fruit flies are drawn to a specific scent that is created by yeast. Moreover, this is a scent that the yeast can directly control!

When a yeast colony is multiplying too quickly the single-celled organisms have the ability to turn on (& off) this fruit fly-attracting scent. When the scent is active the insects land to feast on the beer, and some lucky yeast cells hitchhike to a new buffet.

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American Whiskeys & DIY Yeasts

It is no secret that craft beer makers carefully select strains of yeast to achieve specific flavor characteristics. What may be less known is that whiskey makers are also highly selective of their yeast.

In addition to maintaining their own unique strains on site, many American whiskey makers commonly use several different yeast at once. Four Roses uses at least 5 different yeast strains in each batch of whiskey.

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An Actual Good Reason to Brew with Corn Syrup

America’s three behemoth beer companies are used to slugging it out via Super Bowl commercials, although in 2019 Bud Light swung below the belt. A series of advertisements outed Miller Lite & Coors Light for using corn syrup to brew their beer—with the fictional king of the Bud Light realm turning up his nose at such a practice.

Naturally the media departments of all three companies took to the internet to yell their particular points of view from the mountain tops of Twitter. Interviews were conducted. Outside groups and individuals weighed in. But seemingly nobody explained—or even asked—is why do Miller Lite & Coors Light brew with corn syrup, anyway?

The answer may lie in the holy grail of light beer: calories.

Beer is made from Grain + Sugar + Water + Yeast + Hops. At some point the yeast stop doing their job of turning sugar into alcohol and go dormant. The sugar molecules that remain undigested by the yeast yield a whole bunch of calories.

This means is that the better brewers are at making yeast consume the entirety of sugar in a brew, then the fewer calories the end product will have. Since yeast are very simple organisms, they can process more molecules of simple-sugars than complex-sugars.

So, if corn syrup (C6H14O7) is a more simple molecule than table sugar (C12H22O11) or whatever Bud Light happens to use, then the corn syrup beers will actually be lighter in calories than Bud Light.

Calories per 12 fluid ounces:

  • Bud Light: 110 cal.
  • Coors Light: 102 cal.
  • Miller Lite: 96 cal.


Reincarnating Victorian Beer

The SS Oregon sank off the coast of New York 133 years ago. While every single human successfully evacuated, the bottled beer in the cargo sank to the bottom of the ocean.

Recently several breweries have managed to extract some of the shipwrecked beer and then analyze the 133 year-old yeast, in order to attempt to recreate this Victorian era remnant.

BFD_02.28.19_Brw.His.SS Oregon

Salt Water Saves!

Ergot is a fungus that likes to eat grains of Rye. It also contains a chemical similar enough to LSD to cause hallucinations in humans. This chemical is strong enough to survive brewing, baking, and distillation.

Rye whiskey makers today soak the grain in salt water to avoid causing the same hallucinations that contributed to the Salem Witch Trials.