Beer Science

Developments in beer production

Thr3e Wise Men Brewery VatsBreweries, as facilities dedicated to beer production, emerged when monasteries and other Christian institutions began producing beer to be used as currency.

Early breweries were designed with equipment on higher floors in order to utilize the aid of gravity to in transferring the product between brewing stages. Though this building layout is still somewhat common, mechanical pumps are now the norm.

Early breweries also used large copper vats and lined wooden containers were used during the fermentation process. Since the Industrial Revolution, stainless steel has been typically used for brewery equipment since it is less expensive and doesn’t corrode.

Alaskan Brewing is credited with installing the first carbon dioxide reclamation system in a United States brewery. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a natural byproduct of the brewing process. Since 1998, Alaskan has been capturing the gas and using it in beer packaging. This development is said to decrease the environmental impact and financial cost of their beer production.

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Beer Science

New math for beer drinkers

You can’t argue that driving a vehicle after drinking is a good thing to do. This takes on a whole new meaning though with the rise of craft brewing.?????????????????????

Blood alcohol level or content (BAC) is defined as the percentage of alcohol in a person’s blood. A BAC of 0.10 means that 0.10% (one tenth of one percent) of a person’s blood is made up of alcohol. In the United States, the legal limit is .08.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC ), a standard beer is 12 oz. and contains .6 oz. of alcohol assuming the beer is 5% alcohol. I weigh 120 lbs, which means I can drink 2 beers in an hour before reaching the US legal limit.

However, as a craft beer lover, I typically drink beers around 7.5% alcohol and I am often drinking pints (16 oz.) instead of bottles (12 oz.). So the math is totally different. I can only have 1 beer before reaching the US legal limit.

The National Transportation Safety Bureau is heading an effort to get the BAC limit lowered to .05 from .08. If that happens, we’ll probably start seeing a lot more session beers produced by craft breweries.

Beer History

All pints are not created equal

beer pintCozy up to the bar and order a pint. Depending on which country you are in will determine the size of the glass you receive. In the United States, a pint of beer is equivalent to just 16 ounces.

Pints are based on 1/8 of a gallon, but the definition of gallon varies. The liquid pint (think beer) is based on the British Wine Gallon which was established in 1707 and is equal to 231 cubic inches. A dry pint is based on the British Corn Gallon which is 269 cubic inches.

Since 1824, the UK (and other parts of the world), have used the imperial gallon to define a pint. Pints in the UK are still based on 1/8 gallon, but a gallon is defined as 10 lbs of water which is about 277 cubic inches. This means that a pint is equal to 20 ounces. That’s 25% more beer than a pint in the US!