Day 68

More information about hops in Ingredients today. First of all, the subject of light-struck beer. It turns out that the skunky odour of light-struck beer is caused by a unfortunate series of events. First, hops are added. (Well, duhh, it’s beer.) Then yeast produces riboflavin during fermentation. (Bet you didn’t know that beer contained vitamin B.) Finally, evil light hits the beer. The combination of light, hop oils and riboflavin produces 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol (aka MBT), very close in structure to skunk musk and so powerful that its flavour can be detected in quantities of only a few parts per trillion.

Then it was on to major hop oils–myrcene, humulene, caryophylene and linalool–and how to get their respective  pungent, floral, spicy and/or citrus aromas into your beer through hopping later in the boil or even hopping post- fermentation. (Hops added at the start of the boil only add bitterness–the oils that add aromas are volatile and quickly evaporate away during the boil.)

From there, we reviewed the various hop products that can be used: whole hops, hop pellets of various grades, hop extract, pre-isomerized hop oils, as well as the advantages of each. And just in case we weren’t doing enough math in business math, Kevin Somerville showed us the formula for calculating how many gram of hops to use:

Amount of hops to be added in grams = (volume of wort in litres  x correction for specific gravity of wort if it is above 1.050 x IBUs desired) / (percentage of hop oils utilised x percentage of alpha acids in the hops being used x 1000)

Just in case you want more math, the correction for wort with a specific gravity above 1.050 is calculated as  [1 + (original gravity of wort – 1.050) ]/ 0.2

In REAL math, we moved on to calculating how money can accumulate over time, given regular contributions and compound interest. For instance, if a 25-year-old pack-a-day smoker stopped smoking, and instead took the money saved each month and invested it at 4.5% compounded monthly, how much money would be in the account at age 65? Just the money not spent on smokes adds up to $130,000. But what of the contribution of  compound interest? Tap tap tap goes my calculator: The reformed smoker would have $362,110.68 at age 65. (Oh snap, you foolish smokers!)

Say, if I took the money I spend on coffee each day and invested it at 4.5% compounded monthly…

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