Day 442

And now, sadly, History of Rock & Roll moves into the late seventies: disco, with its thumping 120-beats-per-minute bass line; disco’s angry nemesis, punk; and punk’s safe and sanitized version, New Wave.

In FCF, we looked at how dissolved oxygen negatively affects beer. There is always a small amount of oxygen in the headspace of a storage tank, keg or bottle. What I hadn’t realized before was how fast oxygen reacts with stuff inside beer, and how this instantaneous reaction then draws more oxygen into the beer.

Of course, good old Henry’s Law states that a gas in the headspace will dissolve into the beer until the partial pressure of the gas reaches equilibrium in both the headspace and the beer. But oxygen is highly reactive, so as soon as it enters beer, poof! it latches onto something, meaning that there is no more free oxygen in the beer. This invites more oxygen from the headspace to dissolve into the beer. That oxygen instantly binds to something, making room for more oxygen… and so on.

The really bad part is that when oxygen bonds to something, it is bonded for good–there is no practical way to remove the oxygen. Now this wouldn’t be a problem, except that oxygen messes with compounds that change the flavour of the beer, giving it a cardboard or papery taste.

Oxygen in beer is just bad news.

This segued into preservatives that were used in beers, and how they worked by mopping up free radical oxygen. (Not too many craft bewers use preservatives, but it’s always good to know about them.) This naturally (or artificially) led us to a quick overview of natural and artificial flavours.

Speaking of added flavours, apparently a Toronto bar would like to get a cask of Call of Brew-ty: Black Hops, the intensely hot and spicy smoked chipotle schwarzbier that had people crying with joy (okay, crying with pain) at Cask Days.

When I got the text from the brewery today, my first thought was, “Seriously?”

Huh.

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