"I suppose there are people who can pass up free guacamole, but they're either allergic to avocado or too joyless to live."— Frank Bruni

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Time for another ACS Webinar write-up! This time, let's educate ourselves on beer!

(photo cred: Gina M, posted on Yelp)

Professor Charlie Bamforth, of UC Davis, gave an informative, and at times chemistry-centric, session on beer and brewing last week. In appreciation of my favorite cold beverage, here's this week's List of beer- and brewing-related fun facts:
  1. The key grist component of 90% of beers is barley malt. The remaining 10% is primarily composed of wheat malt (9%) and sorghum malt (1%).
  2. Barley is part of the grass family.
  3. Most of domestic barley is grown in Idaho. 
  4. Germany is the leading country in hop production.
  5. China is the biggest beer market in the world.
  6. In terms of the costs of producing beer, hops are the cheapest component of beer (cheap, but plays a huge role in the quality of the beer). The most expensive component is taxes (!), followed by sales and advertising.
  7. The amount of taxes paid by a brewery for a beer depends on the malt content of the beer.
  8. When brewing beer, you want a vigorous boil, not a simmer (which makes the beer smell bad).
  9. There are many environment factors associated with beer production (perhaps this is the most expensive factor):
    • water availability and usage
    • carbon emissions
    • energy usage
    • The most prominent factor in the carbon footprint of a single beer is the electricity used in its refrigeration in retail, followed by its production and the transportation of glass and malt. 
You can watch/listen to the webinar here.

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