Hops and Beer Bitterness with Dr Charlie Bamforth – BeerSmith Podcast #58

by Brad Smith on April 25, 2013 · 0 comments

This week I invite Dr Charles Bamforth to talk with us about beer bitterness, isomerization, alpha acids and hops in your home brewed beer. Dr Bamforth is a Professor of Brewing Science at the University of California at Davis, and author of numerous books.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (48:45)

  •  Dr Charlie Bamforth is this week’s guest. Dr Bamforth is a Professor of Brewing Science at the University of California at Davis, and author of many books including Beer is Proof that God Loves Us, Beer: Tap into the Art and Science of Brewing, and Scientific Principles of Malting and Brewing (Amazon affiliate links).
  • We start with a general discussion of “bitterness substances” and their role in beer.
  • Charlie talks about how alpha acid shapes hop bitterness – both for high alpha and low alpha hops
  • I ask Dr Bamforth to talk about the isomerization process that takes place in the boil
  • We discuss the different types of iso-alpha acids
  • IBUs are only one measure of hop flavor – we talk about why IBUs don’t tell the whole story when it comes to hop flavors
  • Charlie explains “essential oils” and why it is important to use very late hop additions to preserve these oils
  • We talk about how hops both preserve and also play a role in the skunky flavor we get when beer is exposed to light
  • Charlie walks us through head retention and how hops play a critical role in foam (also discussed in podcast 23)
  • We talk about gushing and some potential causes
  • Charlie shares his thoughts on applying this knowledge to home brewing
  • He also shares his final thought on potential health effects from hops
  • Dr Bamforth is developing a new series of books mentioned in the show available from the American Society of Brewing Chemists

Thanks to Charlie Bamforth for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!

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