Flavor Stability in Beer with Dr Charlie Bamforth – BeerSmith Podcast #74

by Brad Smith on January 31, 2014 · 2 comments

microphoneThis week we talk about flavor stability in beer with brewing science Professor Charles Bamforth from the University of California at Davis. Charlie has been studying flavor stability in beer for a number of years, and shares with us some of the complexities of keeping beer fresh tasting as it ages. We explore the aging of beer, off flavors, and what can be done to improve the flavor stability of beer over time.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (44:45)

  • Dr Charles Bamforth, Professor of Brewing Science at the University of California at Davis is my guest this week. Charlie is known worldwide for his expertise in brewing sciences, and has been studying flavor stability for many years. He has written more than a dozen books on brewing, and his latest book is Flavor, Practical Guides for Beer Quality published through the ASBC.
  • Charlie explains why beer flavor is so important not only for commercial brewers but home brewers as well.
  • We discuss some interesting findings on consumer preferences, and how brand name loyalty can sometimes outweigh even discernible flavor flaws.
  • Charlie discusses how hard it has been to characterize and differentiate the huge number of compounds that can degrade the flavor of beer over time.
  • We talk about how tasting is the ultimate way to determine when a beer has gone bad.
  • Charlie talks about the average shelf life of a beer, and what we might expect for commercial beers.
  • We discuss at length some of the methods for enhancing flavor stability such as controlling temperature, beer packaging, preservatives and minimizing the amount of oxygen in the bottle.
  • Charlie walks us through key events when brewing beer, and how these events drive the stability of the finished beer, and why it is all the maltster’s fault (not really).
  • We discuss hot side aeration (HSA) and why it is not as large of a concern as many people think. Compared to cold storage and other items it is not a huge concern from a stability perspective.
  • Charlie discusses process control in the mash and its effect on finished beer, as well as the risk of metal ion pickup.
  • One interesting note is that you should minimize the pickup of copper metals – as some home brewers do use copper equipment. However copper can help reduce hydrogen sulfide byproducts.
  • We discuss some freshness tips for home brewers including proper bottling, minimizing oxygen, and cold storing your beer.
  • Charlie and I spend a few minutes discussing Belgian beers than break a lot of the rules as far as aging and complexity go.
  • Charlie mentions his book series – the second of which is linked near the top here on Flavor from the ASBC

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

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