Yeast Nutrient: A Cautionary Tale for Beer, Cider, Mead and Wine Makers

Yeast nutrient can be helpful in ensuring a healthy fermentation in beer, cider, wine and mead making, but it can also present a risk if not used appropriately.  More on that in a moment, but first a little foreshadowing.

The first three lessons typically drilled into the heads of the beer, cider, mead and wine makers are: sanitation, sanitation, and sanitation. The importance of sanitation for those of the craft has been public knowledge at least since the second half of the 19th century when French scientist Louis Pasteur was called on by his government to assist the ailing wine industry (and later brewers) to determine what was spoiling their wine and how to prevent it.

Louis Pasteur’s Études sur le vin (Wine Studies) 1866

Among other things, solid cleaning and sanitation practices were recommended as a means of deterring unwanted microorganisms from contaminating and spoiling the libation-maker’s beverages.

Today, brewers and others have an effective array of food-grade sanitizers and cleansers at our disposal along with laboratory-produced pure yeast cultures to aid us in our efforts to produce a precise and consistent product.

But somehow even with all of these technological breakthroughs at our fingertips, libation-makers still make costly and stupid sanitation mistakes that end up ruining their products.

Take me, for example.

Despite a vast assortment of pure yeast cultures available in the market today, sometimes brewers such as myself look to capture a very specific yeast character that can only be obtained by culturing yeast from a bottle of a particular commercial beer.  (Perhaps the best beer I’ve ever made was created doing just this.)

For the brewer, this is one of those times that surgeon-like sanitary skills must be employed over several days to ensure no unwanted microorganism infects what we hope will be a pure culture of the yeast we’re after.

It is standard practice in these cases that granulated yeast nutrient is used to increase our chances of growing the very small amount of hopefully viable yeast found resting at the bottom of a bottle of commercial beer.

If the brewer’s efforts pay off, the desired yeast will slowly grow to the amount needed to ferment a batch of wort.  I had success culturing yeast in this way in the past, but not so much recently to the point that I had to dump the attempted yeast cultures and go with store-bought yeast.

It was evident that my recent yeast culturing efforts had failed because even without a microscope, I could smell and taste that the cultured yeast samples exhibited a peachy but otherwise unpleasant slightly sulfur-y character; certainly not the profile typical of the yeast I was after.

But that wouldn’t be the last time I encountered that peachy sulfur-like presence.

About a year later, I sourced some top notch apple juice for making hard cider.  As many cider makers know, apple juice doesn’t contain all of the nutrients typically found in brewer’s wort, and this can lead to a sluggish fermentation among other problems.  For this reason, yeast nutrient is typically added to the must, which of course I recently did.

And there is was again.  That unwanted peachy, slightly sulfur-y aroma emanating from my fermenting cider.

And then it struck me.  The yeast nutrient.

You see, unlike laboratory-grade hermetically sealed brewer’s yeast, yeast nutrient, isn’t necessarily sanitary, especially if purchased from a homebrew shop.  This is because homebrew shops will often order a larger quantity of a certain product, such as yeast nutrient, and then repackage those smaller quantities into smaller containers.  It’s during the repackaging phase that other unwanted microorganisms can get mixed in, which was the case for me.

Whatever the source, my yeast nutrient came loaded with some microorganisms clinging to the very nutrient that would help them grow and infect my yeast starters and spoil my expensive cider.  And this was even after the yeast nutrient was held in a freezer for years.

But you have to admit, what a lavish banquet those microorganisms in the yeast nutrient feasted on after being awakened from their icy slumber!  Fit for a king, I tell you!  Sadly though for those other microbes still lying in wait on the yeast nutrient in the freezer, they are in for a bit more of a warmer welcome when they awaken.  Boiling warm.

I suppose one might say the lesson to be learned here is to always boil yeast nutrient prior to use, as is sometimes (not always) printed on the packaging of yeast nutrient containers.  And certainly this is not a bad idea.  (If it’s not already on the packaging, it doesn’t hurt to write it on yourself.)

But there might be an even bigger lesson to be learned from my oversights.

For example, even though sanitation is one of the lessons beer, cider, mead and wine makers learn early on in our study of fermentation, it doesn’t mean that it should be taken for granted.  In other words, we can’t assume that just because the importance of sanitation was preached to us in the Kindergarten of our ferment-ucation, this must mean that somehow we then and forevermore mastered it in every aspect with no need to look back.

And this idea extends to other areas of brewing and beyond where we should be humble enough to acknowledge that even with X amount of years of experience, we might still make mistakes.  We might still not know everything.  As much as our trusted processes have led us to success in the past, we should never be too proud, trusting or dogmatic to question or improve them.

And though the technology we employ today aids us in preventing such infections (or whatever else), it doesn’t make the process foolproof.  I don’t mean to suggest that technology makes us necessarily lazy, but technology can make us overconfident.  Perhaps over-trusting, leading to a techno-blind spot, as it were.

In other words, even though we may have learned our ABCs in Kindergarten, it doesn’t mean we haven’t been repeatedly misspelling a few words along the way.  A few misspelled words that even spellcheck didn’t catch.


Hi, I’m Dan: Beer Editor for BeerSyndicate.com, Beer and Drinking Writer, Award-Winning Brewer, BJCP Beer Judge, Beer Reviewer, American Homebrewers Association Member, Shameless Beer Promoter, and Beer Traveler.

It's only fair to share...Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Pin on Pinterest
Pinterest
Share on Reddit
Reddit

Hypocritical Bud Light Super Bowl Ad Takes Jab at Coors for Using Inferior Ingredient

In recent years, craft beer was the easy target featured in what appear to be Budweiser’s increasingly desperate and misguided Super Bowl attack ads.

A 2015 Budweiser Super Bowl ad collectively mocked and stereotyped craft beer drinkers as hipster-y, fussy, and pretentious nudniks for drinking the likes of “pumpkin peach beer”, while in the same breath Budweiser’s ad self-praised its corporately mass-produced brand for allegedly being brewed “the hard way”, seeming to imply that other breweries (craft or otherwise) were, well, lazy.

Budweiser’s attack ad backfired when the craft beer community pointed out the apparent hypocrisy of Bud’s corporate parent company, AB InBev, for attempting to blast craft drinkers for sipping brews like pumpkin peach beer, while at the same time AB InBev sold pumpkin peach beer from its then recently acquired Elysian Brewing Company.

Still smarting from the rock-to-the-head slingshoted from the craft community, the Eye of Sauron that is Bud has now shifted its gaze to Coors.

In keeping with the now eye-rollingly predictable campy Monty-Python-and-The Holy-Grail theme, Bud Light’s 2019 Super Bowl ad depicts a large wooden barrel of corn syrup being mistakenly delivered to the Budweiser kingdom/brewery. After being advised that the barrel-o-corn syrup must belong to Coors in the ad, ‘King Budweiser’ then benevolently attempts to return the inferior ingredient to the Coors brewery only to learn that Coors already received its shipment, at which point the corn syrup is then rightfully returned to the Coors Light brewery.

The 2019 Bud Light Super Bowl ad finishes by assuring its viewers that Bud Light is “brewed with no corn syrup”, apparently implying that corn syrup is a cheap and/or inferior product.  Here, “inferior” could be meant to imply (wrongly) that corn syrup used in brewing somehow contributes more to obesity when in fact corn sugars are perhaps just as easily, if not more so, converted to alcohol during the fermentation process as rice sugars.

Speaking of which, what Bud’s Super Bowl ad fails to point out is that its own beer (Budweiser and Bud Light), is also brewed with a comparatively cheap adjunct, namely rice.

But not just any rice.  Bud has been reported to be tainted with an experimental and genetically engineered rice strain, according to Greenpeace.

While it’s true that corn-based products have been subsidized by the U.S. government for many years and could therefore be considered “cheap”, so has rice.

Ignoring for the moment the apparent hypocrisy of Bud calling out Coors for being brewed with supposedly inferior adjuncts, it should be noted that many beer styles, including the currently popular IPA, are traditionally brewed with adjuncts, such as corn sugar (in order to increase alcohol content while drying the beer out).

In fact, though it was formerly excluded as a craft brewery due to its large scale, the oldest continually operating brewery in the U.S., Yuenglings (established 1829), was recently reclassified as a craft brewery because it brewed with traditional ingredients, in this case corn.

Adjuncts, such as beet sugar, have been used in the most highly regarded Belgian beers for centuries.

Long story short, adjuncts do not a bad beer make.  And for the most part, when it comes to beer, sugar is sugar, whether it comes from rice, corn, or beets.

So what’s the message to the crack advertising team behind the recent slew of Bud’s Super Bowl misfires?

In the immortal words of Ice Cube: Chickity check yo self before you wreck yo self.

Meanwhile, this writer offers two words of encouragement to Budweiser as it continues to lose market share: 

Dilly dilly.


Author: Hi, I’m D.J. Pander.  I like beer. I also like having a job. Please share if you like.

It's only fair to share...Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Pin on Pinterest
Pinterest
Share on Reddit
Reddit

The Beer Style Origin Quiz

The Beer Style Origin Quiz is designed to measure an individual’s knowledge about the origins of various beer styles through a series of questions of varying levels of difficulty: Normal, Challenging, and MENSA-Level.

At the end of the quiz, the individual’s score is tallied and a “Beer IQ” is calculated.

It’s recommended to begin with the “Normal” Quiz, and then proceed from there, however all three levels are provided below.

Good luck.

The Beer Style Origin Quiz (NORMAL)

The Beer Style Origin Quiz (CHALLENGING)

The Beer Style Origin Quiz (MENSA-LEVEL)


Hi, I’m Dan: Beer Editor for BeerSyndicate.com, Beer and Drinking Writer, Award-Winning Brewer, BJCP Beer Judge, Beer Reviewer, American Homebrewers Association Member, Shameless Beer Promoter, and Beer Traveler.

It's only fair to share...Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Pin on Pinterest
Pinterest
Share on Reddit
Reddit

Results on Legislation Aiming to Legalize Shipping Booze via USPS, the “Road Beer”, and 64 oz Growlers

Congresswoman Jackie Speier submits bill to legalize USPS shipping of beer.  Again.  And again.

On July, 29, 2015, California Congresswoman Jackie Speier submitted a bill to make it legal for the USPS to ship alcohol including beer.  So what happened?  Well, the bill known as H.R. 3412 United States Postal Service Shipping Equity Act, died in Congress like its predecessor, H.R. 1718, an almost identical bill put forward by Speier that died in 2013.

Jackie Speier

But you can’t keep a good bill down.  The new iteration of the USPS Shipping Equity Act, now called H.R. 4024, was introduced to Congress on October 11, 2017, and Skopos Labs, an A.I.-powered research platform, gives this bill a reassuring 4% chance of being enacted.  So they’re saying there’s a chance…

Montana lawmaker seeks to bring back the ‘road beer’

In January of 2017, lawmakers mulled over a bill that would bring “road beers” back to Montana.  House Bill 206 was designed to lift the open alcohol container ban for passengers in a motor vehicle on Montana highways, though drivers would still be restricted.

So did it pass?

Sure enough, on April 28, 2017, the Montana legislature gave HB 206 a pass.  A hard pass.  It’s unclear whether Montana will ever catch up to other states that allow for passenger road beers such as Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Missouri, Virginia, and West Virginia, or even the freedom-rich state of Mississippi that allows a road beer not only for the passenger, but one for the driver too.
Road Beer

One man fighting the good fight: Florida bartender sues state of Florida over 64 oz growler ban.

Back in November of 2014, bar owner Guy Piasecki and his lawyer sued the state of Florida over a law that prohibited the sale of beer in containers larger than 32 ounces or smaller than a gallon.  In other words, it was legal to sell beer in 32-ounce and 128-ounce growlers, but not the common 64-ounce size.

Growler

A bar owner thought this law was stupid, but how would the state of Florida weigh in?

As of July 1st of 2015, it could be said that Guy fought the law, and Guy won.  Indeed, filling 64-ounce growlers with beer is now legal in Florida like it already was in every other state.


Hi, I’m D.J. Pander.  I like beer.  I also blog. Follow me on Myspace.

 

It's only fair to share...Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Pin on Pinterest
Pinterest
Share on Reddit
Reddit

Beer Syndicate Previews Fake Brews from the News

It was only a matter of time before fake news penetrated the beer world.  And with that, here are previews of three fake brews from the news:

Black Out Brett
Mark your calendars because no matter what, one of the most controversial releases of the decade is set to hit the shelves from the critically-acclaimed Dog & Pony Show Brewing Co. out of Washington, D.C.  Sworn in at a staggering 19.82% ABV, Black Out Brett is an American strong dark ale fermented with 100% brettanomyces yeast, and especially brewed for those people who categorically and unequivocally like beer.  Regardless of your politically leanings, Black Out Brett is guaranteed to be a carefully calculated and orchestrated hit!

Black Out Brett

Banksy’s Going, going, gone… Gose

The inspiration for this limited-release brew was ripped straight from the headlines after the iconic painting Girl with Red Balloon from famed England-based graffiti artist “Banksy” self-destructed as it was fed through a shredder hidden inside the frame moments after being sold at auction for $1.4 million.  Not long after, the anonymous Banksy posted to Instagram “Going, going, gone…”, summing up the moment he literally and figuratively made art history.

Meanwhile, in a case of art imitating art, Banky’s Going, going, gone… Gose from the London-based Now You See It, Now You Don’t Brewing Co. not only captures that sour moment in a bottle with this acidic ale, but the bottle itself also actually self-destructs upon opening when a widget inside the bottle triggers the bottom of the bottle to open, causing the beer inside to fall out.

Banksy's Going, going, gone... Gose!

Shock Value IP-Ye!

Never known for resorting to shock value for attention, this brew pays homage to the rapper formerly known as Kanye West for doing the one thing Ye never does: resorting to shock value for attention.  A special one-time release from the Chicago-based brewery Optional Slavery, Shock Value IP-Ye! is ornately packaged in a 24-karat gold bottle, making it not only the world’s most expensive beer at $100,000 a pop, but also the world’s hoppiest brew weighing in at jaw dropping 1 billion IBUs thanks to a MAGA-dose of ultra-concentrated hop extract.  Shock Value IP-Ye! is so needlessly over the top that it’ll make even Tyler Swift scream “Good Yeezus!

Shock Value IP-Ye!

[Proceeds from this beer go to support Mr. West’s 2024 U.S. presidential bid featuring running mate Beyoncé.]

Most Expensive Beer in the World


Hi, I’m D.J. Pander.  I like beer.  I also blog. Follow me on Myspace.

[To the best of our knowledge, all of the proceeding beers are fictional parodies based on world events that may or may not have happened.]

It's only fair to share...Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Pin on Pinterest
Pinterest
Share on Reddit
Reddit

Page 1 of 16

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén