In the pursuit of perfect homebrew, failure still makes beer.


Nerdsday Thursday: Cavitation, otherwise known as that asshole at a party.

Fun article today on PopSci about the fluid dynamics of that asshole clinking the mouth of your bottled beer at a party. Whether it forces you to chug or clean up later, this trick is funny until it happens to you.

Bottoms Up | Popular Science.


Beer and Strenuous Marathon Exercise: The Magic of Polyphenols

Nerdsday Thursday is back in action. Looking for a little over-the-top, evidence-based science on why you should drink beer? You’ve come to the right place today. Who ever wants to cut out beer while training for a marathon? A recent study states that drinking beer might actually increase your chances for a healthier marathon experience.  (more…)

Drinking Craft Beer on a Calorie Budget

If you’re one of the 66% of Americans that are overweight, or you just want to start hitting da gym for that Ahnald Look you’ve been chasing since eighth grade, you probably made a new years resolution to fix your nutrition habits (which you’ll start next Monday, of course). I consider myself a well-educated health nut, but I sometimes (alright, most times) don’t practice it. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been right now, but I’m already doing well with my own new year’s resolution. Unfortunately, I have a big problem: I still want to drink my precious craft beer. (more…)

The Bono Brew House Yeast, V1.0

Microbial magic!

Since my last fermentation went so well, I decided to harvet the yeast cake from the bottom of my carboy. This way I can try it out with different recipes and maybe start developing a fermentation profile that is unique to my beers.

I mixed two White Labs Yeast strains for my Great Pumpkin Ale. So, I had a lot of yeast multiplied up in the yeast cake at the bottom of the carboy once I siphoned the beer off into the keg. I used the following steps to wash and recover this yeast:

  1. Rack your beer per usual.
  2. Take 1L of sterile (pre-boiled) water at room temperature and empty it into the carboy on top of the yeast cake.
  3. Swirl the carboy to rightly suspend the yeast.
  4. Pour the entire suspension into a 2L beaker (or jar, whatever you have). Store the sealed flask in the fridge overnight.
  5. Remove the flask from the fridge and decant the liquid from the top of the settled yeast. Suspend again with sterile water and store in the fridge.
  6. Again, decant the fluid after keeping it in the fridge.

According to Chris White’s and Jamil Zainasheff’s Yeast book, the yeast should be stored at cold temps (33F-36F) for at the most 14 days. So I guess that means you’ll get some more homebrewed goodness in two weeks! Tally ho!

Nerdsday Wednesday… Self medication is encouraged!

I ran across this article today that details a Kenyan hospital’s poison control practices: beer consumption.

After people were brought in after drinking methanol-laced drinks (lame attempt at homebrew, guys), the doctors would dose ethanol to the patients in the cheapest way possible: beers. This is, in fact, is an effective treatment when used in combination with fluid consumption. Why, if these people have been poisoned with alcohol, should you give them more alcohol?

These men were blind but alive after ingesting methanol at a Kenyan clinic.

The answer is enzyme kinetics. Alcohol dehydrogenase, the enzyme in your liver that will eventually break down that Jägerbomb you just swallowed, will process both methanol (CH3OH, the smaller toxic alcohol) and ethanol (C2H5OH, the longer, also toxic alcohol). The problem is, when you drink methanol, the alcohol-killing enzyme will change it into formaldehyde and then eventually into formic acid or formate, which will essentially starve all the cells in all the tissues in your body of oxygen. Ethanol, in comparison, is broken down into acetaldehyde, then Acetyl CoA, where it can then be used to create energy (ATP). Thus, ethanol is nutritious (hooray!); but acetaldehyde is toxic and in large quantities will cause cancer and other bad diseases.

When you ingest both methanol and ethanol at the same time, the ethanol is broken down first, no matter in what order you ingest the chemicals. This is called competitive inhibition, where an enzyme favors munching on one thing as opposed to the other for “energy conservation” reasons. Either way, if you keep drinking beer (with ethanol) at a moderate pace, then you can keep the methanol and its bad byprocuts out of your bloodstream and allow your kidneys to take care of business. Bad Ass.

This little guy could save your life. Be sure you have a good supply ready at hand.

ReferencesBoggan, Bill. “Metabolism of Ethyl Alcohol in the Body”. Chemases.comVale A (2007). “Methanol”. Medicine 35 (12): 633–4.;  Liesivuori J, Savolainen H (September 1991). “Methanol and formic acid toxicity: biochemical mechanisms”. Pharmacol. Toxicol. 69 (3): 157–63.

Nerdsday Monday? Foam is “sexy”

Just came across another video, this one from 2008, about what is so special about “nitro” taps, or adding nitrogen to the beer instead of CO2. Surprisingly, a higher-up at Miller Brewing has a lot to say about how “sexy” foam is on a beer… and now all my friends will understand my foam obsession.

Beer and Science COLLIDE

This picture is just too good not to post. It comes from a BBC story about the oldest bottle of beer ever found – 200 years old – from a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea. They’re going to analyze the brew and make it again.


Wonder how well it's aged...