This is where I will try to post, as often as I can, on beer topics that are related to my beer, the beer I drink, and my beer education.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Day 38; Brewing Science

The morning we discussed pasteurization, cleaning and sanitation. It was less than exciting.

The afternoon lecture was given by our next semester lab instructor. She used to specialize in QA and microbiological concerns at Miller. Her lecture covered all the aspects of microorganisms that we might possibly come in contact with during our brewing careers.
One bacteria called Pectinatus, appears like a slightly curved rod under a microscope and Gram stains negative. It can make your beer smell really bad of hydrogen sulfide (rotten eggs). This particular bacteria is anaerobic, so it is unlikely for it to show up in the brewery. But during packaging, it is highly important to have a sterile environment and avoid all oxygen contact with the beer, because oxygen promotes beer spoilage. Years ago, Coors had a contamination with this bacteria and they ended up doing an enormous recall. Apparently their bottling line fillers contained the organism. It was easy enough to fix the problem once they found it, but finding it must have been a nightmare. Another factor that might have made a difference for Coors is pasteurization, but they do not pasteurize their beer, they firmly rely on strict sanitation procedures.

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