Save The Bees, Save The Beer

Beer, of course, is an agricultural product, two of its main ingredients are very dependent on a good harvest. Both hops and barley (and other grains such as wheat and rye) grow best when they’re planted in the right place and the conditions are present to encourage their best selves. I received an e-mail a few days ago with the intriguing message. “Bees pollinate 1/3 of our food, including the hops used to make beer. Save the bees, save the beer.”


The e-mail was about an Indiegogo campaign to create a “community open to anyone who cares about bees, the environment and food,” called BeeWithMe, which will consist of “a dynamic new website that teaches people how easy and fun it is to raise a diverse range of gentle bees.” Unless you’ve been cryogenically frozen recently, you no doubt have heard that bees are disappearing from our environment, which could have devastating consequences for our food supply and our life cycle more generally. Find out how to participate at You Can Help Save the Bees, which begins:

Imagine a world without bees. There would be no blueberries, no cherries, no pumpkins – not even beer.

Here’s the problem: Most farmers depend on a single type of bee to pollinate our food and that bee, the honey bee, has been struggling.

You can be part of the solution and protect our food supply by raising gentle, native bees in your backyard or supporting someone else who does.

Keep your favorite foods on the table by contributing today and joining the BeeWithMe network that will collaborate to raise more native bees and grow more food.

Most of the pledge levels involve getting your own bees, some to simply release in your back yard, up to everything you need to raise your own bees. There are also teacher’s packages for classrooms and levels for entire garden clubs and communities. Please bee generous. And remember, save the bees, save the beer.


Patent No. 3796143A: Device For The Germination And Drying Of Malt

Today in 1974, US Patent 3796143 A was issued, an invention of Gisbert Schlimme and Manfred Tschirner, for his “Device for the Germination and Drying of Malt.” Here’s the Abstract:

A device for the germination and drying of malt charged onto the radially outer portion of an annular rotating rack and gradually shifted radially inwardly by means of rotary worm means extending radially across said annular rack and being suspended by threaded spindles for movement downwardly and upwardly between charge and discharge openings in an outer wall surrounding said annular rack.


Patent No. 3647473A: Malting Grain

Today in 1972, US Patent 3647473 A was issued, an invention of Peter Michael Howlett, and Keith Christopher Stowell, for their “Malting Grain.” Here’s the Abstract:

A process and apparatus for dehusking cereal grain by a dry mechanical method at a temperature not above about 105 DEG F., and wherein the moisture content of the grain is above about 8 percent by weight in order to damage the grain so that substantial rootlet growth is prevented without substantially damaging the aleurone layer. The dehusked grain is subsequently malted and there are advantages compared with conventional malting of husked grain.


Patent No. 2290089A2: Barley For Production Of Flavor-Stable Beverage

Today in 2011, US Patent 2290089 A2 was issued, an invention of Søren Knudsen, Lene Mølskov Bech, Klaus Breddam, Finn Lok, Ole Olsen, and Birgitte Skadhauge, assigned to Carlsberg A/S, for their “Barley for Production of Flavor-Stable Beverage.” Here’s the Abstract:

According to the invention, there is provided null-LOX-1 barley and plant products produced thereof, such as malt manufactured by using barley kernels defective in synthesis of the fatty acid-converting enzyme lipoxygenase-1. Said enzyme accounts for the principal activity related to conversion of linoleic acid into 9-hydroperoxy octadecadienoic acid, a lipoxygenase pathway metabolite, which – through further enzymatic or spontaneous reactions – may lead to the appearance of trans-2-nonenal. The invention enables brewers to produce a beer devoid of detectable trans-2-nonenal-specific off-flavors, even after prolonged storage of the beverage.


Patent No. 7332342B2: Barley Kernel Husk Evaluation

Today in 2008, US Patent 7332342 B2 was issued, an invention of Isao Kishinami, assigned to Sapporo Breweries Ltd., for his impossibly long patent name, “Disposing barley kernels with husks in a sulfuric acid solution having a 40% to 60% concentration, agitating the solution having the barley kernels disposed therein for a prescribed time, and observing the degree of husk remaining on the barley kernels subsequent to the agitation.” Here’s the Abstract, only slightly longer than the title:

An object of the present invention is to provide a method for evaluating the physical strength of husks of a barley ingredient for malt manufacture. Barley kernels with husks are disposed in a sulfuric acid solution with a concentration of approximately 40% to 60%, and are agitated for a prescribed time (e.g. approximately 1 hour) using a stirrer bar or the like. After agitation, the barley kernels are treated with a mixed liquid of Methylene Blue and Eosin, and the degree of peeled husk (remaining degree) is examined by referring to the degree of dyed barley kernels, to thereby evaluate the physical strength of the husks of the barley kernels.


Patent No. 6100447A: Method Of Barley Transformation

Today in 2000, US Patent 6100447 A was issued, an invention of Liying Wu and Raymond L. Rodriguez, for their “Method of Barley Transformation.” Here’s the Abstract:

A method for stably transforming barley from mature barley seeds as starting material is disclosed. The method involves germinating mature barley seeds until early shoot development occurs, exposing scutellar or embryo tissue cells on the embryo side of germinated seeds, and introducing foreign DNA into the cells. The cells are initially grown under conditions that allow expression of a selectable marker introduced with the foreign DNA, then on a callus-growth medium effective to suppress callus formation in the absence of the selectable marker. Successfully transformed calli can be cultured in suspension to obtain a desired foreign protein, or regenerated into plants, to obtain the foreign protein from the transformed plants, e.g., germinated seeds.


Patent No. 1015443A: Apparatus For Macerating Wort

Today in 1912, US Patent 1015443 A was issued, an invention of Robert Hoffmann, for his “Apparatus for Macerating Wort.” There’s no Abstract, but in the description he explains the problem and his solution:

In macerating they wort in making beer the sparging water has hitherto been poured on to the wort by means of a rotary sprayer spraying over or sparging the wort. As the sparging water falls from a certain height on to the surface of the wort it is not only impossible to avoid unintentionally mixing the wort with the sparging water,’but the latter is also undesirably cooled. Both disadvantages thus involve a loss of yield from the grain and thus mean an incomplete’ working.

Now as compared with the ordinary apparatus for maceration this invention consists in the sparging water not being, allowed to fall from a height on to the surface of the wort but being introduced in layers on to the surface of the wort, so that the grain during maceration is slowly compressed by the sparging water and does not mix therewith.

This improved apparatus consists in other’ words in the sparging water being allowed to flow on to the wort in a continuous stream without first having to fall through the air — on to the surface of the wort.


A Beer Bestiary

A Bestiary is an old-fashioned idea, from the Middles Ages, where various animals and other creatures, often fanciful, mythical and fictitious, were illustrated, and then there was a detailed description of each beast, usually accompanied by an allegorical story with a moral or religious teaching. You can see examples of many of these imaginary creatures at the Medieval Bestiary. A Los Angeles illustrator and graphic designer, Ian O’Phelan, has created a modern version, which he calls a “Beer Bestiary.” With just four mythical creatures in his bestiary, his fantastic four you’ll likely recognize, if not individually, at least for what they can become as a superhero team, your next beer.

Barley Beast
Virginal Hops
Water Bear
Cockatrice d’Yeast

Trouble Brewing: Changes In FDA Rules For Spent Grain

There was an interesting article recently on Craft Beer Business detailing how changes to the FDA regulations regarding spent grain might effect breweries. Under a proposed new “definition, craft breweries would be labeled animal feed manufacturers and be regulated as such by the FDA.” Given that most breweries have to find something to do with their spent grain, whether selling it or donating it, if the proposed rules take effect, it will undoubtedly alter the way breweries dispose of their grain. Check out the article, FDA rule regulates spent grain sold as animal feed, to see the rule changes.

Spent grain at Russian River’s production brewery after brewing a batch of Pliny the Elder in May 2009.