If you saw my post on Beer Tapping Physics on Monday, NPR did a more in-depth look at the phenomenon based on the press release that started it all. Their piece, Beer-Tapping Physics: Why A Hit To A Bottle Makes A Foam Volcano, goes into much more detail, including a trio of animated gifs.
The Division of Fluid Dynamics of the American Physical Society sent out a press release about a new study a couple of their members recently published on cavitation, which is a word you’ll understand better from the description.
An old, hilarious if somewhat juvenile party trick involves covertly tapping the top of someone’s newly opened beer bottle and standing back as the suds foam out onto the floor. Now researchers from Carlos III University and Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, Institut Jean le Rond d’Alembert, have produced new insight into the science behind the foaming, exploring the phenomenon of cavitation.
Take a look at the release, The Physics of Beer Tapping Fluid Dynamics Explains Why Bottled Beer Bubbles Over When Tapped, and thanks to regular reader Russ R. for sending me the link. I like this explanation a bit better, though.
“Buoyancy leads to the formation of plumes full of bubbles, whose shape resembles very much the mushrooms seen after powerful explosions,” Rodriguez-Rodriguez explained. “And here is what really makes the formation of foam so explosive: the larger the bubbles get, the faster they rise, and the other way around.” He adds that this is because fast-moving bubbles entrain more carbonic gas.
Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever done that to a person’s bottle. Of course, I tend to be around people who pour their bottle of beer into a glass.
Photo: Javier Rodriguez-Rodriguez / Carlos III University of Madrid, SPAIN Almudena Casado-Chacon / Carlos III University of Madrid, SPAIN Daniel Fuster / CNRS (UMR 7190), Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Institut Jean le Rond d’Alembert, FRANCE
Today’s infographic is a simple illustration showing the basic steps for brewing beer. It was created for a Powerpoint presentation on the Beer Industry by Christian Adeler and Jon Bjornstad in 2011.
Here’s another interesting post on brewing science from Popular Science‘s BeerSci series. If you’re reading the Bulletin, chances are you’re already pretty familiar with the question What Is The Difference Between A Lager And An Ale? But author Martha Harbison gives a good overview of the technical differences in layman’s terms and goes into yeast’s history. It’s a great tale, which she refers to hilariously as a “unicellular soap opera.”
After my post a couple of days ago about Genetically Engineered Yeast, Chaz from Alaskan Brewing sent me a link to an interesting blog post by Dmitri, an amateur yeast wrangler who writes about his yeasty adventures at BKYeast. The post is a review of science literature from Cerevisia, the Belgian Journal of Brewing and Biotechnology. The article in question is titled Selecting and Generating Superior Yeasts for the Brewing Industry, which was published in 2012. It’s deliciously geeky and technical, but should be scrutable to anyone who brews either professionally or at home, thanks to Dmitri’s writing, as his goal is to take the jargon and science and make it accessible to a broader audience. As brewers struggle to have their beers stand out in an ever-increasingly crowded marketplace, it should be obvious that we’ll be seeing more and more experimentation with flavors and ingredients and ultimately more unique beers, and even new types of beers as others copy the successful ones, in the coming years. As the author notes, new varieties of hops are already facilitating that effort, and it seems likely that new strains of yeast are a logical next step in that evolution. And that’s what this research by a group from Leuven, Belgium is trying to make easier, finding the right yeast to create the right range of flavors for your beer. Give it a read.
“Graphical representation (heat map) of different characteristics of industrial yeast strains. Every row consists of data from a different yeast strain, every column is a different characteristic. ‘Yellow’ is a low score, and ‘red’ is a high score for this certain characteristic. The dendrogram on the left represents the genetic relatedness of the yeasts, based on an AFLP fingerprint exploiting transposon TY1 insertion site polymorphisms. The colour code on the top right indicates the origin of the yeast strains. This kind of analysis allows us to select yeasts with specific beneficial traits, for example to use in industry, or for breeding.”
Mashable had an interesting piece about Genetically Engineered Yeast being done by at least two companines, Amyris and Evolva, and based in part on a New York Times article, What’s That Smell? Exotic Scents Made From Re-engineered Yeast. In the Times article Amyris co-founder Jay Keasling explained “that the process is ‘just like brewing beer, but rather than spit out alcohol, the yeast spits out these products.’” The relatively new discipline, dubbed synthetic biology, is only about a decade old. There are apparently issues about whether it would be considered natural. SOme say no, because the synthetic version “contains scores of components besides” what it’s being used as, while John B. Hallagan, from the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association believes “it conceivably could be called a natural ingredient since it is made in a living organism.”