Today in 1964, US Patent 3128188 A was issued, an invention of Donald B. McIntire, assigned to the Union Carbide Corp., for his “Beer Lagering Process.” There’s no Abstract, but here’s how it’s described. “The main object of the present invention to provide a process for producing lagered beer without storing the beer.” I think what I’m most curious about is what interest a company like Union Carbide would have in holding a patent for making lager beer? The process is described in great detail as the description continues.
In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a process for lagering ruh beer comprising freezing water from the ruh beer so as to produce a slurry of concentrated beer, ice, and other solids; and removing the ice and other solids from the concentrated beer, while maintaining the beer in a substantially inert atmosphere throughout all process steps. Thus, the inventive process produces concentrated, lagered beer by freeze concentrating ruh beer.
Another novel and important feature of the present invention resides in the removal of calcium oxalate from the lagered beer product. Calcium oxalate is usually formed during normal brewing processes, and it is well established in the brewing literature that this compound is an extremely undesirable constituent of conventional beer. The oxalate normally plates out in processing tanks and lines, forming beer stone and resulting in a complex cleaning problem. Calcium oxalate also contributes to haze and offensive avors in beer and is generally considered to contribute to the highly undesirable phenomenon known as gushing Oxalates are also undesirable from a nutritional standpoint, since an excess of oxalates in the body is one factor which reduces the absorption of calcium from the intestine. While conventional beer always contains a substantial portion of oxalate, both the lagered beer concentrate formed by the present invention and the reconstituted product contain negligible amounts of oxalate because the calcium oxalate is precipitated out during the freezing step, and then subsequently removed from the concentrated beer along with the ice and other solids. Thus, not only is the expensive and time-consuming storage process eliminated by the inventive process, but the quality of the final product is unexpectedly and significantly improved.
In addition to, and possibly as a result of, the removal of calcium oxalate, the process of the present invention improves the flavor and haze stability of the resultant beer product. Indeed, beer produced by diluting the novel 3,128,188 Patented Apr. 7, 1964 ICC l concentrate ‘appears to be superior in flavor and clarity not only to other reconstituted concentrates, but also to fresh, high-quality draft beer, even though the concentrate and/or the reconstituted product may be as much as a year old. Because of its inherent bacteriological stability, the stabilized beer concentrate may be stored for long periods without the deterioration in flavor, clarity, and uniformity which conventional lagered beer, even when pasteurized, always suffers.
Although the inventive process can theoretically be used to produce lagered beer of any desired concentration, concentration above about five-fold, i.e., a concentrate possessing one-fifth the volume of the beer as originally fermented, usually results in deterioration of the desirable qualities of the product. Accordingly, less than five-fold volume concentrations are deemed preferable.