How Beer is Carbonated

How Beer is Carbonated

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Carbonation is a favorite element of beer along the Flagstaff-Grand Canyon Ale Trail. It gives beer that light and refreshing feel in your mouth, not to mention enhancing the aromas and flavors of the brew. But how is beer carbonated? When does carbonation happen in the brewing process? How many ways are there to carbonate beer?

The simple answer: There are two ways to carbonate beer.

Forced Carbonation

This is when carbon dioxide is inserted into the beer. Once the beer is in a sealed (or soon to be sealed) container, carbonation is rapidly inserted into the liquid. Due to the high pressure, the beer absorbs the carbon dioxide.

This is the preferred method at most breweries. That’s because the turnaround time for a finished brew is quicker and there is little or no sediment at the bottom of the bottle or pint glass.

Natural Carbonation

This process allows yeast used to brew the beer to stay in the beer. Once beer is in its container, sugar is added before the container is sealed. That’s when fermentation kicks in again as the yeast eats the new sugar. Carbon dioxide is released by the yeast as it ferments, which is then absorbed into the liquid.

This method gives the beer a slightly yeasty bite, a thick and billowy head, tinier carbonation bubbles, and more beer lacing.

Which kind of carbonated beer do you prefer to drink? Share your preference below.

How Cold Should Beer Be Served?

How Cold Should Beer Be Served?

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Drinking beer at very cold temperatures isn’t uncommon. However, drinking all beer at these icy temperatures can harm the full experience of drinking craft beer. That’s because not all craft beer should be served at cold temperatures.

Good thing that the brewmasters at our favorite breweries along the Flagstaff-Grand Canyon Ale Trail know how to serve your pint at its best temperature. But what temperature is that? How cold should beer be served?

It all comes down to the style of beer.

Cold

No lower than 41 degrees Fahrenheit

This serving temperature is best for the lightest styles of craft beer. Examples include American Pale Lagers, Pilsners, German-style Helles Lager, lighter American Wheat Beer, light summer seasonal beers, sweet fruit-flavored Lambics, Kolsch, and Belgian-style white ales.

Chilled

No lower than 46 degrees Fahrenheit

Most craft beers are best served at this temperature. It’s also the best temperature to store white wines. Examples include Pale Ales, Amber Ales, Brown Ales, Blonde Ales, Golden Ales, Hefeweizen, Stout, Porter, Dunkel, dark Wheat Beer, Tripel, dark sour ales, Amber lagers and darker lagers.

Cellar

Around 53 degrees Fahrenheit

Is your beer high in alcohol content or richly flavored? If so, this is the best serving temperature for your beer. It’s also the best temperature to store red wines. Examples include English Ales & Bitters, India Pale Ales & double IPAs, most beer labeled Imperial, dark Abbye beers, Dubbel, Barleywine, Baltic Porter, Bock, and Doublebock.

The best temperature for drinking a beer truly depends on your personal preference. Which beer temperature category fits your beer drinking preference?

Does Beer Freeze?

Does beer freeze? We have all the answers on freezing beer.

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As temperatures outside go up, you want the temperature of your beer to go down. You can always count on an ice-cold beer along the Flagstaff-Grand Canyon Ale Trail. But some days, going past your front porch isn’t happening.

How can you still enjoy that chilled taste from your favorite Flagstaff brewery without leaving your house? Our suggestion: Try freezing your beer.

So, Does Beer Freeze?

The simple answer: yes. You can freeze beer by putting your six-pack or growler  in the freezer for a few hours. If your beer still isn’t cold, try popping the bottle cap—but don’t leave it in the freezer too long. After it’s open, beer freezes rapidly.

When Does Beer Freeze?

That depends on the alcohol content of the beer.

Since beer contains a high volume of water, it freezes at a relatively higher temperature than you’d expect. However, beer contains alcohol, so it still freezes at a lower temperature than water.

Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, while beer freezes at around 24-28 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure your freezer isn’t hovering around 32 degrees if you want to freeze your beer.

Why Does Beer Freeze?

The alcohol content in beer averages around 4-8%. That means aside from all the great ingredients in beer, beer is mostly water. Since water freezes, so does beer.

When beer freezes, the water molecules change from liquid to ice crystals. These crystals exclude the alcohol, sugar, and other ingredient molecules in the beer. Even if beer is mostly frozen, some liquid will still pour our—and it will be high in alcohol content!

Spirits have an alcohol content between 35-70%—a number too high to reach frozen levels. That’s why you can store hard liquor in the freezer without it ever freezing.

Does Freezing Beer Change It?

Freezing a beer doesn’t ruin the flavors or spoil the beer—as long as it’s in a sealed container.

As the beer freezes, the solubility of carbon dioxide increases. With a tightly sealed container and careful thawing, the carbonation won’t leak out of the beer.

Do you freeze beer? Share your stories below.

Why Beer Is Called Beer

Why Beer Is Called Beer

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There are many words we use for beer: ale, brew, lager, malt, suds, brewski, brown bottle, draught…

The list goes on.

But why is beer called beer? Where did the word come from?

Beer is considered to come from the Latin infinitive bibere meaning “to drink.”

But there is other speculation. Some experts think that the word for beer comes from the Proto-Germanic word beuwoz-, derived from beuwo– meaning “barley.”

Latin or Proto-Germanic, variations grew from these dead language roots. Old English said beor meaning “strong drink, beer, mead.” Old Frisian said boar, Middle Dutch, Dutch and German said bier, and Old High German said bior. Now the French say bière, the Italians say birra, and the Turkish say bira.

The word for beer wasn’t always in use. After the Norman Conquest, the word fell out of Old English. That’s because the Old English word for ale became standard for the drink. It was revived centuries later to specifically reference hopped malt beverages.

Today, most Western European—and even some Eastern European—languages use a form similar to the English word for beer.

What’s your favorite synonym for beer? Share the way you say beer below.

Drink Beer For Big Ideas

Drink Beer For Big Ideas

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Can’t come up with that big idea? It’s time to grab a beer.

That’s right. There’s another reason why to drink beer—to tap into your creativity.

Beer Under Pressure

In a recent study, a group of 18 advertising creative professionals were split into two teams, both even in level of talent and experience. One team was allowed to drink as much alcohol as they wanted while the other team had to stay sober. The groups were then tasked to generate as many ideas for a creative brief. Both teams were graded by a collection of top creative directors.

Who did better? Not only did the team of drinkers produce more ideas, but they also generated four of the top five best ideas.

The Science Behind Beer and Big Ideas

So if you’re searching for that big idea, it’s time to drink a beer (or two).

Why?

Beer helps decrease your working memory, leading to feeling relaxed and less worried about what’s happening around you. That means you’ll have more brainpower dedicated to making those creative connections.

That’s not the only reason.

It comes down to that “eureka moment.” Neuroscientists discovered that in order to produce moments of insight—the “eureka moment”—you must feel relaxed so that the front brain can make connections with the back of the brain. This activates the anterior superior temporal gyrus, that small spot above your right ear that generates moments of insight.

Seconds before the “eureka moment,” a large increase in alpha waves occurs within your brain, activating the anterior superior temporal gyrus. These waves are associated with relaxation.

That’s why you come up with big ideas while in the shower or out for a walk.

Beer also relaxes you, so it produces the same alpha waves that generate your “eureka moments.”

Putting That Big Idea To Work

Drinking a beer isn’t the only way to generate big ideas. But why pass up a pint during the next brainstorm session?

If you’re looking to execute that big idea, better wait until your buzz passes. For focus and execution, we recommend a big cup of coffee. There’s science behind that too.

Have you had a beer-influenced “eureka moment”? Share your big idea with us below.

Is Beer Good Plant Food?

Is Beer Good Plant Food?

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You’re at a graduation party and end up holding your beer bottle too long. So you dribble the rest of the warm beer onto the grass. Did you just kill the grass—or give it new nourishment?

Is watering your plants with beer a good or bad idea? Gardening is all about home remedies that go beyond the traditional watering can, so is pouring beer on your plants that eccentric?

Let’s break it down by what’s considered good for plants—and if beer lives up to the expectation.

Water

Beer is around 90 percent water. And plants LOVE water.

But beer makes for a very expensive watering system. Especially when you already have a watering system.

Better Solution: Use the water from your hose or tap to hydrate your plants. Club soda has minerals and nutrients that accelerates plant growth and makes your plant’s leaves a deeper (and healthier) shade of green.

Carbohydrates

Carbs in beer are known as simple sugars. These carbs don’t provide any nutritional value to people or plants.

What plants need is complex carbs. Plant cells turn complex carbs into food.

Better Solution: Mix molasses into your liquid fertilizer.

Yeast

Yeast is a fungus that is commonly used in baking breads. It’s also an ingredient found in beer.

When you add yeast to your plants, here’s what happens: it grows in the soil, creates an unpleasant smell and doesn’t provide any special benefit to your plants.

In other words, your plant doesn’t want it.

Better Solution: Avoid adding yeast to your plants.

The moral of this story? Beer is best sipped by you, not your plants. Unless, of course, your beer is warm.

Ninkasi, Goddess of Beer

Ninkasi, Goddess of Beer

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With Mother’s Day quickly approaching this Sunday, we at Flagstaff-Grand Canyon Ale Trail chose to pay tribute to the mother of the brew: Ninkasi, the Sumerian goddess of beer.

Here’s her history. She was born of sparkling fresh water and created to “satisfy the desire” and “sate the heart.” Her father was Enki the lord Nudimmud and her mother Ninti, queen of the Abzu. She was one of eight children created in order to heal one of the eight wounds that Enki received as a curse for eating forbidden plants.

The Sumerians worshipped Ninkasi around 3500BC and for good reason. She is said to have created the recipe for sikaru, or Sumerian beer. Ninkasi prepared beer daily for the other gods. Ninkasi’s name means “the lady who fills the mouth” and her sigil was a barley spade.

So why was the deity of beer a woman? During Sumerian times, beer was brewed and served exclusively by women.

So raise your pint glass in toast to your mother’s health and sing the Hymn to Ninkasi, a poem written around 1800 BC by an unknown Sumerian poet on a clay tablet. If you read it closely, you’ll find one of the most ancient recipes for brewing beer:

Borne of the flowing water,
Tenderly cared for by the Ninhursag,
Borne of the flowing water,
Tenderly cared for by the Ninhursag,

Having founded your town by the sacred lake,
She finished its great walls for you,
Ninkasi, having founded your town by the sacred lake,
She finished its walls for you,

Your father is Enki, Lord Nidimmud,
Your mother is Ninti, the queen of the sacred lake.
Ninkasi, your father is Enki, Lord Nidimmud,
Your mother is Ninti, the queen of the sacred lake.

You are the one who handles the dough [and] with a big shovel,
Mixing in a pit, the bappir with sweet aromatics,
Ninkasi, you are the one who handles the dough [and] with a big shovel,
Mixing in a pit, the bappir with [date] – honey,

You are the one who bakes the bappir in the big oven,
Puts in order the piles of hulled grains,
Ninkasi, you are the one who bakes the bappir in the big oven,
Puts in order the piles of hulled grains,

You are the one who waters the malt set on the ground,
The noble dogs keep away even the potentates,
Ninkasi, you are the one who waters the malt set on the ground,
The noble dogs keep away even the potentates,

You are the one who soaks the malt in a jar,
The waves rise, the waves fall.
Ninkasi, you are the one who soaks the malt in a jar,
The waves rise, the waves fall.

You are the one who spreads the cooked mash on large reed mats,
Coolness overcomes,
Ninkasi, you are the one who spreads the cooked mash on large reed mats,
Coolness overcomes,

You are the one who holds with both hands the great sweet wort,
Brewing [it] with honey [and] wine
(You the sweet wort to the vessel)
Ninkasi, (…)
(You the sweet wort to the vessel)

The filtering vat, which makes a pleasant sound,
You place appropriately on a large collector vat.
Ninkasi, the filtering vat, which makes a pleasant sound,
You place appropriately on a large collector vat.

When you pour out the filtered beer of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates.
Ninkasi, you are the one who pours out the filtered beer of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates.

Translation by Miguel Civil, Professor Emeritus of Sumerology, The Oriental Institute, and the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and Linguistics, The University of Chicago.