Wednesday, 26 February 2014

A Beautiful Sight

Eighteen new yeasts, all on agar, ready to be grown up and frozen down in the yeast bank.  Where did this bounty of yeastie goodness come from you ask?  The answer is brewers like you - these are the product of three exchanges with fellow yeast bankers.  Yeast exchanges are easy and cheap.  So common - share those yeasts!

And to Brian, Richie & Nick, I say thanks for the yeast!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Fact or Fiction? Can Pathogens Survive in Beer?

My blogging has been not overly great in 2014 - between illness, an unseasonably cold winter and an unusually busy work schedule I've not been able to brew much this year. But motivated by this thread at HBT I thought a brewing science-based post may be in order.

This post covers a popular pseudo-myth, that no human pathogen can survive in beer. Much of this is based on the history of beer brewing, where the brewing process was used (not knowingly) to sanitize otherwise contaminated water, and then to add various things (acidity, hop compounds, alcohol) that would then act as a mild preservative. This has since been extrapolated to the assumption that no pathogen can survive in beer.

As it turns out this is neither a simple question, nor does it have a simple answer. For those who want the Coles notes version, yes, pathogens can survive in beer. But the chances of them causing you harm are negligible. The other bad health effects of ethanol are a far higher risk than is the minimal risk of infection.

For the longer answer, look below the fold...