Monday 19 August 2013

Arrival in Utopia

Utopia, Utopia, Utopia
Planet of your wildest dreams
Where everybody drives a Cadillac car
And the streets are paved with hamburgers
And the rivers run with Watney's draught red barrel

Utopia, where all your needs are catered for
Anticipated, calculated all your wants are monitored
Programmed, computer formulated
We know you will be very happy here
Nobody has complained


Finding a paper from 1924 on The Beer Of The Future reminded me there's a rather more recent article detailing the possibilities of a much more dystopian future. 

Published in 2008 Alternative Paradigms for the Production of Beer uses what some might call blue sky thinking to look at how beer could be made without any of that costly old-fashioned brewing being involved.

Three approaches to making "beer" of are compared and analysed for things like water usage, effluent output, energy usage and cost. The approaches are:

"Conventional approach

This was taken to be beer produced by 'traditional stages' of milling, mashing, wort separation, boiling, wort clarification, fermentation, conditioning, filtration, stabilization and packaging.

Corn syrup-based approach

The corn syrup method utilizes hydrolysed corn syrup, water, hop extract, flavouring syrup and foaming agent to produce beer.

Ethanol-based approach (E100 method)

The E100 method requires pure ethanol (E100), pre-isomerised hop extract, water, flavouring syrup and  a foaming agent to produce beer."

The last approach is the simplest, as it just involves blending and packaging, and as  you might have guessed is by far the cheapest with projected 56.8% savings in costs, as well as having less energy consumption, carbon dioxide production, water usage and effluent production. The Corn syrup approach gives more marginal improvements and is thought to be only 8.4% cheaper than the conventional approach.

The authors do state in the conclusion though that they think it unlikely a new paradigm for making beer will be adopted, as the art of brewing is steeped in tradition and:

"Though the quantitative data supports the novel brewing methods, the production of an indistinguishable product has not been achieved at this time."

However, the beer of the future they based the study on is one of  5% ABV and 10 IBU, which sounds suspiciously like Bud to me, not exactly the most flavoursome of beers. And as ABInbev are probably more like than most to adopt "novel brewing methods" to cut costs, perhaps a new paradigm is a possibility.

1 comment:

  1. I seem to remember listening to a podcast, where Charley Bamforth was talking about this.
    Could be somewhere in this one... [93.6mb]