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Pi day means collaboration day with 314 Action.  Together we have created 314 Action Ale to help raise science awareness.  This limited supply brew is part of an awareness campaign to repeal the Dickey Amendment, an anti-science piece of legislation passed by Congress in 1996 to prevent scientists at the CDC from studying gun violence. In addition to raising awareness, proceeds from the batch will go entirely toward the Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund. We wanted to use all the science we had to brew this beer. We have even entered it into the 2018 NC Science of Beer Brewing Challenge at the North Carolina Science Festival.

 

Here is the beer info:

Ingredients: Pilsner, 2-row, Wheat, Carafoam, Malted Oats, Agave, Devilwood, Lingonberry, Brewers Clarex.

This is a raw ale: basically, a beer that is made from wort that has not been boiled. Not boiling wort was common for beers in Europe before hops started to be used universally. Recreating this beer historically required a great deal of research and many hours of testing.

Wort is boiled for many reasons, but the main four that affect quality and flavor are as follows:

 

  1. Wort sanitation – The main reason for boiling is to sanitize the wort. Instead of boiling this beer we pasteurized it by bringing the wort from 150F to 165F in less than three minutes and held it there for about 15 minutes. We added hops (alpha acids) to protect the wort from new contamination. The final step was to use a fast-fermenting yeast that would take the alchol level above 3% within 16 hours. An alcohol level over 3% removes any harmful pathogens.
  2. Hop isomerization – The process of extracting the alpha acids (bitterness) from hops is called isomerization. The three biggest factors in this process are temperature, time, and wort volume vs hops. We added the hops just before the temperature increase for pasteurization and then we steeped the hops for 15 minutes. We conducted many trials for the alpha acid levels, and found that we got about 48% of the IBUs from 15 minutes at 165F as we did from a 90 minute boil. The hops are essential not only for the flavor of the beer but for protecting the beer from lactobacillus infections. We aimed for about 15 IBUs.
  3. Removal of dimethyl sulfide (DMS) – DMS is the corny/cabbage off-flavor that comes from malt when heat is applied to it. The interesting thing we found is that DMS is not produced until a temperature of 175F is reached. By keeping the wort under 170F we eliminated this issue.
  4. Binding and dropping out the proteins – Proteins are a large proponent for the degradation of beer over time. Too much protein shortens the shelf life of a beer significantly. This is the biggest drawback to the production of raw ales. We used three processes to reduce this issue. The first was to use boil kettle finings which bind the proteins together in the kettle and pull them out of suspension. We also used Brewers Clarex which is an enzyme that breaks down protein, its goal being to make the beer clearer. It has an added benefit of removing most of the gluten from the beer. The last step was to centrifuge the beer by spinning it at 8100 rpms. This clears the beer by removing proteins and yeast.

Now you can enjoy pie and beer on Pi Day. The beer is available for online purchase in most states by clicking HERE.