Today was another long day. It has seemed a little repetitive since we are going back over a lot of the same topics we talked about last week, just more in depth. The most interesting part of the conversation came early in the day when we talked about gushing and the unpredictability of gushing occurring in bottles. If you have been drinking craft beer for a while, surly at some point you have opened a gushing bottle (it might have even been one of our early bottled batches which we tracked down and solved). Gushing is what we call it when you open a bottle and beer starts shooting out. In extreme cases, you can lose over half of a bottle of beer to gushing.
The interesting part of the conversation came when our professor told us that throughout history, there have been instances of gushing occurring as an epidemic. One of the first reports of this was in 1924 when many breweries throughout Germany suffered from inexplicable gushing issues. Another epidemic occured in 1937 throughout many regions of Europe and the United States. It has happened many more times since then as well. The theory is that it is an unknown problem with malted barley that has caused the epidemics. We know that fursarium on barley can cause a toxin which creates gushing, but this is not what happened in these cases. Hopefully with modern farming and malting techniques, this will no longer be an issue, but it is interesting to wonder... When will we have the next epidemic?
After gushing we moved on to storing and aging beer, and we talked about yeast harvesting. I can't wait to bring all this new yeast knowledge back to Blue Pants and make a few changes to our yeast handling practices.