Science Friday: Flavor FlakesSep 04, 2015 Comments (1)
Notice something different about our beers? As of late, some of our customers have noted the presence of particulates (or ‘floaties’) in our hop-forward styles. We’re here to tell you why and what effects it has on your beer.
Direct from the desk of Ben, our Quality Manager and fan of delicious beer, here’s what you should know:
In short, this is caused by the presence of proteins in the beer. It’s not bad for you and has no effect on the beer’s flavor.
Now that you know, here’s the nitty gritty science stuff (Editors note: this is the stuff Ben lives for):
The unexpected particulates, or as we prefer to call them, ‘flakes,’ are nothing more than precipitated protein solids that came out of solution. The likely source for this increase in solids is an industry setback from an incredibly challenged crop year for barley. Maltsters struggled with barley that survived some of the worst weather conditions in modern times. Farmers, maltsters and brewers all banded together to minimize the damage from the bad crop year and keep beer prices level. (For more information on the barley crop situation this year check out this article.)
One of the minor problems that did arise from this malt issue is the increase in protein contained in each barley kernel. Since the addition of proteins has no effect on the flavor of the beer, brewers who wish to remove the proteins must do so without affecting the taste. There are a few methods to doing this. One such method includes introducing silica gel to bind with the protein, creating larger haze particles that can be more easily filtered out. At Ninkasi, we feel these processes can compromise that oh-so-tasty hoppiness we love so much and is the main reason we never filter our beers. These steps would certainly be an easy fix, but at what cost? Instead, we opt to solve this occurrence without introducing additional agents that could affect the flavor of the Ninkasi beers you know and love.
Why are we telling you this? Because we know that our fans expect the same quality of beer each and every time you open a bottle – as do we. While these factors have absolutely no effect on the taste, we want you to know we are working to return our beers to their normal appearance. In the meantime, let’s just call these ‘flavor flakes’ and cheers to science!
Need to know more? Our friends over at Stone also posted a great comment on this occurrence.