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Beer ISS Science

11-Year-Old Coloradan Will Brew Beer In Space, By Proxy 129

Posted by timothy
from the in-10-years-he-can-try-it-legally dept.
minty3 writes "An 11-year-old Colorado boy may have found a way to literally make a beer that's out of this world. Michal Bodzianowski, a sixth grader at Douglas County's STEM School and Academy in Highlands Ranch, Colo., recently won a national competition where his beer-making experiment will be flown to the International Space Station." Noting that beer is safer than contaminated water, Bodzianowski pointed out that beer could be useful “in future civilization as an emergency backup hydration and medical source."
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11-Year-Old Coloradan Will Brew Beer In Space, By Proxy

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  • by pesho (843750) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @11:22AM (#45070543)

    Noting that beer is safer than contaminated water, Bodzianowski note that beer could be useful “in future civilization as an emergency backup hydration and medical source."

    Yeah, nothing is safer in a confined zero-G environment full of electronics, than a liquid electrolyte pressurized with toxic gas. Don't believe me? Here, have a beer and we can go ever the details.

    • You're dealing with assumptions that aren't stated here. Nowhere did Bodz specify only in a spacecraft. Colonization could find extensive use for beer.

    • by EricTheRed (5613)

      Not all beer is carbonated with CO2. In fact most of the beer I drink isn't carbonated at all... i.e. true Bitter :-)

      The "healthier than water" part comes from hundreds of years ago when Beer was cleaner than water.

      • Re:Very safe indeed (Score:5, Informative)

        by rgbatduke (1231380) <rgb@phy.dukDEGASe.edu minus painter> on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @12:56PM (#45071877) Homepage

        The "healthier than water" part comes from hundreds of years ago when Beer was cleaner than water.

        Or, the 10 seconds ago where beer is still cleaner than water in much of the world. I grew up in India, under "water discipline" -- drink only water that has been boiled (possibly in e.g. the form of tea) or drink coca-cola (nothing lives in coke!) or drink beer. When we went on long road trips and ran low on water, I drank Golden Eagle way back when I was seven or eight years old. Over seven years, I never got amoebic dysentery, cholera, or more than the usual (mild) viral enterics because I never, ever, drank unboiled water.

        If I returned to India tomorrow, I would probably follow exactly the same discipline, possibly with more beer and less tea or coke. Wouldn't you?

        rgb

        • Hell, I do this when I'm in Mexico! I'll be there later this month, and I pledge to drink nothing but whisky, vodka, beer, and soda. Seriously, the water and ice will give you Montezuma's Revenge!

  • "could be useful “in future civilization as an emergency backup hydration and medical source."
    Except it dehydrates humans when they drink it and it's not nearly strong enough of an alcohol content to be an antiseptic. The sugars would actually cause an infection. All this article tells me is that the judges were idiots and Colorado alcoholic rednecks start pretty young.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Week liquor does hydrate, and has been used for such at various points of history, and it is most definitely safer than water without fermentation, of course much of the risks of contamination in water don't really exist in space, so that's kind of moot.

    • Except that it isn't high alcohol content that makes beer safe to drink even if the original water source wasn't great (the beer that ancient armies were brewing to ensure a safe drinking supply was not strong) and the fact that drinking most beers leads to a net increase in hydration...
    • Re:Um no (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @12:25PM (#45071439) Homepage

      All this article tells me is that the judges were idiots and Colorado alcoholic rednecks start pretty young.

      Right. And I'm sure that NASA didn't consider any of these things before they decided it would be sent up on a payload, and the The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education haven't considered any of these issues. Nosiree. Just a bunch of idiots who lack your brilliant insight.

      Or, alternatively, it's an experiment which has merit, which is why it was selected.

      My money is on the latter option.

    • by cusco (717999)

      I've noticed before, you really don't know much history. Medieval Europeans were possibly the filthiest people in the history of humanity. Rivers were so contaminated that a modern Westerner would likely die after a glass full of water, and wells were actually worse. Everyone who could afford to drank beer or watered wine, the poorest of the poor drank water and frequently died of it. Boiling water to make beer kills pretty much everything in the water, the yeast reproduction crowds out most of its compe

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Beer is resistant to bacterial growth for a number of reasons:

      1. Lack of oxygen, as yeast consumes it all
      2. Low pH; things like botulinum can not live in beer because of this
      3. Hops provide some antimicrobial properties
      4. Alcohol provides some protection

  • by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @11:24AM (#45070573) Homepage Journal

    >> recently won a national competition...

    ...judged by the astronauts scheduled for that mission.

    Surprisingly, the kid with the poo to food recycling experiment lost again this year.

    • by TripleE78 (883800)

      Technically, beer is food, and alcohol is a waste product of yeast.

      So you could say the poo to food kid did win. ;)

  • We have plenty of crappy beer that belongs in orbit already...

  • by dieu1979 (993752) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @11:27AM (#45070621) Homepage
    It's the new moonshine
  • ... they might as well just remove a few steps from the water reclamation apparatus and use that.
  • Centrifuge (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Scottingham (2036128) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @11:32AM (#45070705)
    I would imagine that you would have to centrifuge it to get the yeasties to settle properly as they do back on Terra Ferma. Also, I doubt the bubble airlock would work properly in zero g as well.

    The concept is still pretty interesting though. I wonder how the yeast-sugar interaction would be in zero g.
    • As a homebrewer, I was actually thinking about this, myself. I'd have to believe that they'll filter the beer after fermentation to remove the yeast cells and prevent autolysis. As for the bubbler, my thoughts are that they'd put the fermenting wort into a vacuum bag with two chambers and some way to concentrate the fluids at one end and the gasses at another, then vent the gas periodically.

      One of the thoughts I had was wort boiling in a vacuum, without using heat. I'd pay to see that!

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        One of the thoughts I had was wort boiling in a vacuum, without using heat. I'd pay to see that!

        Wouldn't help. It's the heat that isomerizes the alpha acids in the hops, not the fact that the water is boiling.

        Now, you could use vacuum to do low-temperature distillation fairly easily.

  • by peter303 (12292) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @11:35AM (#45070757)
    Here. [denverpost.com]
    That STEM school is about a mile from where I am typing this. But I dont know much about it.
  • There's no guarantee that yeast will behave in microgravity the same way they do at 1g. Microgravity has an interesting way of affecting protein expression. My guess is that brewing in space won't be very effective. Some people have enough trouble doing it on terra firma.

    Also, backup hydration? And "medical source?" Glad we don't let 11-yr olds do important things...!

  • I doubt that America allows 11-year olds to produce alcohol.

    • It's a shame that you USAsians don't allow the 18 years old to drink at least draft beer. I mean, draft is OK for them but draft beer isn't? Where's the logic in that?
      • No idea what draft beer is.
        But I agree, I think if we are talking less than 5% (or maybe 2-3%) or thereabouts, it should be fine.

        But I think it is a culture thing, in America alcohol is for one purpose only, getting drunk. And there are supposed to be medical reasons why that would be bad for the under-developed.

        • by iggymanz (596061)

          18 year olds can star in porn movies, they aren't usually "under developed". so they can sell their body for sex on camera but can't drink a glass of wine?

        • Draft beer == giant kegs of beer connected via hoses to the taps at the bar, poured into pint glasses when ordered.

          As opposed to bottled or canned beer.

  • Noting that beer is safer than contaminated water, Bodzianowski note that beer could be useful âoein future civilization as an emergency backup hydration and medical source.

    Wasn't this pretty much the key to Europe's success for several hundred years, and why the monks were always boozing it up?

    Contaminated water wasn't safe to drink, but turn it into alcoholic beverages and it's safer.

    Brilliant; beer, making civilization better for thousands of years. That's awesome.

    Of course, I'm also forced to ask,

  • For your enjoyment - The Lego Beer Song!

    http://youtu.be/ATBl4qH9I54
  • Disinfect the wound with beer! Wait, isn't "yeast infection" a thing? Besides, we could just design astronauts that produce their own intoxication.

    > 2013
    > Not brewing beer in belly. [wikipedia.org]
    Silly humans...

  • Remember that article about the guy who brewed his own beer? He had a hardy version of Saccaromyces Cerevisiae (sp?) resident in his stomach. Everytime he ate anything starchy he got drunk.

    Hope they saved a sample of that yeasty.

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