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Biotech Science

New brewing Method Means Faster Beer, Less Waste 72

thatshortkid writes "A brewmaster in Germany has invented a cylinder that fuses yeast to the sides, allowing the yeast to do its fermentation job faster. A process that normally takes 10 days now takes a few hours. Also, yeast that normally has to be changed out after three brews can now last up to six months to a year."
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New brewing Method Means Faster Beer, Less Waste

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  • by Sevn ( 12012 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @02:27PM (#10515409) Homepage Journal
    They'll be a downside. It will all taste like shit (coors, heineken) or something.
  • First Pint! (Score:5, Funny)

    by the_twisted_pair ( 741815 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @02:28PM (#10515417)

  • by Matt Perry ( 793115 ) <perry,matt54&yahoo,com> on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @02:35PM (#10515515)
    Now if you can just add a clock and a timer this thing could brew my morning beer before I get up, just like my coffee maker. :-)
  • Less Expensive Beer!!!

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @02:39PM (#10515572) Homepage Journal
      but.. if you don't count the taxes beer _IS_ pretty damn cheap already, compared to other drinks(milk, juice, stuff like that).

      i'd wonder more about what kind of new beers will come because of this, because obviously it allows the process to be changed.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @03:11PM (#10515968)
        i'd wonder more about what kind of new beers will come because of this, because obviously it allows the process to be changed.

        It doesn't appear to change the process, only accelerate it. I can make all sorts of beer at home with all sorts of weird ingredients. But it takes 10 days to ferment, and another 3 day to carbonate. At that point, you've got a good idea what the beer will taste like. It may need a longer time to bottle condition before the best flavor comes out, but it's drinkable after ~13 days.

        A commercial brewer skips the carbonation step, and injects CO2 into the brew. So commercial beer is ready after ~10 days.

        The biggest advantage here is the ability to experiment. The new system is 1/10th the size and faster. Kinda like switching from a render farm of desktops to Dual Proc rack mounts. Now you can run a lot more tests in parallel. The density and speed allows you to try something out that you normally wouldn't waste more limited resources on.

        Personally, I'm planning on setting up some 1 Gallon batches of beer, and trying a bunch of different things. If it's bad, then it's only a gallon of bad beer to drink. Those 1 gallon jugs of bottled water are perfect for experimental carboys.
        • yes, but I'd imagine the taste to vary a bit too, with faster made vs. something that takes several days more, because of the other ingredients interacting with each other.

          for the commercial brewers the extended yeast change time is the bigger plus though..

    • by warpSpeed ( 67927 ) <> on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @03:01PM (#10515833) Homepage Journal
      Less Expensive Beer!!!

      If you want less expensive beer, and good flavor (or any flavor for that matter), brew your own at home.

      It can be far more economical, and you get braggin' rights to boot.

      • by lewiscr ( 3314 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @03:25PM (#10516181) Homepage
        And it's easy to get started. I swiped a 5 gallon jug from the office water cooler, saved up 5 twelve-packs worth of import bottles, and went to the local Home Brew store. (import bottles are important, most American bottles are twist off, and those won't work.)

        They had a nice kit for getting started that had 2 plastic buckets, an airlock, some plastic tubing, and a bunch of stuff that I don't use (hydrometer). You can get off even cheaper if you're willing to use more elbow grease. On top of that, I needed a bottle capper, bottle caps, and a beer kit.

        Followed the directions included in the kit, waited 2 weeks, filled the bottles, capped 'em, waiting another week, and enjoyed some great brew.

        Initial outlay was about $100 (Starter kit was $80, Beer kit was $20). It'll cost $20 to $30 for every 5 gallon batch, if I buy the hold-your-hand Beer Kits. 5 gallons makes me about 50 12oz bottles. At $10-$15 per twelve pack in the store, I save $10 to $45, depending on what I buy at the store. :-)

        Like any hobby, there are lot of toys you can add. I used the beginner setup for a couple years, but started to get tired of washing bottles my hand, and controlling the bottling flow by hand. Another $40, and I think I'm done with my washing and bottling accessories.
        • Yes, but watch out for the water! I live in the UK, and was born "up North", where the water is "soft". My father used to make a lot of his home-brewed beer, and apparantly it tasted quite nice. We later moved "down South", he got his brewing kit out again, and made a batch. This time, it tasted like crap because the water where we then lived is "hard". He had to chuck the whole batch away.

          Me? I hate beer, will never touch the stuff. Now, if I could only make a home-made Baileys set...

          • by lewiscr ( 3314 )
            Most Home Brew stores stock water additives for this purpose. If not, you can find them online. It's not an easy task to adjust your water though, which is why I swipe the bottled water from work.

            Once you've got a 5 gallon jug, you can fill it up pretty cheap with good quality water at most US supermarkets. The supermarket down the street has reverse-osmosi filtered water for 25 cents per gallon.
            • so he'd want to get water with less in it to duplicate a Northern brew, or switch to a brew that works well with harder water like the other poster suggested, perhaps a pale ale.

              So, the only additive that would help would be distiller water.
          • The original IPA (India Pale Ale) was brewed in an area of England with hard water, so some recipes for IPAs add gypsum, etc. to the water when preparing the wort, to simulate the original water. You wouldn't want it for most beers, but IPAs are hoppy enough that you wouldn't notice water changes as much.

            And Coors is proof that good water doesn't necessarily make good beer.
          • You just have to brew beer styles that work with your local water, although, in my experience, the effect of the water on the final product is overstated. If you have hard water, you just brew a Burton-on Trent style pale ale. With softer water, you could try your hand at a Bohemian style Pilsner. However, I live in Adelaide, which has probably the hardest water in the world, and I just make what I feel like. It all turns out OK.

            • Yeah, in Adelaide, any old shit you add to the water will only improve it!
              • Sorry to reply to myself, but to help the Northern-Hemisphere centric readership, Adelaide, South Australia gets their water from the Murray river. The end of the Murray river, which has been raped for thousands of miles of its length for irrigation and hydropower (not to mention the ever-increasing salinity of any runoff). What used to be the most bitchin' river in Australia now actually has NEGATIVE flow at times, that much has been taken out of it. The poor buggers in Adelaide have to drink that salty cr
                • This isn't actually _quite_ true. We only have to drink the saline crap in the Murray, full of toxic chemicals that those fuckers upstream growing rice and cotton have thrown in, during the summer. In winter, the water's still very hard, but it comes from local reservoirs.

          • Now, if I could only make a home-made Baileys set...

            Slightly off-topic, but Baileys ist actually quite easy to copy.
            It's basically only cream and whiskey. I would try a 1:10 mixture to start with.

            Or if your want a ready recipe try this:
            3 parts Tequilla
            2 parts Creme de Cacao
            1 part Amaretto (an almond liquer this is actually optional)
            Top with double cream and shake with ice.

            I guarantie you this tastes even better than Baileys.

        • I got really sick of washing bottles, too. These days I just keg it. There's an initial expense for a tap, regulator, and some kegs, and an occassional expense refilling the CO2 cylinder, and you have to drill a few holes in your beer fridge, but it's worth it.

        • Twists-top bottles work just fine. I've been using them since I started brewing 13 years ago, and I've never had a problem.

          I've heard rumours of "for twist" and "not for twist" caps, but I've never actually seen any difference. I've also heard that twist-off bottles were somehow thinner or more fragile, but again I've never had any bottle explode on me (except the 6 pack I left in the trunk of a rental car for 2 days at 28 degs C - but that's another story :-)

          This is in Canada, mind you, but I don't
        • They had a nice kit for getting started that had 2 plastic buckets, an airlock, some plastic tubing, and a bunch of stuff that I don't use (hydrometer). You can get off even cheaper if you're willing to use more elbow grease. On top of that, I needed a bottle capper, bottle caps, and a beer kit.

          Three suggestions:

          1) Use your hydrometer. It makes it easier to guage how consistently it'w working out and what alcohol content you're getting. It also lets you figure out a lot more about the rate at which

          • Use your hydrometer.

            I keep meaning to, but by the time it's in the carboy, I usually don't want to mess with it. Between work and kids, it invariables sits in the carboy for 2 weeks. I've only made ales, so I know it's done after 2 weeks. It would be nice to know the alcohol content, but I'm going to drink it anyway. :-)

            I am planning to do some lagering now that the whether is cooling off. I haven't gotten the brewing fridge yet, so I'll be brewing in the garage. I'll need the hydrometer to tell me
            • I keep meaning to, but by the time it's in the carboy, I usually don't want to mess with it. Between work and kids, it invariables sits in the carboy for 2 weeks.

              My experience is that longer is better since the flavours mellow nicely into it and some of the harshness goes away. shorter turn-arounds are fine too, but a nice long period of wiating makes it all happy-happy. =)

              I'll wait on the glass carboy until my kids are a bit older.

              Sound reasoning. =)

              I was playing with putting the carbonation sug

  • Taste? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WhatAmIDoingHere ( 742870 ) <> on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @02:41PM (#10515594) Homepage
    Faster doesn't always mean better.

    What does it taste like?
    • Re:Taste? (Score:2, Informative)

      well, in TFA the inventor stated that the beer "still tasted fine" after using the same yeast after a year's use, so I'm assuming that the first batch tasted fine too.
      • Re:Taste? (Score:3, Insightful)

        Tasting fine and tasting good aren't the same thing.

        If I was trying to sell an invention of mine, I wouldn't say "The finished product tastes like yak-piss"
        • Re:Taste? (Score:2, Informative)

          by Nutria ( 679911 )
          Tasting fine and tasting good aren't the same thing.

          Yes, they are. From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913):

          1. Finished; brought to perfection; refined; hence, free from impurity; excellent; superior; elegant; worthy of admiration; accomplished; beautiful.

          Now, "ok" and "good" are definitely different...
    • I have to agree with you on that one. I don't care if my beer takes 3 months to get right so long as it's damn good at the end. However if this is just optimizing an existing process without affecting the taste I'm all for it! :)
    • Well, it tastes like yak piss... but just look how fast it brews!
      • Mmmmmmm.... Yak Piss. I'm salivating already.

      • Re:Taste? (Score:3, Interesting)

        OOOH --- Fast Yak Piss! now thats a sales pitch.

        I'm not a brewer, but I do bake a lot of bread, and often a slow rise with sourdough makes the best bread. The goal is not just to break down the sugar but to produce flavor as you do it. As for yeast it will make itself in great quantities if you are brewing or baking.
        • There's an analogous process with brewing. That's why lagers and ales taste different, because lagers ferment at a much lower temperature, and consequently much slower, producing different fermentation products (except for alcohol, of course. That's always the same). It's also why most commercial bread (risen far too fast) is tasteless and lacks structure.

          • Well commercial bread has other issues like chemicals to make it last longer. Actually I live in Israel where you can get some great bread for cheap, i can get 30 pittot (Thats the plaurel of Pita) for 10 shekels which is like $2.25 US, and they are still warm out of the oven.

            But when I bake I often use 4 things... Flour, water, salt and starter or yeast. Sometimes I will add spices or honey or whatever, but often not.

            Actually I have done some brewing as well
  • not entirely new (Score:5, Informative)

    by NaturePhotog ( 317732 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @03:33PM (#10516282) Homepage
    Professor Graham Stewart, a brewing expert at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland and the head of the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling, told CNN that Heiliger's concept was not entirely new.
    He says it is a type of "continuous fermentation," which has been used for about 50 years in wine-making and 15 years in beer-making.
    ...and believes the idea could work well on a small scale.

    Makes me wonder if the idea doesn't scale well. That said, IAAB (I am a brewer; I worked in a brewpub and brew on premises for several years and home brew), and I wonder if it might not still be a boon (boont? mmm...amber...) to smaller breweries, brewpubs, and especially brew on premises. Most brewpubs go through much smaller amounts of any given beer than they brew, and this might be away to "brew on demand" or the like, and give a fresher product.

    For brew on premises customers, instead of brew, wait two weeks, come back and bottle, it could be brew in the morning, bottle in the afternoon, and might appeal to more people that way. I recall a fair number of people who were put off by two week wait.

    And all that said, it seems like there will still be call for the more traditional brewing process, as different beers, etc. use different fermenting processes (lager = cooler, bottom-fermenting yeast; barleywine = two fermentations, one with wine yeast; lambic = 'spontaneous' fermentation)

    • >boont? mmm...amber..

      Good stuff, that. I'm also partial to Eye of the Hawk. Eight Ball Stout from just up the road a bit is also excellent.
    • Makes me wonder if the idea doesn't scale well.

      Perhaps he thinks the improvements are not worth the hastle for a big operation.

      The cost of freash yeast may be trivial compared to whatever operation you have to perform to un-bond spent yeast.

      And speed is going to be less important for a big plant which is operating more or less as a pipeline, compared to a small operation doing batches of different products.

  • What about Mead? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Retric ( 704075 )
    This sounds cool, but what about mead? I love the stuff but it can take months to find out if the batch is good.

    Ahh well some things are worth the wait.
    • Re:What about Mead? (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It would probably work for mead, but why bother. Sure it take fermenting from 10 days down to a few hours, but that just means you can drink your mead in five months three weeks instead of six months (or however long that batch takes to age).
  • Its Time for NanoBrews! (I'm heading to my lawyers this second to trademark it.. :) )

    Personally i don't like beer, i prefer mead. Wonder if we can use this or something similar to make mead faster.

    It does however open up faster production of things made ith GM yeast. Possbily if they can get Yeast to produce insulin use this technique to make insulin for diabetics cheaper.
  • Ethanol Fuel (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    So would this same process work for producing ethanol fuels more efficiently.
  • I was going to ask "so when does this wonder invention come to home brewing, 'cause I really want to get back into it and my time is a premium" but then I came across this quote from the article:

    "Heiliger says that his device takes up about 30 square meters, whereas traditional systems can be up to 300 square meters in size."

    Damn. I know a few home brewers out there who would like to be able to go "hm, I have a good idea for a beer", make it in a day, tweak it when it doesn't taste like they expected,
  • a beowulf cluster of these.......

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