Pink Tree
Fall Foliage in Sedona, AZ
I picked up a six pack of San Tan Brewing Co.’s Hefeweizen for my fall foliage weekend trip to Sedona, AZ… six nicely packaged yellow cans to enjoy while camping and hiking…

The idea of canned craft beer shocked me at first, but I’ve found they actually taste pretty good… in fact, I like this Hefeweizen better out of the can than on tap… except this time my beer had no banana/clove-like esters and lacked that nice bready flavor I usually enjoy from it…

Rather it tasted kind of papery….

It reminded me of my California Common which has been one of my favorite beers I’ve ever brewed… the hop aroma and malt character were flawless during the first couple months, but unfortunately turned into a papery, odorless drink… kind of picked up a sweet caramel taste – not the kind you want…

The taste of staling…

Here’s the story…

I bought the beer at a store that keeps their beer at room temperature… second, as I drove up to Sedona and set up camp, the ice pack melted and beer warmed up before I was able to cool it back down… and third, it is a light colored beer…

Pink-&-Yellow-Tree
Fall Foliage in Sedona, AZ
When you let your beer warm up or allow temperature to fluctuate, aldehydes begin to form, which gives beers that papery, buttery, cherry-like flavor…

… an aldehyde is produced by oxidation…

Warmer temperatures increase the rate at which certain components of beer oxidize… Dr. Charles Bamforth, professor of Brewing Sciences at UC Davis states that beer goes stale 2 to 3 times faster every 18 F… the key to keeping the flavor and taste of beer fresh is to keep the beer as cold as possible without freezing it… otherwise components in beer like unsaturated fatty acids, higher alcohols, amino acids, etc., will oxidize faster….

If you’ve ever cut an apple and waited a few minutes, you’d see the apple turn brown… that’s oxidation…

One way to prevent oxidation is to minimize the exposure of beer to oxygen after you pitch your yeast and fermentation begins… should your beer be exposed to oxygen, then your next defense against oxidation is temperature…

Lower temperatures reduce the amount of oxidation… any fluctutation of temperature should be avoided to prevent oxidation…

Most importantly, your fermentation should be strong and you should allow yeast to clean up because aldehydes are produced during fermentation and if not allowed to be cleaned up, beer will stale quicker…

Now what about the beer being pale?

The color of beer itself doesn’t matter much, but darker malts are known to have more anti-oxidants, which may be the reason why beers like Imperial Stouts can store for many months (years?) without going stale compared to beers that only use lighter colored malts…

This is a topic I’ve become interested in as of late, and I shall be diggin up more information to add to our home brew training program…

Cheers!

Drinking a Hefeweizen


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