The Science of Beer

By Mark Trodden | August 2, 2011 8:18 am

About five years ago I wrote a post titled “The Science of Coffee”, describing a delightful article by Ernesto Illy in Scientific American. This was serious coffee-for-nerds stuff, and I loved it. You can imagine then, how much pleasure I got last week to find a shorter attempt at the same kind of exposition, this time about another favorite beverage – beer. This article was by Andy Connelly in the Guardian, and describes the malt, the wort, the seasoning, the fermentation and the conditioning necessary to turn out one of man’s great achievements.

A lot of what is in the article will be well known to anyone who is a beer connoisseur. And these days, given the proliferation in the U.S. of great beer of every type imaginable, I find such people everywhere. However, for the rest of us it does provide a great primer on what’s going on to produce that frothy glass of deliciousness in front of us.

Science aside, there are other fascinating tidbits in the article, such as

Many cultures have seen beer as a gift from God (a medieval English term for yeast was godisgoode)

After reading Connelly’s article, I realized he’s been writing similar ones for some time now. You can find out about the science of

Ok, got to go – I’m hungry now!


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About Mark Trodden

Mark Trodden holds the Fay R. and Eugene L. Langberg Endowed Chair in Physics and is co-director of the Center for Particle Cosmology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a theoretical physicist working on particle physics and gravity— in particular on the roles they play in the evolution and structure of the universe. When asked for a short phrase to describe his research area, he says he is a particle cosmologist.


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