Recently I have been on a health kick. I’ve been working out, taking multivitamins, and drinking protein shakes. This brings me around to an idea I have. For muscle building you need carbohydrates and protein. I know all health experts say alcohol is bad for you, but beer has carbohydrates. What would be a good way to add protein to beer to make it a muscle beer with protein and carbs? Just an idea; so after a hard workout I can grab a homebrew and say it’s for my health.
I am sure there are many opinions about how to answer your question. You could add all sorts of additives to a beer to make some sort of beer/protein booster drink, but the outcome would probably taste like a Frankenbrew. Personally, I suggest consuming your health kick food-stuffs as they are and not trying to blend them with beer.
The reason I chose to answer this question, however, was not to suggest ideas of how to add protein powders and carbohydrate sources to your next batch of pale ale, but to comment on what “all health experts” say. I assure you that not all experts believe alcohol is bad for you. Quite the contrary, most health experts these days believe that moderate consumption of alcohol is good for you. The television show 60 Minutes first reported on the “French Paradox” in 1991 and anecdotal evidence suggested that the consumption of wine by the French counteracted a diet known for rich dishes. Following this report the wine industry used such studies to market their products. Unfortunately many of the assertions about population data proved to be incorrect with these studies, but better research followed.
More recent data shows that alcoholic beverages, not just wine as some would like consumers to believe, do indeed have positive effects on the cardiovascular system. Some of the positive effects are credited to antioxidants, such as polyphenols found in beer and wine, and some of the effects are credited to alcohol itself.
Most informed dietary professionals now believe that consuming alcohol in moderation, not exceeding two drinks per day for most people, is part of a healthy diet. The bottom line is that your interest in diet and exercise does not mean that you cannot and should not drink beer. Epidemiological data shows that people who drink no alcohol at all have a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease compared to moderate drinkers. I encourage you to research this topic yourself. After all, I am a brewer and not a health expert. I have heard very interesting presentations at several brewing meetings given by health researchers. There is a large body of data on this subject and the data is convincing. I would say that drinking a homebrew or two at the end of the day is a good thing, and clever excuses are not required to make you feel better.
I use a half barrel, with the center tube removed, for a fermenter. I like to fill the keg completely with water and then boil it for twenty minutes to sanitize it. Do I need to fill the keg completely with water, or can I boil a partially filled keg, letting the steam sanitize the rest of the surfaces? Which way would be more efficient
Heat, especially moist heat, is an excellent way to sanitize and even sterilize brewing equipment. If you partially fill your keg with water, bring it to a boil and restrict the flow of steam out of the kettle you will indeed be steam sterilizing the surfaces above the water level. An easy way to create a little back pressure in your keg would be to insert a rubber stopper with a very small hole drilled through the middle into the hole in the top of your keg. This restriction will build a small pressure in the keg and help to vent air from the keg and create
a head space full of steam. Twenty minutes is a common set point in heat sanitation techniques.
Heat sanitation works very well, but it’s not commonly used in breweries. Most of these methods are expensive because of the energy required, present certain safety challenges and can damage equipment if conducted improperly. Some of the more dramatic failures caused by heat sanitation are a result of a vacuum that forms when hot vessels are cooled. If the vessel, for example a big and expensive fermenter, is not properly vented during cooling the result is vessel collapse. This whole cooling issue is another reason that heat sanitation is not commonly used because cooling requires time and energy and most brewers want to put their wort or beer into a cool vessel.
With this being said, we use hot water at Springfield Brewing Company to heat sanitize our wort cooler, wort lines to the fermentation cellar and our filter. The reason we use heat for these areas is that it works very well. I had a very active role in designing this brewery and I decided to use hot water in these areas of the brewery and designed the process piping to permit this method to easily and safely be used. Other brewers use heat in these same areas. It’s also common to heat sterilize yeast propagation equipment. I use the term sterilize here because yeast equipment is truly designed to be sterilized with steam, similar to pharmaceutical equipment. The funny thing with this comparison is that brewers were the ones who led the way in pure culture growth on large scales and much of what is done today in the biopharmaceutical industry came from brewing technology.
If you like using this method and find it effective, then use it. I do offer three suggestions: 1) use a thermometer to verify that your temperature goal is met (we use 180 °F/83 °C minimum for our filter and measure this at the discharge), 2) use a timer to make sure you have held it for the proper duration, and 3) exercise caution since hot water and steam can be dangerous when not respected.