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Monday, February 18, 2013

Science Cafe on Wednesday: Brewing is chemistry, but it tastes better

Chemistry lab was always my least favorite part of science classes, but maybe that’s because I approached it wrong. Maybe I should have been thinking about beer.

“I approach brewing as an experiment every time. I keep a lab notebook and record what I’ve done: temperatures, start times, end times, materials,” said Stanley Hutchings, a retired pharmaceutical chemist who is now a home-brew hobbyist.

Other lessons from the lab help brewers, too, he added: “The reason why I’ve never had a bad batch of beer is because I know about cleaning things, and that I learned in the lab. You are very careful about making sure you don’t have any strange yeast when you’re doing this.”

Cleanliness as well as precision? No wonder I stunk at chem lab.

That's the start of my Telegraph column today (read it here), which advances Wednesday evening's Science Cafe NH about brewing - 6-8 p.m. at Killarney's Irish Pub, near Exit 4. Should be fun - see you there. SciencecafeNH.org.

NOTE: A reader pointed out that I inaccurately said that in making mead, honey replaces hops - it actually replaces malted barely (as a source of sugar for the yeast). Obviously, I need to attend this cafe.