by Asinus Asinum Fricat
Wed Apr 9th, 2008 at 12:47:30 PM EST
Climate change will force the beer lovers around the world especially in Australia & New Zealand (right now) to shell out extra money to buy the drink, which could taste different, a scientist warned on Tuesday. Climate change could cause a drop in beer production within 25 years, worldwide.
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) climate scientist Dr Jim Salinger said climate change could see a decline of malting barley production in parts of New Zealand, Australia and spreading to the rest of the world.
Sen. Inhofe (R.OK) and countless other doubters will tell you that it's a Giant Hoax, doncha know? Bleh, I hope they find flies in their small beer!
Searching the web for articles related to this, I am astounded that not a single site has mentioned water, odd since the water content in any beer is more than 90% and consequently plays a major role in the final product.
Salinger told the Institute of Brewing and Distilling convention in Auckland that by 2100, the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases - measured in equivalent amounts of carbon dioxide - would be double, and possibly four times pre-industrial levels, leading to further climate warming.
"It will provide a lot of challenges for the brewing industry," he said, adding breweries could be forced to look at new varieties of malt altering the taste of the drink.
Lion Nathan corporate affairs director Liz Read said climate change was forcing the price of malted barley, sugar, aluminum and sugar up and the cost would be passed on to the consumer.
"The pressure is on grain suppliers and food suppliers world-wide," she said.
A few facts about beer (I fancied myself as a "boutique" brewer a couple of years ago. I spent some time pricing up a small brewery and did quite a bit of research on beer-making. The idea was quickly scuttled as the cost of a start-up was horrific, well beyond what my bank manager would let me play with!): the best water for brewing beer and the most prized is from natural sources which contain elements not found in other water sources.
Two of the major elements are Calcium and Magnesium. These two add the hardness in hard water and although unwelcome when they cause your glasses to spot in the dishwasher, they are crucial when it comes to making a fine beer. Not only do they add a desirable mouth feel of their own, but they also aid many of the biochemical processes taking place during brewing. Calcium, for instance, helps produce an acid that balances the alkaline phosphates found in malts. Control of that acidity and alkalinity, also known as pH, is vital for the activity of enzymes that take part in the beer brewing process. Magnesium is essential because it is used by yeast in the production of enzymes required for fermentation. But, as luck would have it, Magnesium can compete with Calcium and so its concentration has to be carefully controlled for proper results.
Some naturally occurring or artificially added components are not desirable when it comes to beer making. Chlorine, for instance, helps keep bacteria from building up in tap water supplies, but it adds a bitter taste and can contribute to killing yeast. Fortunately, it is a volatile element that can be easily removed by boiling or carbon filtration.
Sodium, contributes a salty taste, but at a too high concentration it can kill yeast. Most natural sources contain a reasonable amount, but control of salinity at beer making sites near a sea river conjunction is important.
Even trace elements, such as Zinc and Copper play an important role in many brewing processes, since they figure prominently in yeast metabolism. It is the yeast that turns malt sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide during fermentation. High levels can contribute to a foggy or cloudy appearance to the beer. Other elements and compounds include Sulfates, which give a dry, sharp flavor and can compliment hops. This feature is frequently used in some British ales, but in too high a concentration it can make the ale excessively bitter.
Carbonates, promote the extraction of tannins from hops and grains. Barley is a grain and goes into making malt sugar, used in fermentation. They help promote darker colors in some beers and provide alkalinity to balance the acids.
Since every dark cloud has a silver lining, news from a conference tells us that better barley breeds could be the salvation for the beer brewing industry as global warming threatens crop production.
And for those of you who would like to cry in to your beer after reading this depressing news, there's a site that allows you to do just that! I kid you not.