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Brewing Science: A Multidisciplinary Approach (Book Review)

Published on January 14th, 2021

Brewing Science book coverRight at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic there was a great opportunity to pick up a free digital copy of Brewing Science: A Multidisciplinary Approach by Michael Mosher and Kenneth Trantham from Springer. It was a phase we’ve passed through, but the idea was to give an opportunity for people to learn new or expand old skills during the lockdown. And I’m a book kind of guy so I grabbed this (along with a couple of unrelated text books). That being said, having spent 10 years at University I know that a text book is just a part of the learning process and having read one doesn’t make you that much smarter without the practicals, exercises and self-guided research required of an actual student.

I’m not sure I’d pay the textbook price for this one unless I needed it as a student. However, this textbook has a great rundown of brewing processes and chemistry from a commercial perspective specifically targeted at new brewers training to enter the industry. So, while there’s a bit of chemistry and physics involved, there’s no real reason you need to be able to do all that mathematics. It’s interesting to understand some of those brewery constraints about pressure in piping systems and so forth, but anyone should really hire a professional to design the brewery rather than trust their own mathematics and physics. In short, it’s more complicated than you would intuitively think.

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The Art of Memory is to Never Trust It’s Bullshit

Published on December 18th, 2020

The era I was born into held fast to certain ideas about memory and how it defined who you were as a person. For example, the idea that we record a running tape onto which time and space all but indelibly imprints itself for historic accuracy. The idea that Perry Mason could pick apart a person’s memory with an eye to exposing the truth. That events and conversations require black and white consensus, or someone is lying (the age-old he said, she said arguments). People still hold true to this outdated idea of memory regardless that science outright refutes it. Mostly because they don’t want to believe their memory is fallible. We equate our memories to the record of us as a human being.

Next came the metaphor where memories are stored in drawers and every time you open that drawer you rewrite the memory. This is how memories can be altered through revisiting the story over and over. Every time you talk about the memory where you saw a bear, that story mutates into another memory. This process can be influenced by others. Intelligent human beings have been freed after decades of incarceration by the State because the evidence finally proved they were not the killer; to this day they have the memory of the crime and the guilt of committing it. That speaks to exactly how strong a memory can be influenced by others.

In the realisation that memory is accessed and filed and re-accessed there is a worrying fragility given to the question of who we are as individuals. Because if we aren’t our persistent and immutable memories, if those memories can be shifted and shaped by ourselves and others, then how do we reconcile our story with any type of empirical reality?

And that’s the rub. We can’t. The truth as best we can ascertain at this point runs something like this: we are a story we tell ourselves that changes over time.

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On Finding and Being Yourself as a Home Brewer

Published on December 7th, 2020

Beer is an agricultural product that spreads it’s tendrils back to the early fermentations and distillations beginning with the dawn of human civilisation. It may even be the case that society formed around the creation and consumption of this magical ethanol. Making beer is a dark art of our cultural heritage. Beer is crafted and created by human beings from basic ingredients and comes with it’s own traditions, lore and legends. Beer is a social glue; beer is a chemistry experiment on every occasion; beer waxes poetic on a porch watching the sunset. And beer comes together into your glass both industrially (with the big lager producers) and by various scales down to the craft brewer and the home brewer.

And times have changed. There has never been higher quality or a greater choice in malt, hops and yeast available on the home brew scale. In fact, you only need look at the last couple of centuries of commercial beer to realise that craft brewing and home brewing have mushroomed hand in hand with the technological explosion of globalisation, the Internet and improved IT logistics. In other words, don’t underestimate the power of shipping containers, asynchronous communication, the speed and ease of Internet business and the ability of IT to improve production and supply chains. Historically, agricultural products never got to their destination at this level of quality. Without all that supporting business framework the craft brewing and home brewing landscape would be devoid of opportunity.

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More Articles on

  1. Amateur Web Designers are not Professionals
  2. Inside the Beer Fridge in February 2021
  3. Brewing Science: A Multidisciplinary Approach (Book Review)
  4. The Art of Memory is to Never Trust It’s Bullshit
  5. On Finding and Being Yourself as a Home Brewer

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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