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The science of alcohol
The science of alcohol

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6 Spoiled beer

We can all dream of the perfect pint but just like any food that has been left out too long, or not prepared properly, beer can go off. Drinking it will not be pleasant or in some cases it will even be bad for you.

In this video Danny Allwood discusses his thoughts on spoiled beer.

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The brewing industry uses the term ‘off flavours’ to describe any undesirable flavours which arise in a finished beer.

  • From the video can you recall from what stages in the brewing process off flavours are most likely to arise?

  • Boiling, fermentation and storage are the main processes in which undesirable flavours can be introduced into the finished beer. However, poor sanitation at any stage in the process can lead to contamination with bacteria. When bacteria carry out the reactions needed to sustain life, compounds are produced which can lead to off flavours such as acetic acid (giving rise to the taste of vinegar, as in corked wine).