New Brewery, New Beer Geek!

It doesn’t just take a great, new brewery to brew good beer, it also takes great people. Thornbridge has always been about employing people that can bring something to the table and help us progress as much as we can to make great beer, both quality wise and flavour wise. This is why we have such a diverse brewing team… a couple of Food Science graduates, a Heriot-Watt brew school graduate, an ex-chef, a champion home-brewer. And now we’ve decided to go a step further and hire a doctor!

With a couple of Englishman and a couple of Kiwis, Stef, our solo Italian was far outnumbered in this league of nations, so we’ve decided to take another Italian on board! Some of you may recall Andrea Pausler (originally from Spilimbergo in North-Eastern Italy), who has just finished his PhD on the effects of bottle conditioning in the production of craft lager beers at Udine University in Italy. Andrea had previously joined us in 2008 for a few months to get some hands-on brewery experience while completing his thesis. He was instrumental in setting up our original Thornbridge laboratory and showed the commitment and passion that makes us who we are.

The Second Italian!

The Second Italian!

A keen sportsman, Andrea is right into running, skiing and football and more importantly is a massive rock fan, so will fit in perfectly to the team, what with Matt’s Foo Fighters obsession, JK’s unnatural love of Iron Maiden, Dave’s fist-punching Ramones, my dark, melodic Tool and the funk-rock of Stef’s Red Hot Chili Peppers, I’m sure he’ll be air-guitaring with the best of us!

Recently, Andrea has been brewing throughout Italy and conducting research and analysis in the university’s pilot brewhouse. Along with JK, myself and Stef, he will be heading up our laboratory as well as bringing some fantastic Italian flair to the beer as we show him the ropes and teach him about our style of brewing. Most importantly, Andrea will lead our bottling operation and bring a wealth of knowledge with regards to the extension of our bottle-refermented range.

In terms of beer styles, Andrea is really passionate about all of the great top-fermented British and American beers but finds the bottom-fermented Czech lagers to be the best (after all of the brilliant Italian craft beers, I am sure!). This sounds great to us, as we’d love to brew an amazing Pilsener here at Thornbridge some day! I know that when Stef went to Italy for a visit, he and Andrea brewed a lager jam-packed with Nelson Sauvin hops at the brewpub where Andrea was working. Apparently it was awesome!

After just winning three medals in the International Beer Challenge (Gold for Kipling in the Ale section, Gold for Bracia in the Speciality section and Silver for Saint Petersburg in the Stouts), which you can check out here, I’m sure a bottle-conditioning expert is definitely going to come in handy!!

As well as that, we think it’s pretty cool that we now have a Brew Doctor on the team!!

You can also check out an abstract (that I found in the MBAA Quarterly) from some of his research below!!

Sensory comparison of the same lager beer stabilized through two
different techniques: Pasteurization and bottle conditioning

ANDREA PAVSLER (1), Stefano Buaitti (1), Matteo Milan (1)
(1) Department of Food Science, University of Udine, Udine, Italy
The shelf life of beer is one of the major concern for brewers and, as is
known, it is obtained through the pasteurization process. Nevertheless to
preserve the “handmade” characteristics of a product, the shelf-life can be
improved by bottle conditioning without heat treatment of beer. Industrial
lager beers, generally characterized by low alcohol (between 4 and 5% by
vol.) and extract content, after filtration, are pasteurized to obtain biological
stability. Bottle conditioning is a technique generally used to produce
top fermentation beers with an alcohol content higher than 6% by volume.
To evaluate the effect of bottle conditioning on sensory quality of a lager,
a bottom fermentation beer (pasteurized) has been compared to the same
beer bottle conditioned with different yeasts. A pasteurized lager (sample
P) and five bottle conditioned lagers (not pasteurized) with four yeast
strains were tasted after 10 months. As is known after this time, sometimes
even earlier, beers can show staling problems affecting shelf life. All
tasted beers came from the same starting batch (SB) of filtered and not
pasteurized lager; sample P was obtained from SB after pasteurization
processing (21 PU, Pasteurization Units) while bottle conditioned beers
were added with sucrose to have a final carbon dioxide content of 4.5 g/L
and an amount of yeast to obtain a viability equal to 5 × 104 CFU/mL. All
samples were stored at 20°C. The samples of bottle conditioned beer were
kept at 23°C for the first month to allow the yeast to ferment the added
sugar. A sensory test of all beers was carried out by a trained panel of
13 assessors; each sample were randomly tasted at the 10th month, and
aroma and taste were evaluated considering several aspects using a rating
test. Results showed that bottle conditioned beers were appreciated as
much as pasteurized ones and, some of them, even more. Possibly due to
its reducing power and oxygen scavenger effect, yeast acts as a protection
against the off-flavor development mainly related to staling taste. Results
showed that bottle conditioning can be an interesting and valid system
even for bottom fermentation beer in order to obtain a stable and distinct
product according the yeast strain used.

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