The next time you pour a cold one, you might stop and propose a toast to metals. Come again? That’s right, various metals play an important role in the beer brewing process either as essential elements in trace amounts or as components of specific equipment.
Ingredients like hops, barley, and wheat are certainly key to infusing craft beers with specific characteristics, but using the right metals in brewing equipment can really raise the bar in the flavor equation.
Farfetched? Hardly! There’s more than a grain of truth here. Metals in a brew pot or fermenter, for example, can greatly impact the essence of your favorite IPA, ale, or lager. Different metals have their own subtle characteristics that help to create the taste and even aromas of your number one imbibable, making them pitcher perfect.
Stainless steel is commonly used in brewing equipment such as fermentation vessels, kettles, and piping. It is preferred for its corrosion resistance, durability, and ease of cleaning, making it a suitable material for maintaining the cleanliness and purity of the brewing process.
Copper is traditionally used in brewing kettles. It has good thermal conductivity, aiding in the boiling and heating processes during brewing. It is often the metal of choice for do-it-yourself brewers. However, modern breweries may use stainless steel for most equipment.
Zinc is an essential trace element that yeast needs for fermentation. It is naturally present in malt and water, and its levels are typically sufficient for yeast health.
Did You Know? The largest producing zinc mine in the United States is Red Dog Mine near Kotzebue, Alaska.
Iron is another trace element required for yeast metabolism, and it is usually present in brewing water and ingredients.
Raise a glass to metals! Cheers!