Saturday, March 27, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Beware the mercaptans!

Beware the mercaptans!

Alfresco may be beautiful but beware the mercaptans. Beer lovers don't allow their beers to get 'skunked.'

About beer, hops, sunlight, and mercaptans (aka thiols):
Certain compounds in hops are light-sensitive and when exposed to strong light a photo-oxidation reaction takes place, creating the intensely flavor-active compound 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol (MBT), one of the most powerful flavor substances known to man. Commonly referred to as 'skunky,' the pungent odor resembles that of the famously malodorous defense spray deployed by skunks.
The Oxford Companion to Beer: Oxford University Press, 2012.

To ward off the stank, keep beer out of direct sunlight or fluorescent light. Cans (and kegs) are best for that and brown glass is ok. But green glass? In sunlight, it's nearly worthless (e.g., that 'Dutch' beer) and clear glass (or plastic) is merely a vessel for liquid skunk (e.g., almost every 'craft' beer patio). Yummy...not.

Light-struck vs. oxidized

PS. Light-struck 'skunkiness' is NOT the same off-flavor (or biochemical mechanism) as that in a beer left warm. Beer exposed to heat (and over time, such as an old beer) will oxidize. The beer will develop malodors such as cardboard (!) and sherry and quickly lose its hop aroma. This can happen to any beer left warm, whether in direct sunlight or not, whether in a can, in brown glass, or in a keg.

By the way, when a beer is pasteurized, it is deliberately exposed to high heat over a short period of time. Draw your own conclusion.

A series of occasional reviews of beer (and wine and spirits).
No scores; only descriptions.


Saturday, March 20, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Cecilia's wetlands

Cecilia's wetlands

Marshlands of Cecilia Creek (or more prosaically, East Fork Middle Branch Shoal Creek), in Seminary Wood.

Photo taken in Legacy Park, within the boundaries of the City of Decatur, in the state of Georgia, USA.


Saturday, March 13, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Bird perched on branch over pond

Bird perched on branch in pond

She came.
She saw.
She flew 

A North American tyrant flycatcher (tyrannidae) poses, perched on a branch jutting over Postal Pond, in Legacy Park, Decatur, Georgia, USA.

I took this photo on 31 October 2020, when this lady and many other birds were preparing to (or already) flying further south to winter. Five months later, many are returning (or flying through) in anticipation of the imminent return of Northern Hemisphere spring. (This year, the vernal equinox will occur on Saturday, 20 March 2021.)


Saturday, March 06, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: White Flags of Georgia's COVID-19 Devastation

White Flags of Covid-19: Georgia's Devastation

White Flags of Georgia's COVID-19 Devastation is a memorial installation illustrating the devastating human and economic cost of the pandemic —and the urgency for local and federal elected officials to act now to meet the real need in our state. These white flags represent the more than 15,000 Georgians who have already lost their lives to COVID-19. Every person we have lost was loved and needed. Please join us to honor those who have died. And take action to urge elected officials to take bold action today. No one should have to plant a single flag more.

The installation was inspired by artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenburg and created by the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action.
American Friends Service Committee.

First Christian Church of Decatur, City of Decatur, Georgia, USA. 28 February 2021.

The church displayed the flags for two weeks in February 2021. By the end of the month, Georgia's total COVID-19 death toll had risen from 15,000 to 17,376. Since the pandemic began a year ago in February 2020, 514,660 Americans have died nationwide; globally, more than 2.54 million human beings.

Placards displayed at memorial

  • 3.9 million Georgians experienced loss of a job or reduced hours last year.
  • Many Georgians face eviction and mortgage or rent failure due to pandemic-related economic deprivation.
  • 1.7 million public school children [in Georgia] have had their futures disrupted.
  • 60% of public school students in Georgia faced food insecurity even before the pandemic.
  • In Georgia prisons: 5,011 COVID-19 cases; 92 deaths (including incarcerated people and prison staff).
  • No Georgian should die because they don't have access to health care.