‘Foam': Bamforth pens new beer book

By From page A3 | May 10, 2012

Charles Bamforth, a UC Davis brewing scientist, is the author of a new book titled "Foam," published by the American Society for Brewing Chemists. UC Davis/Courtesy photo

Charles Bamforth, a UC Davis brewing scientist, is the author of a new book titled "Foam," published by the American Society for Brewing Chemists. UC Davis/Courtesy photo

Foam capping a glass of beer is not just a frothy byproduct of the brewing process but a key component of beer quality and consumer satisfaction, writes highly acclaimed UC Davis brewing scientist Charles Bamforth in a new book, “Foam.”

“Foam,” published by the American Society for Brewing Chemists, is the first in what Bamforth plans as a six-volume series. “The Practical Guides for Beer Quality” series is intended to help brewers, retailers and consumers ensure excellence in their beer.

Foam, notes Bamforth, is of utmost importance to beer quality when the beverage is drunk from a glass, rather than from a can or bottle.

“Despite my frequent protestations that the only civilized way to sip beer is from a glass, I am prepared to admit that there are drinking occasions when the informal approach is relevant — when fishing, for example,” Bamforth writes.

“I do not fish,” he adds.

Bamforth goes on to share research findings from several consumer perception studies on beer foam conducted in California, England, Japan, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Scotland and the Czech Republic. Findings from those studies include:

* U.S. consumers favor a good head of foam on their beer;

* Most beer drinkers don’t like excessive foam;

* Many consumers find that foam makes beer look colder; and

* Men tend to appreciate foam more than women.

Throughout the remainder of the 72-page, paperback book, Bamforth examines the more technical aspects of beer foam. These include physical and chemical factors of foaming; the impact of raw materials, processing and dispensing on foaming; measuring foam; and how to address foaming problems.

“Anyone who wants to know how to pour the perfect pint will find the answers here,” Bamforth says.

The book also includes a discussion of “gushing,” that sudden, uncontrolled release of foam when the beer can or bottle is opened. Bamforth advises that “beer does not take well to shaking,” and dispels the myth that gushing can be prevented by simply allowing the beer to stand and settle.

The new book is available for $39.95 from the American Society for Brewing Chemists’ online store at www.asbcnet.org.

Bamforth, who is the Anheuser-Busch endowed professor of malting and brewing sciences, began his work in the brewing industry in 1978. He has written numerous books on beer and brewing including 2010’s “Beer Is Proof God Loves Us.”

For more information, see http://foodscience.ucdavis.edu/bamforth/BookLinks.html.

— UC Davis News Service

Pat Bailey

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