Did you know that nitrogen is used in the food and beverage industry? Not only that, but it’s also a critical component in the beer brewing process too!
Nitrogen is actually an important component of many of the foods and drinks we consume every day. It’s not just one of the most common gases on Earth, it also has some pretty unique properties that make it perfect for preserving and packaging food.
In Restaurants and Bars
It may be used to add dramatic effects to the presentation of meals through using fog created by nitrogen. In addition to producing effects, it may also be used to manufacture ice cream. By freezing the mixture, the flavour and texture are retained, resulting in luscious ice cream.
In Food Processing
Nitrogen is used in food processing to keep food fresh and prevent it from spoiling. It’s also used to carbonate beverages, like beer and soda. As well as nitrogen gas, the use of liquid nitrogen is common because of its low temperature with its ability to freeze things quickly. It is time efficient.
Nitrogen can help to extend the shelf life of food by slowing down the growth of bacteria. This is done by eliminating heat from specific processes, making the growth of bacteria difficult. Therefore, the health and safety of food and drinks have improved.
Nitrogen use is helpful and required when creating aerated chocolate such as Aero, the popular bubble textured chocolate. Using carbon dioxide provides the ability to make larger bubbles.
It Prevents Oxidation Within Packaging
When nitrogen is used within the packaging, it displaces the oxygen to help prevent oxidation. This is important for products like coffee, tea, and spices, which can go stale when exposed to oxygen. Using nitrogen can also help to preserve the flavour and aroma of these foods.
Both still and fizzy beverages, including beer, wine, and water, can be packaged using nitrogen. Precise amounts of nitrogen are pumped into the containers to pressurise them and extend the shelf life of the goods.
Nitrogen pressure guarantees that the carbon dioxide stays in the carbonated beverages, keeping their bubbles until the container is eventually opened.
The Brewing Beer Process
Grains are the main ingredients in beer, they are collected, dried and then cracked to remove the enzymes used in beer.
Malt is passed through a mill to be crushed to the correct size; a too fine grind creates a stuck mash which leaves incomplete extraction of starches.
The crushed malt is mixed with hot water, this creates a substance called the ‘mash’.
The water activates the enzymes, softens the malt, and changes the starches in the grains into fermentable sugars, which will later serve as the yeast’s primary food supply. The body of the beer is made up of this sweet liquid, often known as “the wort.”
The wort must be separated from the spent grains. The mash is then heated to 77 degrees to stop enzymatic processes and maintain the Worts sugar profile. This is known as Mashout.
Pouring the wort back through the grain bed after exiting the bottom of the lauter tonne helps clean up the wort by removing loose grain pieces.
The beer is cooked by adding hops and other flavours into a large container. This stage involves chemical reactions releasing the hop’s flavour and aromas. The final product has more flavour and less protein as a result of the boiling.
There are 2 types of fermentation for brewers, Primary and Secondary.
Primary Fermentation involves Most of the sugar being converted by yeast into alcohol and carbon dioxide throughout this process. It takes this process three to five days.
In Secondary Fermentation, the yeast works more slowly, any undesirable chemical by-products are reabsorbed and the beer is conditioned. Smaller brewers occasionally use this since it takes at least two weeks or more.
The process of conditioning, which guarantees that the beer is ready for sale, normally lasts two weeks. Its aim is to allow the beer time to mature the flavours and aromas and aid in the drink’s clarity for a smooth finish.
Through conditioning, the flavour and aroma of the beer are preserved, providing consistency with each taste. Beer may taste sour if it hasn’t been properly conditioned.
Filtering, Process and Bottling
After that, the beer is filtered to eliminate undesirable byproducts like proteins, tannins, and yeast that would produce flavours and haze. Filtering speeds up getting rid of them in a matter of minutes as opposed to weeks or months.
The completed product is created when the filtering procedure is accomplished. The beer may then be placed in a cask, bottles, cans, or other containers. Unfiltered beer frequently qualifies as “craft” beer because of its stronger flavour.
Nitrogen is a naturally occurring gas that has many industrial applications, including in the food and beverage industry. It can create a variety of products, including beer, carbonated drinks, and dairy products. Despite being an odd ingredient, it is crucial!