The subject of pasteurization does not usually inspire poetry. I’m not a poet, but I am the drinks director at a natural wine-oriented spot called DAYTRIP in Oakland, California. So I spend a lot of time trying to open minds that tend to be mean to values (even beauty). About pasteurization. When we talk about this here in the US, we tend to get extreme opinions. In other words, the book-reading libertarian homesteaders who don’t touch pasteurized milk. 10-foot poles and concerned parents living by what the FDA publishes.
Both of these perspectives ignore important truths about pasteurization. This means that pasteurization can actually produce some beverages, even fermented beverages.Better. Or, as I half-jokingly say to the skeptics I work with and serve, pasteurization can be fascinating. If we are talking about fermented beverages, in most cases pasteurization has little to do with safety. Instead, pasteurization is a tool that allows producers to bring their products to market with confidence, is gentler than many alternative preservatives that are added, and may actually enhance certain flavors and characteristics of the drink. I can.
Pasteurization is a form of thermal stabilization that uses sustained heat to slow or stop microbial-induced changes in food or beverages. The US and European story is that the process was “invented” by Louis Pasteur, a 19th century microbiologist based in the Jura region of France. However, heat stabilization has been used in sake for hundreds of years, even before Pasteur. In Japan, sake became famous during the Muromachi period (1333-1578), around the same time that sake was transitioning from a drink made by monks to one made by independent breweries. In sake brewing, the process of stabilizing the heat is called “hiire.” (pasteurization), which can occur once or twice, depending on what the brewer is trying to do.
“One of the reflections from the world of natural wine is to try to neatly map the technical ideas and concepts of wine to other drinks. Here we lose sight of the characteristics of the drink.”
Yoshihiro Sako makes sake at his brewery, Den Sake, located on an industrial site in West Auckland. It’s also home to a lumberyard, a Burning Man art project, and one of the Bay Area’s great soba spots, Sobaichi. To pasteurize the sake he makes from Californian rice, Sako uses a rustic, manual process called bing hi ire (bottle pasteurization). Once the liquor is bottled, Sako installs a device that includes a cooler that supplies hot tap water through a hose, a Bain-Marie-type steam heater that sits above a gas burner, and finally a wooden box that pumps out the cold hose water. . . The first warm bath is to prevent impact to alcohol and glass bottles. A hot bath on the stove heats the sake to just over 140°F. The sake is then put into a state where it can be stored in a cooling tank.
Mr. Sako also makes a small amount of raw sake at Den. If the sake is not pasteurized, the still active koji will continue to produce glucose and glutamate for several months after bottling, making the sake richer and sweeter, further enhancing its flavor. These characteristics can be great in many sakes, but sako doesn’t want them. all his. “Namazake changes greatly over time, but roasted sake changes more slowly,” Sako says. “The only major difference between pasteurized sake and unheated sake is that pasteurization removes some of the ingredients. [microbial] The elements of alcohol that create change. The flavor will be different immediately after pasteurization, and the pasteurized one will be a little thinner. You can see that the taste is firm and refreshing. ” In extreme terms, if raw sake is stored poorly, the balance of lactic acid caused by Lactobacillus fructivorans bacteria may be disrupted and it may explode. The resulting flavor profile is known as hiochi bacterium and is considered a flaw by the majority of sake experts. However, Mr. Sako’s approach (that neither pasteurized sake nor unpasteurized sake is inherently better than the other, but that there is room for both) is that the world of sake is as unique as the world of wine that this theme This reflects the fact that the company is not dogmatic about the issue. .
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One of the reflections from the natural wine world that has developed over the last decade or so is the attempt to neatly map the technical ideas and concepts of wine onto other beverages. Here we lose sight of the characteristics of the drink. Unified Ferments is a Brooklyn, New York-based company that makes vibrant, complex fermented sparkling teas that have found their way into many natural wine-oriented spaces. Young Stowe, one of the co-owners, said that too often products in the growing non-alcoholic category try to imitate existing alcoholic products, and he sees the potential to turn N/A into an interesting standalone category. I believe that certain explorations are restricted. “There are so many things you can do with fermentation, and it doesn’t have to be a wine idea,” Stowe says.
For years, Unified Ferments did not pasteurize its sparkling tea. Because the company didn’t have the right tools to do it affordably. This made cross-border distribution impossible and stressed sales to retailers and restaurants. After Unified Ferments meticulously refrigerated and shipped its products, restaurants would often contact the company to say something was wrong with the bottles or that the bottles were leaking. Once or twice, the bottle exploded. Unified Ferments then learned that the delicate fermentation liquid was being stored at room temperature rather than refrigerated.
For Stowe, just because “quality” wine isn’t pasteurized, force-carbonated, or carefully controlled doesn’t mean you can’t use those tools in your own drinks. “From our perspective, our bottles are essentially unchanged by pasteurization,” he says. “And we think there are some real improvements that come from that.” Unified Ferments uses a wide range of premium teas to make its products, but Stowe and his Colleagues have found that heat stabilization enhances teas that contain oxidative, malty, and roasted flavor elements commonly found in oolongs and black teas. It’s unclear whether it occurs through caramelization, the Maillard reaction, or some other chemical change, but the effect is noticeable and delicious.
“The idea that thermal stabilization only limits complexity is itself a limitation. Pasteurization is not an on/off switch of complexity. Sure, it slows down or stops microbial activity, but the living and ever-changing flavor of microorganisms is not the only definition of complexity.”
Eden Cidery is based in Newport, Vermont. Newport is a small town on the southern tip of the lake, which is mostly in Canada. The company started as an iced cider manufacturer, but now also produces a line of cider-based aperitifs infused with herbs and tinctures. Deirdre Heekin; a large number of sparkling ciders in bottles, kegs and cans; Other orchard-specific bottles and experimental items. Eden recently pasteurized its first batch of cans. This was a tactical decision and a transformative moment. Until then, the company added a preservative called Velcorin to some of its canned products to prevent the cider from emitting off-flavors associated with microorganisms or exploding, regardless of storage conditions in warehouses or retail stores. was doing. Using Velcorin wasn’t Eden’s first choice, but short of investing in a ton of new equipment, it was the best option. After the addition of Belcolin, a critical period was noticed when the cider was “shocked”. That is, the apple flavor and acidity were ruined and muted. In contrast, pasteurized cans have no such negative consequences. “Pasteurization allows the flavors to meld a little more,” said Riley Duffy-Bresnahan, Eden’s national sales director.
Duffy-Bresnahan emphasizes that Eden makes different choices depending on the size of the product and the market. “We don’t pasteurize our bottles or our iced cider because our batch sizes are small.” [typically 600 gallons for a batch of ice cider] You will be able to control it. ” In contrast, Eden cans typically hold 6,000 gallons. “When it comes out, we have little control over how it’s handled, so pasteurizing it gives us some peace of mind.”
Today, when food and wine buffs think of the Jura region, they don’t think of Pasteur carefully heating his beet juice ferments in his laboratory to prevent unwanted acidity. Instead, Jura wines remind us of juicy red wines, Comté cheeses, and nutty, oxidative white wines. None of it is ever pasteurized unless it’s really from the bottom of the barrel. However, the idea that thermal stabilization only limits complexity is itself a limitation. Pasteurization is not an on/off switch of complexity. Indeed, it slows down or stops the activity of microorganisms. Some might say this is the “life” of a drink, but the living and ever-changing flavor of microorganisms is not the only definition of complexity. Without pasteurization, we would be missing out on a lot. Sake has a rich history spanning centuries. In cider, the ability to reach new audiences. And in the case of fermented non-alcoholic beverages, it’s the ability to go out into the world and wow people’s minds without the bottle exploding.