Science Podcasts

Naked Scientists episode

Sun, 7th Oct 2007

Brewing and Alcohol

A glass of Wheat beer (c) Trexer at Wikipedia

This week, we're quenching our thirst for knowledge with the science of Beer and Brewing!  We learn about how beer is made, why nitrogen is vital for the perfect pint of Guinness and why professors of brewing think they have the best job in the world.  We also delve into the natural history of beer, to discuss the age old argument, what came first, the beer or the bread?  We look into the future of beer, finding out how the chemistry of carbon dioxide could provide a purer pint.  Also, a spicy way to specifically kill pain, saving slight with plastic corneas, and the hot, smelly sex lives of ancient plants.  Plus, in Kitchen Science, Ben goes for the hard stuff by learning about distillation and the science of scotch. 

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 10:00 - Hot, Smelly Sex - In Primative Plants, that is.

    Birds do it, bees do it, but now Irene Terry, from the University of Utah, has found that primitive plants indulge in hot, smelly sex...

  • 15:03 - Could chilli be an alternative to morphine?

    I use morphine patches and if I forget to put one on I get the same withdrawal symptoms a heroin addict would! In the science news this week there was a story about using chilli combined with a pain killer to selectively kill pain. Could this be an alternative to morphine?

  • 15:47 - Kitchen Science - The Science of Scotch

    While many people enjoy a beer, some prefer a shot of the hard stuff. Ben set out to find out about the science of scotch, by trying out some distillation...

  • 21:28 - The Secrets of Beer

    Now, there must be thousands of beers available worldwide and of course, beer sales are very big business. But how do we actually make beer and why do we taste the tastes in beer that we taste? We asked Professor Charlie Bamforth, professor of beer and brewing at the University ...

  • 24:05 - Why does my beer sometimes explode?

    I sometimes brew my own beer. When I open a bottle of beer that I’ve brewed, sometimes it behaves nicely and fizzes up all over the place but this doesn’t seem to be correlated with how long the beer has spent in the bottle. Since I reuse the bottles I’m wondering, therefore, if ...

  • 24:58 - What makes Guinness® or stout so dark?

    What makes Guinness® or stout so dark, thick and foamy and so good compared to the lighter, clear beers that you get elsewhere and places like the US?’

  • 25:39 - Why did they put dead mice in the beer?

    My daughter recently went on a school trip and she was told that in Tudor times, if beers were poured with no head on them then they would put dead mice in the beer! Can you explain what this would achieve and why?

  • 27:42 - The Natural History of Beer

    Beer is one of the world’s oldest alcoholic beverages, dating back over seven thousand years and it’s still one of the most popular drinks in society today. But how’s it made? How was it discovered in the first place? Meera went to the Natural History Museum for one of their Dar...

  • 41:09 - The Quality of Life Depends upon the Liver

    As much as we enjoy the odd beer it’s always best to enjoy it in moderation because drinking alcohol does have its health downsides. Ben went to the pub to meet up with Mike Allison, a liver specialist from Addenbrooke’s hospital, to find out more about the damage that alcohol c...

  • 46:02 - Jacobsons organ in Humans?

    I want to know if humans have a functioning Jacobson’s Organ? As I’ve heard several different opinions on this matter.

  • 50:10 - Kitchen Science - The Science of Scotch Part 2

    Continued from part one, where we set up the distillation equipment, Ben returns from the pub to find the results...

  • 54:42 - What in WD40 kills spiders?

    I caught a three inch long spider in my house with a special miniature vacuum cleaner designed to catch spiders. I didn’t know how to kill it so I coated it liberally with WD40. it took about five minutes to die, which I hope wasn’t too painful, so what was in the WD40 that kille...

 

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