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Old 05-15-2008, 01:03 AM   #1
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Default Can you brew beer in outer space?

I was just going through a thought experiment in my head, and I was wondering if it is at all possible to brew beer in outer space. I mean you would need some really interesting equipment to even try it. Additionally do yeast even function in zero gravity, I know there is top fermenting and bottom fermenting, but without gravity how do they know which way is top and which way is bottom.

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Old 05-15-2008, 01:04 AM   #2
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next time I'm in outer space, I'll let you know...

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Old 05-15-2008, 01:09 AM   #3
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It would be strange for sure. The beer would probably eventually form a sort of ball in the center of the fermenter, surrounded by CO2. The krausen would surround the ball of beer. CO2 would be expelled in all directions (simply pushed aside by density alone). Airlocks would be nearly useless, though a blow-off tube of some sort might be possible. Keeping the beer from expelling itself out of the fermenter would be another possible issue. Yeast flocculation would be strange, potentially collecting around the outside of the beer...if it flocculated at all. Mostly, zero gravity beer sounds like a strange proposition.

If you keep the fermenter tethered and constantly spin it around a point, you could induce a false "gravity" that would allow the beer to progress "normally."

EDIT:
Using the centrifugal tether system, you could potentially effect a better fermentation. A lighter gravitational force during the initial stages of fermentation may increase the yeast's ability to stay suspended and keep working, while a stronger force during conditioning would aid in flocculation and clearing.

EDIT to the EDIT:
Can you tell I'm bored?

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Old 05-15-2008, 01:17 AM   #4
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Yea, well I'm bored as well, still at work, I was just trying to do a thought experiment and figure out the entier process, start to finish is it possible? I came to the conclusion that it would be exceptionally messy and difficult, and probably not possible. But I figured you guys might come up with some interesting solutions to all of the little problems.

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Old 05-15-2008, 01:18 AM   #5
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I cant think of any reason why it wouldnt work, the problems involved would be the yeast not settling out so you would have to filter it, and in all grain the sparge would be complicated.

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Old 05-15-2008, 01:20 AM   #6
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I think the key to it is to produce an artificial, perhaps variable gravity force. Zero gravity mashing sounds like a terrible idea, and I have no clue how you'd boil something without any ability to keep it inside a kettle.

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Old 05-15-2008, 01:21 AM   #7
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I imagine that this would have been an issue I would have struggled with myself had I been a home brewer back when I was a smot poker.

I wasn't, so we were stuck discussing the usual "what if one grain of dirt under your fingernail is an entire galaxy" or "how come a quarter of a dollar is 25 cents, but a quarter of an hour is only 15 minutes". Needless to say, the movie "Horton Hear's a Who" gave me a wicked flashback when I took the runts to see it.

Point being: Put down the hoot and get back to brewing.

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Old 05-15-2008, 01:23 AM   #8
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also fire inside of space ships, not so good. You would have to use an electric heating element to mash maybe, sphere shaped and some way of continually moving the mash around and a pressurized system that filters out the grain forcing hot water through the grain ball...

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Old 05-15-2008, 02:43 AM   #9
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You'd have to be inside a space ship or some pressurized environment. If you brought you beer "outside" it would instantly boil off due to the lack of atmospheric pressure...

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Old 05-15-2008, 02:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
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You'd have to be inside a space ship or some pressurized environment. If you brought you beer "outside" it would instantly boil off due to the lack of atmospheric pressure...
Not to mention the lack of oxygen. It would be all "My fermentation is stuck" threads...
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