Discover Copper Online

Fall 2006

Using Copper for What Ales You

High-resolution version of this photo.

At one time or another, every beer drinker encounters an uncharacteristically sour or A "skunky" beer. A primary cause of this is hydrogen sulfide, which is a normal byproduct of the fermentation process.

According to a study cited in the Technical Quarterly of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas, researchers have determined the most efficient way of containing this unwanted byproduct is through the use of copper.

To eliminate the hydrogen sulfide, a small amount of copper is introduced to the fermenting beer via two copper electrodes. The copper interacts with the hydrogen sulfide to form copper sulfide, which is easily removed from the final fermented product. Tests have shown that this process is capable of reducing the amount of hydrogen sulfide to undetectable levels. So, next time you enjoy a cold one, copper probably played an important role in delivering the wonderful taste! Cu


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