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By Dave Jones on August 21, 2017

Bamforth Gets Fresh With 3rd Entry in Beer Series

First he gave us Foam (2012). Then Flavor (2014). Now comes Freshness, the third book in Distinguished Professor Charles W. “Charlie” Bamforth’s “Practical Guides for Beer Quality” series.

Freshness picks up where Flavor left off. That is, once you get the flavor right, you need to keep it that way. “‘Freshness’ is a beer tasting exactly as it does when first packaged,” Bamforth said. When the flavor changes, he said, the beer has flavor instability — one of the most critical quality issues facing the brewing industry today.

Charlie Bamforth amid glasses of beer
Professor Bamforth, also known as the ‘Pope of Foam.’

Bamforth, UC Davis’ Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor in Malting and Brewing Sciences, a member of the Department of Food Science and Technology, has written 14 books, co-authored two and edited five. His writings include textbooks and other scholarly works such as Beer Is Proof God Loves Us: Reaching for the Soul of Beer and Brewing, and Grape vs. Grain.

His “Practical Guides,” published by the American Society of Brewing Chemists, are reaching a broad audience — from commercial brewers large and small, to home brewers and other beer aficionados. Foam, Flavor and Freshness all feature color photographs, and are 80 pages, 96 pages and 62 pages, respectively.

“Don’t let the thinness of this book trick you into believing it does not contain much information,” Rex Halfpenny wrote in his review of Flavor for the Michigan Beer Guide. “It’s a handbook, so the information is concise and surprisingly easy to understand especially considering the complexity of the subject, but then that is Charles’ method of delivery.”

Here’s what the publisher says about Freshness: “In an informal and reader-friendly way, this book guides the reader through the complex nature of beer flavor stability, covering the many factors and issues associated with keeping your beer tasting fresh and consistent.”

The book includes information on identifying and fixing root causes of flavor instability, with specific advice on such issues as “staling” and “skunking”; factors that impact stability, such as raw materials, process and packaging; explanations behind the smells and tastes of beer that change over time and how to predict the rate at which these changes will occur; how to minimize flavor stability issues at the outset; step-by-step explanations for interpreting and fixing flavor stability problems; and references and links to help readers source methods and equipment that will maximize the shelf life of their beers.

The last three books in Bamforth’s series are due out over the next three years, on the topics of haze and color, quality systems, and health and wholesomeness. Hmmm … will they have titles starting with the letter “f” — a la Foam, Flavor and Freshness? “I am racking my brain to make that possible, but it may not work!” he told Dateline UC Davis.

Beyond his books, Bamforth has authored or co-authored more than 325 papers, chapters and articles on beer and brewing. He is in his 18th year as editor of the Journal of the American Society of Brewing Chemists — and said this will be his last year in that post.

He also writes prolifically on soccer, including the book In Keeping with the Wolves, a historic account of the goalkeepers of the Wolverhampton Wanderers, a club in his native England.

Bamforth is the immediate past president of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, the world’s leading professional body for people working in the industry. He is a fellow of the institute and two other professional organizations: the Royal Society of Biology, and the International Academy of Food Science and Technology. He is a member of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas.

Dave Jones is a senior public information representative and editor of Dateline UC Davis, in the Office of Strategic Communications.