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Gearhead: The Force Behind the Fizz

How spunding valves can help your yeast pull double duty.

John M. Verive Dec 29, 2019 - 9 min read

Gearhead: The Force Behind the Fizz Primary Image

One of the effects of natural carbonation is a pillowy head with a tight bubble structure.

Water, malt, hops, and yeast are, of course, beer’s four critical components, but thinking that’s all it takes to brew a fine beer would be overlooking the most ephemeral of its ingredients. The gas that’s dissolved in beer—the bubbles that it forms and that spring so readily from within—is an underappreciated piece of the whole picture.

It’s the force behind the fizz and the foam that’s intrinsic to beer, and it’s crucial to the whole sensory experience of enjoying a beer. While no skilled brewer would ignore carbonation levels, the typical procedure for ensuring the correct levels of carbonation in a brew is about force, not finesse.

There’s another way, rooted in tradition and exploiting the same biochemical reactions that create alcohol, and the brewers devoted to natural carbonation say that it results in a better drinking experience. All it takes is pressure and time.

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