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Fall 2020 Return to Campus Information
COVID-19 Communication

‘The Chemistry and Alchemy of Brewing’ to be held at Clarke

February 29, 2016

Robert P. Bates, professor emeritus of Food Science at the University of Florida in Gainesville, will speak on the topic “The Chemistry and Alchemy of Brewing” when Clarke University hosts the March meeting of the Illinois-Iowa section of the American Chemistry Society.

The meeting will take place on Thursday, March 17, at 7 p.m. in Jansen Hall.

Beer making, one of the oldest examples of biotechnology, is a fascinating study of chemistry, biochemistry and engineering. It combines well-recognized and controllable reactions and operations with complex, poorly understood phenomena, including the psychosensory response. Surprisingly, some of the most sophisticated science and technology are employed in the efficient production of mass advertised, mediocre beers. In contrast, traditional “alchemy-driven” methods can produce exceptional yet under-recognized beers. Fortunately, there is an achievable balance between these extremes.

This presentation will cover the brewing process from raw material selection and preparation through fermentation to consumption. Emphasis will be on major pathways employed by brewers to produce a wide range of beers. These are exciting times for brewers and beer connoisseurs in the U.S. Future industry developments of relevance to consumers will be mentioned. With dedication and practice, the average chemist can brew above-average beers; so can the experienced kitchen alchemist.

Bates received his bachelor of science degree in food technology from MIT, a master of science degree in food science from the University of Hawaii and a Ph.D. in food science from MIT.Bates’ areas of interest are food processing and utilization, small-scale process and equipment development, fermentation technology and byproduct recovery, food product development, and international technical assistance.

For more information, contact Necla Demir, Clarke assistant professor of Chemistry/Food Science, at necla.demir@clarke.edu; 563-588-6381.