Production of special beers in Belgium threatened due to CO2 shortage

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by ahacsgt, Sep 2, 2022.

  1. ahacsgt

    ahacsgt Initiate (137) Mar 11, 2007 Massachusetts

    Should we stock up on Belgians?
    https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2022/09/02/beer-production-in-belgiun-threatened-due-to-co2-shortage/
     
  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,754) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    And I watched a TV news program a couple of day ago where they detailed surging electricity prices right now. For example (with bold by me):

    “In Britain, the wholesale price of a megawatt-hour of electricity (enough to supply about 2,000 homes for an hour) hit a record daily average of about 500 pounds, or $590, early this week, roughly five times the level of last August, according to Rajiv Gogna, a partner at LCP, a consulting firm.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/25/business/europe-electricity-prices.html

    It appears that the cost for production of beer in Europe will be an issue on several levels.

    Cheers!
     
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  3. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,699) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society Trader

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  4. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,680) May 30, 2005 Michigan
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    There's a whole lot of irony here. With this looming shortage of CO2 for breweries, yet the environmentalists say we've got too much in the atmosphere. Someone just needs to figure out how to clean what's in the atmosphere to make it food grade, then we'd have an unlimited supply!
     
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  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,754) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Permit me to propose an alternative strategy:

    During fermentation plenty of CO2 is produced which could be captured and used within the brewery for multiple uses including carbonating the beer. A 'simple' solution for the carbonation aspect is to place a spunding valve on the tank which will result in the beer being naturally carbonated.

    When the purchasing of CO2 is cheap(er) the breweries just choose to outgas the CO2 that is produced during fermentation (which is 'bad' from the environmentalists viewpoint) and just buy CO2 from vendors (e.g., Airgas in the US) and use that for carbonating their beers (and other uses).

    Cheers!
     
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  6. swid

    swid Meyvn (1,102) Jun 5, 2004 Missouri
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    Fractional distillation of CO₂ from air is very straightforward, but is energy inefficient/expensive, so as @JackHorzempa noted, it's a lot easier to get it from whatever the cheapest source happens to be at the moment - despite breweries producing large amounts of CO₂ to begin with.

    A Plan B of bottle-conditioning is always an option as well.
     
  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,754) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Yeah, but there are not many commercial breweries that do this. The only 'mainstream' beer(s) that I can think of is Sierra Nevada for brands like SNPA. A consideration for a brewery is that you need a fair bit of 'warehouse' space to store the bottles, at the proper temperature, for the duration of bottle conditioning (e.g., 2 weeks). I would suppose this could be challenging for small breweries; I know that many of the small, local craft breweries near me do not have the 'extra' space for this.

    Cheers!
     
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  8. crazyspicychef

    crazyspicychef Devotee (452) Sep 27, 2012 Pennsylvania

    So, what beer will be available will cost more? Yippee.
     
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  9. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,306) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    "Putin's War" is going to disrupt more and more people, businesses, and countries as Fall and Winter set in. I was speaking with some English friends about the availability and price of natural gas, and they're not very confident that there are any quick remedies. Let's just really hope that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is not used as Putin's pawn in his sick game of chess.
     
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  10. HouseofWortship

    HouseofWortship Meyvn (1,393) May 3, 2016 Illinois
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    I'm actually surprised there wasn't more support for putting US boots on the ground in Ukraine at the start. Given how inept Russia has been this could have easily been over by now. At some point the day to day pain Europeans feels from this will lead to enough anger and resentment to call for the major European countries to intervene militarily.
     
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  11. zac16125

    zac16125 Poo-Bah (2,367) Jan 26, 2010 South Carolina
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    While we’re at it we should figured out a better way to utilize the immense energy of the sun for our energy needs. Optimize that and we can eliminate the need the most other forms of energy.

    I think we’re onto something here BAs. Once issues start affecting our beer supply that’s when we step up to fix the problems of the world!
     
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  12. beer_beer

    beer_beer Defender (677) Feb 13, 2018 Finland
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    Let's hope our way of beer life continues.
     
  13. Shanex

    Shanex Poo-Bah (1,871) Dec 10, 2015 France
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    Agreed but the Russian nukes is what’s keeping people “at the table” for peace talks if that’s even possible.

    There’s no way Putin will set a foot again in Western nations, beside for an autopsy.

    Only stating the obvious here but US troops (lawful combattants) on the ground fighting Russians/Chechens in Ukraine would mean direct confrontation between the two powers and that’s a no no regardless of who you guys have as POTUS.

    Volunteer fighters from abroad but firstly the Ukrainians have done something remarkable such far; while mighty Russia is widely ridiculed.

    Like rgordon said, it’s a nasty and twisted chess game Putin is playing.
     
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  14. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (9,998) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    The CO2 as it comes out of the brewing process isn't clean enough to reuse, it needs to scrubbed of off-flavors. SN does it, but it doesn't scale down for smaller brewers. Apparently the equipment is expensive.
     
  15. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (2,215) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
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    I know when my daughter was doing work at Shiner they installed a CO2 capture system. Will need to ask her what it entailed.
     
  16. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,306) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I hope it doesn't ultimately require that, but it's tricky. I think anything like that should be a NATO operation. With the Swedes and Finns on board now, it would be truly formidable. What Ukraine has not been able to do- nor the Russians- is to apply overwhelming air power. NATO would change that, but Putin seems capable of anything these days. He's actually very scary. I worry most about Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania- old pieces of the Soviet Union like Ukraine.
     
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  17. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (8,830) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
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    As @Shanex also noted, the Russian's ability to suicidally end all human civilization is a bit of a factor here.

    But in addition to CO2, the global disruption to grain production from the combination of disruption of growing and distribution of Ukraine's grains, and Russia controlling fertilizer production, I assume the price of barley is going to increase as well.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/feat...-cause-wheat-shortages-raise-food-prices-more
     
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  18. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,754) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Yes, CO2 recapture systems (e.g., 'scrubbing' the CO2) costs money but attaching spunding valves to the tanks to achieve natural carbonation costs very little money.

    Cheers!
     
  19. HouseofWortship

    HouseofWortship Meyvn (1,393) May 3, 2016 Illinois
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    And we have repeatedly called that bluff. If Russia were to use a tactical nuke they would isolate themselves from their remaining major supportive nations- India and China while opening up the door to a considerable retaliatory strikes. If Putin wanted to extinguish humanity he would have already.
     
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  20. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,754) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Not necessarily for us since we homebrew. I will be bottling a batch of Saison tomorrow and since I bottle condition no cost for CO2 for me.

    Cheers! :beers:
     
  21. crazyspicychef

    crazyspicychef Devotee (452) Sep 27, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Spunding valves are my next investment.
     
  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,754) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    A wise investment.

    Cheers to you! :beers:
     
  23. wasatchback

    wasatchback Devotee (414) Jan 12, 2014 Tajikistan
    Trader

    Not anymore.

    There’s a company out of Austin installing Co2 recapture systems at all sorts of small/midsize breweries all over the US.

    Earthly Labs

    It’s funny to me that this is actually a big deal in Belgium when so many of the beers produced there are bottle conditioned. Eliminating Co2 is not necessarily an easy task for a brewery but it’s totally doable. Everything can be naturally carbonated although it would change up a lot of aspects of production of beers that were normally force carbed. Beer can be pushed around with Nitrogen that can be easily recaptured from the atmosphere.

    Serving draft beer would be quite a bit harder without Co2 however.
     
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  24. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,798) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    Does Delirium Tremens not go through secondary fermentation in its canned form?
     
  25. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (8,830) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
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    Well, the top selling Belgian brewed beers are actually Stella Artois (exported) and Jupiler (in country).
     
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  26. beer_beer

    beer_beer Defender (677) Feb 13, 2018 Finland
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    Good to be reminded of that we often are searching for that special "original", while the lagers dominate everywhere. Why not, lagers are also good! But they need that CO2...and are not letting anyone take it away from them...
     
  27. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,754) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    And specifically American Adjunct Lagers as I recently posted in another thread:

    "And the AAL beer style that was developed in America in the second half of the 1800’s is not just appealing to “American consumers”. Worldwide the AAL is the top selling beer style. For example, the top selling beer in England is Carling Lager which is an AAL. The top selling beers in China are AAL beers with Snow being a popular brand. The top selling beers in Brazil are AAL beers (e.g., Skol, Brahma). The top selling beer in Canada is an AAL – Budweiser. And on and on…

    The aggregated top selling beer style in the world by far is AAL."

    Cheers!
     
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  28. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (9,998) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    A brewery I'm familiar with is looking at switching CO2 providers. Putting aside all the other fees and charges, the new option is for $.21/pound, for a 5 year contract. They get deliveries 2-3 times a week.