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Old Masters
Flat beers from the past, now trendier than ever
Before 1900, the Belgian beer landscape was characterised by top-, mixed- and spon-
taneous-fermentation “flat beers”. These beers ferment at ambient temperature, with
subsequent maturation in oak casks or “foeders” at ambient pressure. The dissolved
carbon dioxide (CO
2
is a by-product of alcoholic fermentation) is thus in balance with
ambient temperature and pressure. This means that the beer does not effervesce in the
glass, but rather appears “flat” (like still water).
Bottom-fermentation beers (pilsners) started to become more popular at the be-
ginning of the 20th century. They were made using chillers that enabled fermen-
tation at low temperature (5°C to 10°C) and lagering (maturation) at 0°C. Using
these low temperatures and pressurised lagering tanks increased the amount of
dissolved carbon dioxide in the beer, providing strong effervescence in the glass
when the beer was exposed to ambient pressure. This is similar to a bottle of spar-
kling water, which does not effervesce in a sealed bottle, but does so as soon as
it is poured into a glass.
The consumption of carbonated drinks is dropping globally:
• flat water sells better than sparkling water.
• carbonated fruit beverages are being replaced by fruit juices.
The Old Masters fit perfectly with this trend.
Drawing flat beers
Appearance is also important. Flat beers are not only very digestible; they also spare you
that bloated feeling in your stomach. They really do look good with their nice heads. Old
Masters are drawn through a nozzle that sprays fine jets of beer, which absorb nitrogen
from the air. The emulsion of fine nitrogen bubbles gives the beer a milky appearance in
the glass (1), that rises gradually (2) to reveal the true look of the beer as it forms a very
stable and creamy head (3) (keg pressurised with a 30% CO
2
/ 70% nitrogen gas mix,
0.35 bar gauge pressure).
Enjoy nature’s best. Discover and experience the Old Masters from PALM Breweries.
Enduring, traditional gems of top, mixed and spontaneous fermentation.
1
2
3
UNFILTERED PALM
top fermentation
5.4% ABV
1 month old
pH 4.2
OAK-AGED SOUR ALE
FROM RODENBACH
mixed fermentation
6% ABV
2 years old
pH 3.2
OUDE LAMBIEK BOON
spontaneous fermentation
6% ABV
3 years old
pH 3.2
06.1
our thoroughbred beers from KEG TO GLASS
ON TAP
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Masterclass
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