What is so Special about Pasteurized Beer?

So you keep hearing the term pasteurized beer. What does that mean? This article break’s down everything you need to know about the pasteurization of beer.

the process of pasteurizing beer

What is pasteurized beer?

A pasteurized beer is a brew that has been heat treated to 140 degrees to kill off bacteria that spoil and ferment. The pasteurization process stabilizes the beverage and makes it safe to store at room temperature. This allows beer to be stored at warmer temperatures for shipping around the world.

How is draft beer pasteurized?

Most kegged beer brewed and packaged outside the US are pasteurized, while most domestic beers are not. Draft beer is pasteurized through a process called flash pasteurization. Flash pasteurization happens when the beer passes through a pipe within a pipe. The outer pipe contains hot water, the inner pipe has freshly brewed draft beer. The outer pipe of hot water heats the beer to pasteurization, then the beer is quickly put through a cooling process.

How do they pasteurize canned and bottled beer?

The pasteurization process for bottles and cans is slightly different than for draft beer. Bottles and cans of beer to be pasteurized are filled and capped. Next, the containers are sent through a pasteurizer where over a regulated time-period, the beer temperature is allowed to rise to 140 – 150 degrees F and then cooled back to normal.

Does Bottle Treated Mean it is Pasteurized?

No, bottle treated is not the same as pasteurized beer. Bottle treated beer undergoes a second round of fermentation. This is done by adding sugar to a beer before capping. The yeast in the beer consumes the sugar. This second round of fermentation adds carbonation to a beer as well as extends the shelf-life.. This is different than the pasteurization process where the beer is heated to 140 degrees to kill the live yeast. Bottle conditioned beers should be stored in temperatures around 53 degrees, where as pasteurized beers can be stored at room temperature.

Why do US breweries not pasteurize beer?

Beer that is put through the pasteurization process will last longer at room temperature. This process is used when sending beers around the world. In the United States we consume most of the beer brewed locally and quickly. There is little need for pasteurization. This means you need to keep untapped kegs at 38 degrees or below to keep it fresh and safe from spoilage.

How do you know if beer is heat treated?

You can not tell by looking at a keg if it is pasteurized. To know if the brew has been pasteurized you will need to look into the brewery and the beer itself. Most domestic and microbrews are not pasteurized. The only reason for pasteurization is shipping around the country or world. Want to know more about storing an untapped keg, check out our article, Do Untapped Kegs need to be Refrigerated?

How long can you store a pasteurized beer at room temperature?

A heat treated beer will last 90-120 days after kegging. That is about twice the lifespan of an unpasteurized beer. While the beer will be good for up to 120 days Thrillist.com points out that a beer that goes through the pasteurization process and kept at room temperature will begin to lose flavor after 30 days.

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