I Love the Smell of Wort in the Morning

Craft Beer

 

Let’s talk craft beer.

We assume that if you’re too particular to drink the sex-in-a-canoe brew that Big Beer has flooded the market with, you’re a thoughtful beer drinker more interested in taste than tipsy. Given the palates of most Americans, that puts you in the ranks of the fortunate few. Let’s face it: you’re a beer snob. But at least you’re not a wine snob. What is it with hipsters and spoiled grape juice, anyway?

Snob or not, we figured you might be interested in the process of how brewers make these beers. There are some intricacies involved with some of them that complicate the issue, so we’ll just do a high-level overview.

As you probably know, it all starts with malt. But do you even know what malt is? (If you were wondering: it is, in fact, the same ingredient that turns your shake into the semi-frozen confection affectionally called the “malt,” short for “malted milk.” It’s also used in Whoppers candy and other malted milk balls). Malt is a grain, usually barley but sometimes wheat, that the brewer has allowed to sprout. Ideally, it should sprout until the new plant is twice the length of the barleycorn.

At that point, the grain is roasted and ground. As with coffee, the darker the roast, the darker the beer. The brewer boils and mashes the malt in water to produce the wort (pronounced “wert”) that eventually becomes beer. In the old days, the different types of beer were distinctive because of the quality of the local water. This is less of an issue now that we can easily filter or distill the water.

Speaking of distilling, some heathens add yeast to the mash, let it ferment, and then distill it to produce various types of whiskey. But true connoisseurs boil the wort with hops, introducing a bitterness that offsets its natural sweetness. (Beer without hops is ale, though even brewers rarely use that term accurately.)The boiling process requires at least an hour for the hops and malt to chemically react enough to produce fine beer. After the wort cools to room temperature, the brewer adds sugar to give it an extra alcoholic boost as it ferments. Then it’s put into a fermenting container along with a bit of yeast. Fermenters include a one-way airlock that lets most of the carbon dioxide produced by the yeast escape. When the bubbling stops, the beer is ready for bottling and aging(at least a week) before drinking. The carbonation comes from residual fermentation after a little more sugar is added.

One final note: wort ferments because all those yeast beasts multiply like mad and eat the starchy molecules of the malt and the sugar, converting it into CO2 and the longer-chain hydrocarbons we call “alcohol.” The more fuel for the yeast, the longer fermentation lasts, and the stronger the final product. When the fuel is gone, the yeast spores up and falls to the bottom of the container, clarifying the beer.

Just wanted to make it clear that that the ambrosia we all love basically consists of yeast poop and farts.

I’m sure you’ll agree, though, when we say, “Ehhhh, so what?”

Isn’t It About Time You Got Some Real Freezer Sheet Labels?

freezer-sheet-labelsThere are plenty of substandard freezer sheet labels out there. You know the ones: they get mushy when moisture invades your freezer, so you can’t read what’s on your write on freezer labels, or the so-called “freezer labels” have adhesives that deaden when wet or cold, meaning they fall off in your freezer. Isn’t it lovely to have to peel open packages because all the freezer meal labels have fallen off, and you have no idea what the heck is in them? How do you like having to re close the packages after you figure out your latest try is that ancient slice of wedding cake instead of your chicken Parmesan from last week?

Bet you wish your cheapy self adhesive freezer labels were really the waterproof frozen stickers they claimed to be, huh? By now, you may be so frustrated that you’re asking yourself, “Where can I buy freezer labels that actually do what they’re supposed to?!” We hear from people who’ve been fooled by poor quality freezer adhesive labels everyday, and we have to show them that there really is a place to buy freezer labels that do the job right. The proof, they say, is in the pudding; and once they’ve experienced our freezer sheet labels, they know they’ve found the best place to buy freezer labels, period.

We can provide blank write on freezer labels, other freezer sheet labels to be printed using frozen label templates, or custom printed labels for large batches of commercial products. The blank sheet labels go out quickest, but even the ones we print for you will be done quickly and shipped to you by overnight mail.

Isn’t it about time you got some real freezer sheet labels? Why put it off any longer? We eagerly await your request for a quote, and you can be sure we’ll reply ASAP.

Vegans and Violence?

Vegans and ViolenceThough we sympathize with vegans and understand their stance, we also believe in freedom of choice when it comes to whether one eats meat. In fact, Freezer-Labels.com makes some of the best meat labels in the business. It’s just part of our commitment to provide quality freezer labels to the whole food-processing industry.

Vegans are vegetarians who believe in using no animal products at all, from wool for sweaters to leather and meat products, and we salute their dedication to their cause. Their entire philosophy is based on avoiding cruelty and violence to animals. That’s why we were so shocked recently when international news from France reported that some small French butchers have recently been the target of militant vegans who have broken windows and vandalized their shops.

To be clear, these aren’t meat-packers or slaughterhouses we’re talking about. We oppose those places of misery on principal ourselves. Nor are they striking large supermarkets where most people buy their meats. No, these protestors are hitting small family-owned butchers with no real capacity to either defend themselves or strike back. Ironically, it’s these neighborhood shops, with their close-knit clientele and hardworking owners, who obtain meat from dedicated farmers and rangers who slaughter their animals in small numbers, as humanely as possible. In many cases, these markets know exactly when the animals were born, how they were raised, what they were fed, and when they were slaughtered. One butcher featured in a National Public Radio story displayed a fresh, well-inspected side of beef covered with meat labels and stickers proving the meat’s origin. There was even a picture of the cow while alive displayed.

Now, people like this gentleman, who’s been building his business for almost 20 years, are fearful for their livelihoods… and their lives.”Militant vegan” seems a painful oxymoron to those of us with sympathies for the cause. It’s one injury or death away from “terrorist.” Local vegan organizations have condemned the attacks, but of course they can’t control all vegans, nor do they speak for them all.

Within very broad limits, no one has the right to dictate what another person eats. Nature made humans omnivores, able to eat anything. It’s up to individuals to overcome their willingness to eat meat. Gentle persuasion is fine; damaging the livelihoods of small business people and their families is not. In fact, the tactic is likely to backfire.

It may take time to win most people over to veganism, but let’s remember, it’s their choice. We’re happy to keep making meat labels, but if people decide they don’t want them anymore, we can shift to other products easily enough.

But we’ll only do so when people make that choice on their own, not when fear forces them into it. We’ll be adding our voice to the general condemnation of these militant vegans—while hoping no one in America is foolish enough to emulate them.

The Importance of Meat Labels

freezer-meatMeat labels are a relatively recent addition to human civilization, a tool that most people use regularly whenever purchasing food. It should go without saying that in order for food labeling to work, we have to trust it implicitly. In order to gain that trust, most jurisdictions rigorously regulate food products, especially meat and meat labels. But sometimes things go wrong, as demonstrated by a recent case in Bengal Province, India.

In May 2018, police in the city of Kolkata raided a number of meat providers and discovered that they were passing off rotten meat to their customers that had, in many cases, literally been dug out of the garbage! One provider had 20,000 kg (44,000 lbs) worth of rotting carcasses in its freezers, which it was processing and packaging for sale to local restaurants and food stores. In some cases, the processor was using packages with labels from legitimate, well-trusted processors so that those who bought it wouldn’t question its quality. They legitimate processors were not associated with those meat packers in any way. It isn’t clear how the rest of the meat was packages, but obviously the meat labels were falsified—if they had any.

Kolkata restaurants soon reported that sales of meat-based dishes had dropped by up to 60% or more. For a while, people avoided all meat except chicken; then it came to light that some providers were selling rotten chicken too, and the sales of chicken plunged as well. Vegetarian dishes became popular. Two months later, the sales of meat dishes still haven’t risen to normal levels. Meat sales in butcher shops and food stores have also dropped sharply.

Sadly, reporters later learned that food safety in Bengal has been compromised for years, and that the government agency tasked with overseeing food quality, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, was quite aware of this. In 2014-2015, tests of 120 food samples showed that over half of the samples had been adulterated in some way. What the FSSAI had done about the issue, if anything, is still unclear.

The emphasize how bad the situation was, the perpetrators were literally picking up carcasses of dead animals from garbage dumps after they were dropped off. At one landfill, they even had a person on the inside who let them know when someone dumped an animal carcasses. So far, at least ten people have been arrested, and one is missing. Apparently, he fled to neighboring Bangladesh.

Local restaurants and stores have made a concerted effort to check their meats to make sure they bought none from the providers implicated in the scandal. Some have gone so far as to publish the sources of their meats in public forums. However, the tainted meat was definitely sold throughout Kolkata and elsewhere in India, and even abroad; so some of the restaurants and grocers have in fact been feeding it to customers, however unwittingly. How long it will take for the local populace to regain their trust in local restaurants and stores remains to be seen.

The Kolkata scandal emphasizes the importance of high-quality meat labels that follow government standards—and why you should never buy meat products that lack such labels. As annoying as some government labeling requirements may be, the reasons for their existence is clear when something like this happens. We depend on meat packers to be up-front and honest about the quality and freshness of their meats, and to tell us the use-by date. When that trust is violated, it’s hard to know what to think… and all meat becomes suspect.

If it could happen in a cosmopolitan city like Kolkata, it could happen anywhere. So be sure to stick with a top-notch label provider for your top-quality meats, because if your market loses faith in your products, you may never get it back.

The many uses of cryogenic labels

As proud as we are of all our freezer labels, we know that some of them aren’t sufficient for truly deep levels of cold, like those found in cryogenic medical or scientific laboratories. That’s why we also offer a line of cryogenic labels, both blank and printed to your specifications.

These specialty freezer labels are almost as interesting as what they label, being as far beyond our regular frozen vegetables and ice cream labels as those freezer labels are beyond everyday normal-temperature labels. Cryogenics labels must be extremely durable, with cold-fighting materials including a very high-tack adhesive that the cold won’t touch—one that can, in fact, be applied in very low-level temperatures. Ours at Freezer-Labels.com can easily handle temperatures down to -112° F (the freezing point of dry ice, a.k.a. solid carbon dioxide) without slippage or breaking, and can be applied to almost any standard surface at temperatures down to -20° F.

That’s pretty impressive… but what’s really cool is what they’re used for. Scientific equipment, from freezers to test equipment, are common targets; so are the test tubes that go in those freezers. Often, these contain biological materials, like tissue samples and genetic samples. All biological activity ceases at -136˚ C (-213˚ F), and it slows way down prior to that; some samples can be revived, but others are preserved for further study.

Some hopeful people have even elected to be frozen after death, just in case they can be revived and cured of whatever killed them at some time in the future. The oldest known cryogenically frozen person passed away of cancer that had metastasized to his lungs in 1967. At the time, that wasn’t treatable. While it is now, there’s still no guarantee that he could beat it, and in any case we’re not quite sure how to thaw someone out and bring them back to life quite yet. The “antifreeze” this gentleman was injected with at the time was crude, and many of his cells have no doubt ruptured due to ice crystal formation. That said, he’s remained frozen solid for over 50 years. Maybe someday, nanotechnology may help revive him. One thing we do know is that, having been moved several times during his death, he probably has a nice collection of cryogenic labels by now.

Sperm, eggs, and even embryos are also stored in fertility clinics by people who want to have children and have trouble doing so the normal way. Animal samples of the same materials are also frequently frozen for experimental or reproductive reasons. Such samples also need dependable cryogenic labels. As you can imagine, any slippage or loss of tack of such cryogenic labels would be nothing less than catastrophic. These particular freezer labels also need to be able to adhere to all sorts of materials, including steel, aluminum, cold-resistant plastics, glass, and whatever other materials scientists use or may yet invent for cryogenics use.

Very cold temperatures are also effective for studying some electrical reactions in metals. At extremely low temperatures, some materials become electric superconductors, which are crucial to supercomputers and other electronic devices. Until we can reliably produce room-temperature superconductors, the equipment these scientist use will need dependable cryogenic labels.

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