It's a beer world after all!
Thanks for all the positive feedback I've been getting about this column.  There are so many great stories about
beer culture on this website I thought talking about some of the aspects of brewing might be just a bit different
and interesting.  So far so good it seems  If you ever want to see this column go in a different direction please
let me know and I'll focus on it.  After all, it's all about beer and that's a good thing!

Smut is among the most prevalent barley diseases and can be found anywhere the grain is grown. The flowering
heads of affected plants are covered by sporing structures of the fungi Ustilago nuda (loose smut) or Ustilago
hordei (covered smut). These appear as either olive or dark brown spore masses, respectively, and are easily
dispersed to spread the disease through the crop.

Some smut spores are covered, that is, contained within a membrane. These are less likely to be dispersed until
harvest time when mechanical agitation from the harvesting machinery may release them into the air.

Dispersed spores can infect the developing seeds of adjacent plants by penetrating the seed embryos during
their development. Smut is a very pernicious disease, and early infections tend to spread systemically through
the entire plant, penetrating most of its parts during the growth cycle. Infected plants may appear normal until
the seed head emerges.

In the seed head smut destroys the embryo and leaves only a small amount of plant tissue intact. The result is
a catastrophic effect on yield. A variety of fungicides are effective against the disease, but proper crop rotation
and the sowing of uninfected seeds can break the cycle from one harvest to the next..


Mouthfeel is an important part of tasting beer.  It can be defined as the textural attributes of beer, those which
produce a tactile sensation in the mouth. The sensations associated with mouthfeel are physical qualities of beer
and should be considered a major attribute when evaluating beer, along with aroma and flavor. There are three
key attributes recognized in the perception of mouthfeel: carbonation, fullness, and aftertaste.

Carbonation is often the first attribute perceived in the mouth. It is felt as a particular sting or tingle that is linked to
the amount of carbon dioxide in a beer. Bubble size and foam volume, too, are related to carbon dioxide. Beers
pressurized with large volumes of nitrogen have a tight foam and tiny bubbles, which produce a creamy mouthfeel.

Fullness refers to the perceived weight and flow resistance of a beer while it is being consumed. Terms used to
describe fullness are density and viscosity. These are sensations associated with the body of the beer. Beers that
seem to lack proper fullness might be described as “thin,” whereas very full-bodied beers can range from “round”
all the way up to “syrupy.”

Aftertaste, the final attribute of mouthfeel, is an integral part of a beer’s finish. It is associated with the lasting
sensations recognized in the mouth. Such attributes as stickiness, astringency, dryness, bitterness, oiliness, or
mouth-coating characteristics can leave a well-defined afterfeel that may linger. Although not well understood,
mouthfeel is strongly influenced by a beer’s raw materials and brewing techniques.

Hope you found this month's column of interest.  If you have any questions about beer or brewing
or just want to submit a word for me to discuss here just
e-mail it to me.

Thanks and Cheers!
Smut - Barley Disease //  Mouthfeel - Essential In Tasting
A new column by
Jack O'Reilly
Jack O'Reilly attended the
famous Siebel Institute/ World
Brewing Academy in Chicago.
I'm very excited to be part of the BeerNexus team.  I think my many years in the
beer business both as a brewer and manger will enable me to explain and
investigate many topics of interest for those who really love craft beer. Hope you
join me every month.  
More by Jack: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #!2