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08 December 2020 | Story Leonie Bolleurs | Photo Supplied
At the BJCP beer judging competition, Dr Errol Cason won Best of Show with his Belgian Saison. Here he is presenting at the AfricaBrew2020 Brewing conference.

Staff and students from the University of the Free State (UFS) once again proved their skills in beer homebrewing when they walked away with one first place and two second places at the 13th annual Anheuser-Busch Inbev (AB-Inbev) – formally South African Breweries (SAB) – intervarsity beer brewing and tasting competition, and the Beer Judging Certification Programme (BJCP) competition held at the AfricaBrew2020 Brewing conference. Both these events took place over the weekend of 27 and 28 November 2020.

Evil Twin Double and Three Sips German 

Competing in the AB-Inbev/SAB Intervarsity brewing and tasting competition, was a group of students from the UFS Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology, consisting of Eduvan Bischoff (PhD student), Elzette van der Walt (MSc student), Culien van der Merwe (MSc student), Gunther Staats (MSc student), and Twyne Skein (MSc student). This team came second in both the Indian Pale Ale (IPA) category with their Evil Twin Double IPA and in the Lager category with their Three Sips German Pils. 

“This is an outstanding accomplishment. Congratulations also go to our fellow Free Stater’s at the Central University of Technology (CUT) for winning the India Pale Ale (IPA) category as well as best overall beer with their New England IPA,” commented Dr Errol Cason, Senior Lecturer in the UFS Department of Animal Science, also representing the liquid yeast company LiquidCulture Yeast.

According to Dr Cason, this SAB-sponsored competition sees students from local universities brew and enter beers for judging, and competing for prizes, including the coveted ‘Best of Show’ trophy. 

“This event also aims to promote beer culture along with responsible drinking, by hosting talks by industry experts where students can interact with commercial brewers, scientists, and marketers,” says Dr Cason. 

The event was hosted by South African Breweries (SAB) and CUT, through the Centre for Applied Food Sustainability and Biotechnology (CAFSaB), in association with the UFS. 

Although the event was moved online in 2020 due to the international pandemic, it did not mean that there was a decline in the quality of presentations, or in the beer entered by universities. – D r Errol Cason

Dr Cason explains that entrants are usually challenged to brew beers according to the 2015 Beer Judge Certification Programme (BJCP) guidelines in lager, IPA, winter warmer, and fruit beer categories. 

“This year included the African Premium Ale and Lockdown Brew categories as well, where teams were mostly left to invent and experiment on their own with a few rules, such as using only indigenous African ingredients or ingredients that were available in supermarkets during lockdown,” says Dr Cason. 

There is also an award for the best bottle dress (label). 

Dr Cason believes that although the event was moved online in 2020 due to the international pandemic, it did not mean that there was a decline in the quality of presentations, or in the beer entered by universities. 

Belgian Saison and Extra Special Bitter

He and Christopher Rothmann, who is busy with a PhD in Biotechnology at the UFS and is co-founder of the company LiquidCulture (LC) Yeast, attended and presented at the AfricaBrew2020 Brewing conference. AfricaBrew is an annual brewing conference specialising in workshops and demonstrations for home and professional brewers. 

Accompanying the conference is a BJCP beer judging competition where all home and professional brewers can enter beers. During this competition, Dr Cason won Best of Show with his Belgian Saison. Rothmann came second with his Extra Special Bitter.

Since LiquidCulture Yeast was found in 2018, this commercial venture has since spun out and are now providing liquid brewing yeast to the homebrewing and commercial brewing industry. Rothmann and Dr Cason are also founding members of the Kovsie Brewery (along with Dr Jan-G Vermeulen and Eduan Hellmuth), which is currently being constructed on the UFS Paradys Experimental Farm facility.

News Archive

Fire as a management tool questionable in arid and semi-arid grassland areas
2015-03-24

Wild fire in the grassland
Photo: Supplied


The influence of fire on the ecosystem in the higher rainfall ‘‘sour’’ grassland areas of southern Africa has been well established. However, less information is available for arid and semi-arid ‘‘sweet’’ grassland areas, says Prof Hennie Snyman, Professor in the Department of Animal, Wildlife, and Grassland Sciences, about his research on the short-term impact of fire on the productivity of grasslands in semi-arid areas.

Sour and sweet grassland areas can be defined as receiving either higher or lower than approximately 600 mm of rainfall respectively. In quantifying the short-term impact of fire on the productivity of grasslands in semi-arid areas, a South African case study (experimental plot data) was investigated.

“Burned grassland can take at least two full growing seasons to recover in terms of above- and below-ground plant production and of water-use efficiency (WUE). The initial advantage in quality (crude protein) accompanying fire does not neutralise the reduction in half of the above-ground production and poor WUE occurring in the first season following the fire.

“The below-ground growth is more sensitive to burning than above-ground growth. Seasonal above-ground production loss to fire, which is a function of the amount and distribution of rainfall, can vary between 238 and 444 kg ha -1 for semi-arid grasslands. The importance of correct timing in the utilisation of burned semi-arid grassland, with respect to sustained high production, cannot be overemphasised,” said Prof Snyman.

In arid and semi-arid grassland areas, fire as a management tool is questionable if there is no specific purpose for it, as it can increase ecological and financial risk management in the short term.

Prof Snyman said: “More research is needed to quantify the impact of runaway fires on both productivity and soil properties, in terms of different seasonal climatic variations. The information to date may already serve as valuable guidelines regarding grassland productivity losses in semi-arid areas. These results can also provide a guideline in claims arising from unforeseen fires, in which thousands of rands can be involved, and which are often based on unscientific evidence.”

For more information or enquiries contact news@ufs.ac.za

 

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