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First batch of astro-beer brewed and ready for testing
By Simon Leo Brown
Australian space beer ready for micro-gravity test
An Australian brewery has completed the first batch of what might be the most niche beer to be made to date - a beer designed to be drunk in space.
4 Pines Brewing Company is working with space engineers to create a beer to be drunk on commercial space tourist flights starting next year.
"Batch number one is good to go, and it is tested for the first time on humans over in Florida next Saturday," says brewer Jaron Mitchell.
So what is necessary for a space beer? A strong taste, for a start.
"In space your whole entire face, including your tongue, swells," says Jaron. "It becomes a lot harder to taste things in space."
"With all the swelling all of your taste buds become almost a bit numb, in a way," he says.
"Astronauts have been known for years to throw handfuls of salt and bottles on Tabasco sauce on their meals."
Jaron says they're fairly certain that if space tourists were served a regular beer they would not be able to taste it.
"So we're looking for a big full bodied beer," he says. "Were actually starting with our stout to [try to] cut through that lack of sensitivity."
Another problem with regular beer is that it can cause burping, which in space can get pretty messy.
"The second thing that can happen in space is what's called wet burp," says Jaron.
"On earth when you burp, due to the gravity that's acting on your stomach, the gas and the liquid separate," he says.
"However in space... the gas and the liquid can both come up during a burp."
This means a space beer must be low in carbonation.
Beyond the challenges of creating a beer that humans can drink and enjoy in space, the Manly based brewer is also grappling with the issue of how much of it to serve.
"We're trying to work out what laws will actually apply when it comes to responsible service of alcohol up there," says Jaron.
Jaron Mitchell spoke to Red Symons on 774 ABC Melbourne Breakfast.