Analytical Chemistry of Beer and Brewing

March 4, 2020

In this afternoon session, recent developments in analytical chemistry approaches to ingredients used in beer, monitoring of the brewing process, and evaluation of beers are presented. The invited session, presided over by Bruce Hamper of the University of Missouri, St. Louis, will be held in Room 183B.

The analysis of beer and precursors in the brewing process is critical for achieving consistency and desired taste profiles of these popular alcoholic beverages. With the advent of numerous small scale brewers, there is a need for analytical chemists to help brewers understand what is in their tanks and maintain consistency of final product. In this afternoon session, recent developments in analytical chemistry approaches to ingredients used in beer, monitoring of the brewing process, and evaluation of beers are presented. The invited session, presided over by Bruce Hamper of the University of Missouri, St. Louis, will be held in Room 183B.

Matt McCarroll of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale begins the session with an examination of the coevolution of the analytical and brewing sciences, with a look to the future. Following a brief discussion of the history of beer and fermented beverages, the presentation will focus on a consideration the impacts of science and chemistry on the brewing industry, as well as how problems in the brewhouse have led to discovery and scientific development throughout the past few centuries. The latter part of the presentation will detail the ongoing need for well-trained scientists in the brewing and fermentation industries.

Next, Scott Lafontaine of the University of California discusses the uncovering and utilization of the hidden potential of aroma hops to make more sustainable hop-forward beers. Several studies have shown that a better understanding of the chemical composition of aroma hops might help brewers create more sustainable hop-forward beers by outlining how to best utilize different varieties throughout the brewing process. By utilizing LC–MS/MS techniques that allow for the direct measurement of these precursors, Lafontaine will reveal a more accurate look into how to use hops to their optimal aroma potential.

A comparison of beer bitterness using rapid multiple injections in a single experimental run (MISER) LC–MS analysis of hop-derived humulone constituents and sensory evaluation will be presented by Kurt Driesner of The Urban Chestnut Brewing Company. With the advent of late hopping and dry hop routines, modern craft beers often contain significant amounts of humulones (or a-acids) and oxidized derivatives which also absorb in the UV region. As a result, measurement of international bittering units (IBU) by UV absorption can be significantly obscured by these additional, hop derived components. Furthermore, addition of other spices to beer can also result the absorbance obscuring the UV region used of determination of IBU. 

After a short recess, Mark Yocum, technical director at Anheuser-Busch, discusses a brewmaster's approach to analytical chemistry, analysis, quality, and taste. How does the world largest brewing company ensure that its consumer's expectations continue to be exceeded? How do they continue to create new and exciting brands for an ever changing consumer landscape? How do you take an iconic brand like Budweiser, produce it in nearly 70 locations around the globe, and ensure that those same quality standards that built it into the King of Beers can be repeated in location after location? Yocum reveals how Anheuser-Busch has been able to utilize a disciplined and uncompromising approach to all aspects of production, including that of their control systems, analytical analysis, inline instrumentation, and their detailed technical center support. 

The symposium concludes with a discussion concerning the analysis of hop compounds in beer, presented by John Paul Maye, the technical director of Hopsteiner, a global hops supplier. Developing analytical methods, primarily HPLC, to measure the various hop compounds in hops and beer will be discussed.