It's a Trapp!

February 3, 2011

The Column

The Column, The Column-01-24-2011, Volume 7, Issue 1

To protect the unique trappist brews, a programme funded by the European Commission has attempted to develop methods that would identify the real thing.

Trappist beers are brewed by monasteries in Belgium and The Netherlands. These brewhouses have existed across Europe since the Middle Ages, but only seven remain active. Authentic Trappist beer is brewed within the walls of one of these monasteries, with profits going to charity. However, the popularity of the beers has led other brewers to trade on the name and imagery associated with abbey-style beers. To protect the unique brews, a programme funded by the European Commission has attempted to develop methods that would identify the real thing; the findings were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.1

The study assessed the use of LC–MS profiling and multivariate data analysis to identify a selected Trappist beer from 232 others. Fingerprints for the beers were developed and classified and according to the study the selected beer was clearly distinguished from beers of different brands. Further analysis of the fingerprints identified the most distinctive variables, which were reported to be sufficient for classification of the beers even in a simplified, unsupervised model. The researchers concluded that the results can easily be applied to different matrices and confirm the effectiveness of LC–MS profiling in combination with multivariate data analysis for the characterization of food products.

1. E. Mattarucchi et al., J. Agric. Food Chem., 58(23), 12089–12095 (2010).

This story originally appeared in The Column. Click here to view that issue.