Keeping beer fresh longer

April 13, 2011

Researchers are reporting discovery of a scientific basis for extending the shelf life of beer so that it stays fresh and tastes good longer. For the first time, they identified the main substances that cause the bitter, harsh aftertaste of aged beer and suggest that preventing the formation of these substances could help extend its freshness. Their findings appear in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Thomas Hofmann and colleagues point out that beer can develop an unpleasant, bitter aftertaste as it ages. Unlike , scotch whiskey, and bourbon, beer tastes best when consumed fresh. Experts estimate that the average beer goes bad after 6 to 12 months of storage. Scientists have identified several dozens of the key bitter-tasting substances formed during beer manufacturing — mostly so-called "prenylated polyketides" derived from hops. Until now, however, nobody had solid information about the bitter substances that form as beer ages.

The scientists analyzed a variety of commercial beers both before and after storage. They identified 56 substances that contribute to beer's bitter taste, including five that appear to be largely responsible for its harsh flavor after aging. "The present study offers the scientific basis for a knowledge-based extension of the shelf life of the desirable beer's bitter taste and the delay of the onset of the less preferred harsh aftertaste by controlling the initial pH value of the and by keeping the temperature as low as possible during of the final beverage," the study concludes.

Explore further: Food peptides activate bitter taste receptors

Related Stories

Food peptides activate bitter taste receptors

January 22, 2008

Researchers from the Monell Center and Tokyo University of Agriculture have used a novel molecular method to identify chemical compounds from common foods that activate human bitter taste receptors.

Keeping beer fresher

June 2, 2008

Scientists in Venezuela are reporting an advance in the centuries-old effort to preserve the fresh taste that beer drinkers value more than any other characteristic of that popular beverage. Their study, which identifies ...

Scientists to study one of world's oldest beers

February 8, 2011

In the summer of 2010 in the Aland archipelago, divers retrieved well-preserved bottles of champagne and five bottles of beer from the wreck of a ship that likely sank during the first half of 1800s. VTT Technical Research ...

Recommended for you

Findings illuminate animal evolution in protein function

July 27, 2015

Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Richmond researchers recently teamed up to explore the inner workings of cells and shed light on the 400–600 million years of evolution between humans and early animals ...

New polymer able to store energy at higher temperatures

July 30, 2015

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers at the Pennsylvania State University has created a new polymer that is able to store energy at higher temperatures than conventional polymers without breaking down. In their paper published ...

How to look for a few good catalysts

July 30, 2015

Two key physical phenomena take place at the surfaces of materials: catalysis and wetting. A catalyst enhances the rate of chemical reactions; wetting refers to how liquids spread across a surface.

Yarn from slaughterhouse waste

July 29, 2015

ETH researchers have developed a yarn from ordinary gelatine that has good qualities similar to those of merino wool fibers. Now they are working on making the yarn even more water resistant.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

NotAsleep
not rated yet Apr 13, 2011
This it not a discovery... it's been known throughout the beer world for a long, long time

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.