Analysis Request – Beer
Beer is a complex blend of over 450 compounds produced throughout the multistage brewing process. Although primarily made of the four main ingredients: water, hops, yeast and barley malt numerous flavour-active compounds are present at a wide range of concentrations contributing to the delicate balance of beer. This results in brewers being faced with the challenge of producing products of a consistent flavour and maintaining that flavour balance for as long as possible in the finished product. The only way to ensure both the quality and consistency of your beer is through testing.
The beer brewing process is a long and intensive process involving malting, milling, hop addition and boiling, fermentation, aging and maturing, with different chemical analyses being required at the different stages. pH, however, plays a critical role throughout all of these processes while specific gravity comes into play when wanting to monitor the progress of your brewing process. To name a few finished products would require turbidity, alcohol, and dissolved oxygen testing.
The pH value of beer is of considerable importance with higher pH beers ultimately having an undesirable effect on the palate. Hop utilization, efficiency of the brewing process and equipment, and tracking of your fermentation are all reasons for tracking changes in your beer’s specific gravity. In terms of shelf-life and stability dissolved oxygen and turbidity are useful tools in ensuring beers of a consistent quality and flavour are produced.
pH should be measured the most frequently throughout every stage of the brewing process, whereas, when using a tried and tested method specific gravity can be measured weekly. However, when signs of fermentations are slowing it is recommended to measure the specific gravity and the dissolved oxygen daily. Prior to packaging analyses would only be required to take place once.
pH should be monitored carefully throughout the mash, boil and fermentation of the beer as all of these processes have an impact on the final pH of the beer. While during fermentation dissolved oxygen and colour are good indications of quality, followed by turbidity in the maturation and filtration stage of the brewing process. Prior to packaging the focus can shift to dissolved carbon dioxide, international bitterness units, alcohol, and diacetyl.
Whether you are a home brewer or a Brewmeister having the insight into making exceptional beer starts at knowing and understanding the chemistry of your product throughout the entire process.