FlavorActiV and Bruker partner on beer flavor stability

The Flavor Stability e-scan Beer-Analyzer EPR instrument

FlavorActiV and Bruker Corporation have partnered to help breweries improve flavor stability.

The Flavor Stability Package combines Bruker’s e-scan electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) technology with process application training, consumables supply and results interpretation.

It delivers calibrations, reagents, process sampling know-how and alignment of shelf life panels with EPR results.

A combination of taste panels, oxygen process meters, and sulfur dioxide (SO2) testing are common methods to assess beer flavor stability. 

However, they do not allow brewers to understand how stages of the brewing process, new materials, plant design and operating procedures impact flavor stability.

Changing from common methods involves one week of installation and training of the Flavour Stability Package which can be applied to new and existing e-scan beverage customers.

The firms met two years ago in Russia at a beer industry event and announced the partnership at the World Brewing Congress in Denver.

Flavor stability equals freshness

Richard Boughton, CEO FlavorActiV, said the package is available globally and could be used as a process optimisation tool.

“Flavor stability equals freshness and hence it is possibly the most important quality parameter to continually optimise through daily measurements which correlate with taste panels predicting shelf life. Every beverage brand owner wants their drink to continue to taste fresh for as long as possible,” he said.

“Benefits are performance consistency and repeatability which enables the user to understand and act on where flavor stability can be improved in process and materials.”

Boughton said it was necessary for every beverage plant to have a taste panel.

“Breweries have taste panels at various stages to predict shelf life. The panel is trained on oxidation-related flavors, oxidation is one term there are a multitude of flavors,” he said.

“Now, we only start to look when beer is in the final package and even then it is relatively subjective, you want to identify areas of improvement earlier in the process. In the brewing process you need to understand and appreciate critical points where quality is impaired, we work with customers to identify where risk is found.

“[The partnership] allows FlavorActiV to make sure Bruker technology is applied properly and allows us to move from not just identifying but to find out where the issue is and to how to improve.

“EPR as a technology is not new, it has been around 15 years, and has been applied in the period, it is like anything you find ways to improve. What we are doing is driving the process which will lead to further operations and environments where it is operated.

“Marrying the instrument with human sensory is getting the best out of the connection. It will not replace the panel but it can take on some topics, especially at the beginning. A human identifies aroma and tastes, it is a balance between the instrument and the panel.”

Boughton added it was focussed on beer but there was an opportunity with other beverages as the presence of oxygen in most drinks is not desirable.

Bruker said there are more than 100 Flavor Stability e-scan Beer-Analyzer EPR instruments installed in breweries worldwide.

FlavorActiV has beverage sensory systems that combine taste panel skills and instrument capabilities.

The sensory professionals train better tasters to identify oxidation and predict shelf life helping to ensure quality and consistent beverages reach the market.

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