Beer Analysis Tests are Essential to Ensure Consistent Quality and Compliance

If your hobby is home brewing, it’s unlikely that your concerns extend much beyond the taste and ensuring that you have an adequate stockpile at all times. A commercial brewery, however, is obliged to pay more attention to the details of its products, which are required to conform to various regulations governing alcoholic beverages intended for sale to consumers. Whereas complying with such requirements may once have been both a time-consuming and complex process, today, researchers have developed a number of beer analysis tests that are simpler and more reliable, and which can be completed in a fraction of the time that once was necessary.

While the taste and the alcohol contents of a brew are among the most important qualities, the fermentation process results in variable concentrations of additional substances, while others may be added for various purposes. Accordingly, the concentration of these will need to be maintained within certain acceptable limits. Such substances include lactic acids, free amino nitrogen, sulphur dioxide, fermentable sugars, starch, and compounds known as vicinal diketones that, like pH, influence the final taste. Although seemingly subjective, beer analysis tests also measure colour, which is considered important by both brewers and consumers as an assurance of a consistent product.

Testing could, of course, be undertaken by a third-party laboratory, but this means incurring an additional cost, as well as delays while samples are transported, perhaps to join a queue of other products that could lead to undesirable delays in distribution that can impact customer relations and cash flow. What is required is a system with the ability to perform simultaneous analyses on multiple samples, and produce results that are accurate and reproducible with the minimum of delay. In practice, a single system with the ability to perform all of the required beer analysis tests, and which also satisfies these additional and desirable performance parameters is now available.

Among the most significant benefits of this system is that it enables all of the testing to be performed on-site and during any phase of the brewing process. Furthermore, because of its ease of operation, no specialised laboratory experience is required by those required to use it. Given that the results are available for evaluation in a matter of minutes, it means that brewers are able to speed up any key decisions that might arise from the analytical data when prompt action may be indicated.

The system used to perform these rapid beer analysis tests consists of three components, the main one being the analyser, a compact unit which employs state-of-the-art LED emitters to perform its various photometric measurements. To complete the requirements is a kit comprising pre-vialed reagents of low toxicity that are ready to use and designed to prevent accidental contact by the user. Finally, for collection of the fixed volume samples required for testing, a set of graduated pipettes is included.

As with any beverage, the taste and the appearance are important to the consumer, while the alcohol content by volume and the presence of possible allergens must be known and recorded on the bottle. A CDR BEERLab® is the simplest and most reliable system for beer analysis tests, and is available in South Africa from IEPSA.

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