Beer Bitterness and Testing
The predominant source of bitterness in beer is formed by the iso-a acids, derived from acids which are naturally present in the flowers of the female hop plant. With a huge variation in bitterness compounds and perceived differences in bitterness taste, beer bitterness tests have become an essential part of quality control in commercial beer production. Contrary to highly selective methods such as HPLC, the manual iso-octane extraction method is of relative simplicity and recognized as a standard method by the European Brewery Convention and the American Society of Brewing Chemists.
Automatic Determination of Beer Bitterness
The IBULyzer® is an at-line beer analyzer developed by direct demand of the beer industry. The analyzer automates the manual isooctane extraction method for bitterness tests on anumber of sampling points. A cost effective analytical solution, IBULyzer® complements your internal quality control procedures allowing to brew each time that same unique beer, yet with tight control over the IBU/EBU values.
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In order to assess the suitability and facilitate acceptance of an automated method for routine analysis of beer bitterness, the analytical performance of the IBULyzer® was put to the test by a beer company listed as top-3 player in the global beer market. Results were in fine agreement with expected values, indicating the analyzer’s potential for automated bitterness tests.
Several samples with corresponding lab data were supplied by the brewing company enabling us to compare results with the reference lab method. In total 10 different beers, ranging from 8.8 up to 27.8 IBU, were used to assess precision within a single run (repeatability). Results were in fine agreement with the expected values at a RSD (relative standard deviation) of less than 2.2%. Taking into account the relatively large measuring range of the sample set this was indicative of the analyzer’s potential for automated bitterness tests, yet one which does not require special analytical skills. As expected, the test highlighted the importance of careful calibration by means of beers with known reference values, key to obtaining reliable results.
+ Similar with internationally applied manual iso-octane extraction method
+ Bitterness as sum parameter: iso a-acids + other components
+ Excellent accuracy and precision (repeatability)
+ No sample pretreatment necessary (except degassing)
+ Straight-forward operation requiring no specialist analytical skills
+ Low cost of analysis relative to a large number of results
+ Smart features: autocleaning, autocalibration
+ 1, 4 or 8 sampling channels
+ Incorporated industrial panel PC with various remote access options
High Performance Industrial Panel PC
Bridging the gap between laboratory and process, the IBULyzer® is an alternative to highly selective liquid chromatography methods for determination of bitterness units. Yet at the same time the at-line analyzer eliminates systematic errors of the widely used manual iso-extraction method caused by sampling, shaking and liquid handling, while smart features contribute to trouble-free operation.
+ Human Interface
+ Controller database software
+ Analysis sequences
1. Present a degassed sample to the analyzer
2. Absorbance of pure iso-octane is measured
3. Sample is acidified and iso-octane is added in 1:2 ration
4. Extraction is promoted by forced aeration
5. Transfer for absorbance measurement at 275nm
6. Calculation of IBU and reporting of results
7. Cleaning cycle prevents cross-contamination