Lab Testing and Product Deformulation of Beer

The primary task of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is the proper regulation of beer and wine in the USA. It is responsible for ensuring certain standards are maintained, including the correct labelling of products, and enforcing certain provisions that underpin the Federal Alcohol Administration (FAA) Act. However, the conditions and regulations set by the TTB are just one of many obstacles brewers and product manufacturers operating in the beer industry must overcome.

Image Credit: Jordi Labs

US brewers distributed over 207.4 million barrels of beer in 2017 alone. Recently, the data further illustrates that beer has been the alcoholic beverage of choice for over 40% of consumers for over 16 consecutive years.[1] The sheer size of this market represents both an opportunity and a considerable challenge for brewers. New products enter a market already saturated with some of the most recognized brands on the planet. The challenge is breaking into this market successfully and retaining customer interest by producing a beverage that consistently meets their expectations.

One of the key methods to quantitatively ensure consistency in each batch with regards to flavor and smell is to subject beer products to frequent lab testing. This may be performed against a reference standard, or beers can be deformulated to identify and quantitatively recover undesirable compounds that impair the quality of the end-product.

Lab Testing: How is Beer Deformulated?

Product deformulation relates to any technique in which the individual constituents of a material are separated and identified in isolation from one another. Such methodologies carried out in lab testing environments can be used to discover and quantify unknown elements or contaminants within a product formula that might mitigate market certifications.

To commence the process of quantitative recovery, compounds that are known to transmit specific undesirable qualities to a beverage must first be spiked with the contaminant at known concentrations. Jordi Labs has conducted this ultra-specialized form of lab testing for India Pale Ale (IPA) products utilizing Dynamic Headspace Gas Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy (DHGCMS). These instruments are engineered specifically for trace level volatile analysis with quantitation levels down to the parts per trillion (PPT) level. The instruments utilize progressive heating and continuous purging of samples via an adsorbent filter that holds compounds of interest before migrating them to the mass spectrometry chamber.

This lab testing technique confirmed the capacity to quantitatively recover compounds known to impact the flavor and smell profile of IPA: benzaldehyde which transmits an almond-flavor; and trans-2-nonenal which produces a unsavory cardboard-like taste.

In a novel case study, Jordi Labs revealed the potential for detecting unwanted compounds in beer matrices at levels as low as 50 parts per billion (ppb). This was performed in contrast to an analysis of unspiked IPA overlaid on a comprehensive chromatogram representing peaks of abundance as a function of time. Similar peak profiles, albeit with considerable differences in magnitude, exhibited across both chromatograms, proving the quality of results obtained via DHGCMS.

Lab Testing with Jordi Labs

Jordi Labs specializes in the enhanced performance of state-of-the-art lab testing across a diverse range of consumer products. Jordi is equipped to conduct tailor-made tests with a range of cutting-edge analytical equipment.

[Source: NBWA]

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Jordi Labs.

For more information on this source, please visit Jordi Labs.

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