Beer chemistry - Articles and news items
Featured news • 18 August 2016 • Shimadzu Europa GmbH
Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Europe. In Germany, beer enjoys a particularly high status due to the German Beer Purity Law of 1516 (the “Reinheitsgebot”), which uniquely defines the ingredients of beer to be hops, malt, yeast and water…
Industry news • 25 May 2016 • Victoria White, Digital Content Producer
Chemists have developed a method that allows brewers to measure the freshness of beer, using a polymer sensor that changes colour upon detecting furfural…
Whitepapers • 29 October 2015 • CAMO Software AS
Find out how SABMiller has been using CAMO’s Unscrambler® software to get deeper insights into product development, branding and consumer segmentation…
Industry news • 26 June 2015 • Victoria White
A group of experts from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have characterised sahti beer for the first time…
Issue 5 2012 • 6 November 2012 • Charles W. Bamforth, Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting & Brewing Sciences at UC Davis
It has variously been estimated that there are between 1,000 and 2,000 different chemical species in beer, probably twice as many as are present in wine. It is an extraordinarily complex liquid. Not all of those chemical components make a substantial contribution to the quality of beer, but many do. And brewers strive to control that chemistry, so that every drop of a given brand of beer is fit for purpose – in other words it delivers the same excellent quality glass by glass.
The chemical composition of beer is determined by the raw materials of brewing and by changes that occur during the malting and brewing processes.
Quantitatively, by far the major component of all beers (except a couple of latter day products with ludicrous alcohol levels exceeding 50 per cent alcohol by volume, ABV) is water. Most beers are at least 90 per cent water. Ethanol weighs in next, with most beers worldwide being within the range four to six per cent ABV (which equates to approximately 3.2 – 4.7 per cent alcohol by weight, the specific gravity of ethanol being 0.79). And then there is carbon dioxide, CO2, which might be as low as 2g/L in traditional English cask-conditioned ale or in excess of 7g/L in a hefeweissen.
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