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Volatile fingerprinting differentiates diverse-aged craft beers

Coelho, Eduardo, Magalhães, Joana, Pereira, Francisco B., Macieira, Filipe, Domingues, Lucília, Oliveira, José M.
Lebensmittel-Wissenschaft + [i.e. und] Technologie 2019 v.108 pp. 129-136
beers, esters, fermentation, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, metabolites, microorganisms, multivariate analysis, principal component analysis, volatile compounds, wood
Beer ageing on wood is a complex and difficult to control process involving several reactions and compounds. Difficulties in understanding the underlying phenomena often lead to empirical and unpredictable processes and heterogeneous products. This work resorts to volatile fingerprinting along with multivariate analysis as tools to differentiate and highlight differences in beers derived from diverse production processes. Volatile composition of beers originating from barrel ageing processes and unaged beer were analyzed by GC-MS. The collected data was processed by principal component analysis, which allowed the evaluation of relations between samples and volatile compounds. Beers were distinguished by clusters comprising different groups of volatiles. Beer with the longest period in barrel was in the cluster with the most volatiles. Beer produced by resident barrel microbiota fermentation was characterized by presence of Brettanomyces sp. metabolites. Beer aged in barrel by a shorter time period showed characteristic content of ethyl esters and oak extractives. Beer produced in inox vat and beer fermented in barrel with pitching of S. cerevisiae appeared in the same cluster, relating with fermentative esters. Volatile fingerprinting was a viable approach to characterize and distinguish the analyzed beers, providing relevant information regarding the impact of production methodologies in volatile composition.