Temperature fluctuations during transportation and storage of beer can result in product that taste stale by the time it reaches the customer. As reported in AZO Materials, through accelerated aging studies, shelf-life of beer can be estimated and monitor the brewing and packaging processes that ensure the quality as well as stability of the product, thereby customers experience the same taste every time they buy.
Growing competition in beer and bottled beverage markets and with consumers increasingly developing sophisticated taste, microbreweries and craft beer are gaining high popularity in the recent times. However, it has been a challenge for brewers to incessantly produce high-quality beer that meet customer demands. One of the major challenges is to keep the beers fresh throughout its storage and transportation. Although the brewers spend a lot of time, money and energy in developing the brewing process that produce consistent beer with great taste, unpredictable temperature conditions during its transportation may impact its taste.
Shelf-life of Beer Aging and Staling: A Complex Process
The beer shelf-life depends on the stability of color, flavor, foam, colloidal, and microbiological properties. Earlier, growth of microorganisms caused beer to spoil, representing a challenge to maintain its taste for longer, but advances in brewing technology have curbed such problems. Now, the brewers are making efforts to prevent changes in aroma and taste of the beer.
Many suggests that stale-tasting beer could be the result of degradation in aroma molecules along with development of ‘cardboard flavors’ which develops over time due to increase in temperature.
Aging and staling of beer involves various complex chemical as well as biological reactions which are difficult to control. Proper packaging may reduce the impact of temperature fluctuations to some extent, but determining the shelf-life requires a comprehensive oversight on the effects of aroma molecules in beer during storage conditions.
Accelerated Aging Studies to Determine Stability and Shelf-life of Beer
In order to gain insights on beer aging and staling, brewers can perform accelerated aging studies. It involves of cycling of bottled beer though variations in temperature, to facilitate environmental fluctuations the product may face during storage and transportation. The brewers can then evaluate the effects of temperature fluctuations on the taste, aroma, and chemical composition of the beer. Accelerated aging studies can also inform the changed needed in the brewing process to prevent staling, estimate product life and offer routine measures of consistency and quality.
Accelerated Aging Studies Need Efficient Temperature Control
The process typically involves beer samples exposure to a range of temperatures between 5 and 40 degree Celsius. Informative aging studies need technology to provide accurate control and efficient cycling of temperature. In addition, temperature control technologies adopted by brewing companies must be efficient, reliable, easy to use, cost-effective, and sufficient capacity for a number of bottles at a time.
Temperature control technologies used for accelerated aging studies include ovens, heated rooms, refrigerators, and water baths. According to AZO Materials, for conducting accelerated aging studies, the PolyScience 75L refrigerated circulating bath is one of the great options. It can refrigerate as well as heat samples of bottled beer, and offers enough space to test multiple beers at a time.