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Identification of marker volatiles in malt to predict malt-derived aroma properties of bottom-fermented beers - WINNER OF LUDWIG-NARZISS-AWARD 2022
M. Féchir, T. Kraus-Weyermann and J. Voigt

It is commonly known the malt composition for brewing significantly affects beer sensory properties. Besides the common kilned malt, specialty malts like caramel or roasted malts are often added to produce beers with a range of unique aroma and color properties. However, it has not yet been systematically studied, in what way different malt types quantitatively impact specific beer aroma properties. One pale malt, two caramel malts and two roasted malts were selected to produce five different bottom fermented beers. HS-trap-GC-MS was used to identify volatiles which were correlated with specific beer aroma properties, as judged by a sensory panel. The analysis identified 2-ethyl-3,5-dimethylpyrazine, furan-2-carbaldehyde, hexanal, 2-methylbut-2-enal, pentan-1-ol and 2-pentylfuran as suitable marker volatiles in malt to predict malt-derived beer aroma properties that can be described with attributes like toffee, honey, chocolate, vanilla or biscuit. Statistical analysis revealed strong correlations between ten specific beer aroma attributes and these six marker volatiles in malts. Thus, we suggest this approach as an efficient and relatively simple method to improve quality management and product design in the brewing and malting industry and to partially replace resource-intensive trial-and-error testing in pilot plant scale.

Descriptors: specialty barley malt, HS-trap-GC-MS, malt marker volatiles, beer aroma prediction, beer sensory

BrewingScience, 74 (January February), pp. 17-26