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THE LANGUAGE OF BEER


Inch - epaper ⋅ Ausgabe 3/2019 vom 05.09.2019

According tothe Reinheitsgebot from 1516 the ingredientsfor brewingbeer may be strictly limited, but optimizing and varying the brewing processes and methods is, even after 500 years, an on-going process. Today, scientists at the Institute for Brewing and BeverageTechnology at the Technical University of Munich use microscopes and the latest innovative research to perfect the enjoymentof beer.


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Gemäß dem Reinheitsgebot von 1516 mag die Auswahl der Zutaten für das Brauen von Bier äußerst begrenzt sein, doch die Optimierung und Abwandlung des eigentlichen Brauprozesses ist selbst nach 500 ...

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... Jahren ein aktives Forschungsfeld. Heute nutzen die Wissenschaftler am Institut für Brau- und Getränketechnologie der TU München Mikroskope und die neusten Forschungsmethoden, um den Biergenuss zu perfektionieren.


Christoph Neugrodda picks up his empty glass from the table,tilts it at a 45-degreeangle and starts topour . As he watches the liquid fill the glass, he shakes his head and laughs. “These days, I pour water just like beer – my job has definitelyrubbed off on me,” he says, placing thebottled water back on the table.Mistaking a water glass for asnifter is anoccupational hazard for Christoph Neugrodda. He is a scientist at the Institute for Brewing and Beverage Technology, part of the Technical University of Munich. As head of the researchbrewery located on the hills of theformer Weihenstephanmonastery about 40 kilometres outside of Munich, he has spent the past six years perfecting beerfoam .

Driving up thesteep roads to the brewery, you alreadysuspect that you will not find traditional research labs andlecture halls behind the thick stone wallssurrounding the institute. The theory and practice of brewing beer have long been part of thecurriculum . Visitors can see this as they make their way through the different rooms at the Institute for Brewing and Beverage Technology. Here knowledge about beer and its production has been handed down from one generation ofbrewers to the next since 1865.

Christoph Neugrodda walks past thepennants and flagsadorning thestairwells within theancient walls. The numerous additions to the structure over the years have turned walking through this historic site into an adventure with manyliteral twists and turns. Neugrodda stops in the foyer outside the lecture hall.

“This is ourtaproom . Our departmentconvenes here regularly for research meetings,” he says with a smile. Discussions about ground-breaking research are not what you would expect in a space like this. He rests hiselbows on the polished woodencounter with four differenttaps . His eyes wandergleefully over to thefoosball table in the corner and the various beer advertisements from past decades hanging on the walls.Yet, a look at the beers listed on the board behind the bar immediately makes it clear that brewing is very much a science. Christoph Neugrodda’s enthusiasm for his work ispalpable .

“Brewing is the oldest biotechnology out there, and it requires a lot more know-how than theaverage beer drinker would suspect,” he says. “We’re working on an extremely complex product at our research brewery.Currently , more than 3,000 chemicalcompounds have been identified in beer, and more are still beingdiscovered . Theopportunities are immense.”

THE QUEST FOR THE PERFECT FOAM

For his dissertation, Neugrodda is focusing on different types of beer foam. Foam gives beer itsbubbly taste , whether as a creamy head on astout like Guinness or a thicker layer on a traditional German pilsner. “Foam creates a natural diffusion barrier, keeping the beer fresh for longer.Moreover , each type of foam has its own aroma. However, you’ll only notice this once you take asip . Not drinking the foam with the rest of your beer directly affects theflavour ,” explains Neugrodda.

Researchers at the Institute for Brewing and Beverage Technology in Weihenstephan are working on a wide variety of projectsrelated to beer. Magdalena Müller joined the institute in 2013 and is writing her dissertation on alcohol-free beers – a trendy subject with a lot of potential. By 2025, the leading breweriesaim to generate around 20% of theirrevenue from low-alcohol beers. “Companies have keptraising the bar for alcohol-free beer over the past several years,” says Müller as she and Neugrodda walk across the Weihenstephan campus.

A little further down the hill, the modern research building that houses the six-meter-highdealcoholization system is located directly across from the historic institution and monastery. “Alcohol and the high concentration of certainflavouring agents in normal beer canmask anyunpleasant aromas. Since these flavours are missing in alcohol-free versions, top-quality ingredients are a must.”

For his dissertation, Christoph Neugrodda is looking into beer foam: “Not drinking the foam with the rest of your beer directly affects the flavor.”


Microscopes and high-tech instruments are used to assess the quality of the beer, measure the sugar content and other variables.


< PHOTOS & GRAPHIC: ZEISS >

The researchers work with high-tech instruments toassess the quality of the ingredients. “A brewer’s most important tool is aspindle to measure the sugarcontent and a microscope to assess the quality of theyeast ,” says Neugrodda. The reason: the “German BeerPurity Law”, or Reinheitsgebot, onlypermits natural ingredients, and the quality of yeast can vary just like any othercrop . “The freshness of the yeast directly affects the beer and the foam. If a brewer is having difficulties with the foam, then the yeast is usually toblame .”

Magdalena Müller knows that quality problems with the yeast also affect different types of alcohol-free beer. “There The researchers work with high-tech instruments toassess the quality of the ingredients. “A brewer’s most important tool is aspindle to measure the sugarcontent and a microscope to assess the quality of theyeast ,” says Neugrodda. The reason: the “German BeerPurity Law”, or Reinheitsgebot, onlypermits natural ingredients, and the quality of yeast can vary just like any othercrop . “The freshness of the yeast directly affects the beer and the foam. If a brewer is having difficulties with the foam, then the yeast is usually toblame .” Magdalena Müller knows that quality problems with the yeast also affect different types of alcohol-free beer. “There

THE ART OF BREWING

Brewers and brewing engineersconsider the brewing process to be an art thatemploys different methods andrecipes to balance outfluctuations in yeast quality. While Neugrodda and Müller walk back across the campuslawn to the historic building housing the institute, Neugrodda describes the moment when the ingredients and process technology are perfectly balanced to produce anoutstanding beer. “Ultimately, beer is far more than just a product. Anincredible amount ofeffort andcare go into making it over the course of the lengthy brewing process.” This requires months of work, starting withcrushing thebarley malt all the way through to the final filtration. “When someone says, ‘Wow, that’s a great beer!’ I feel as if someone just bought a piece of art I created.”

Magdalena Müller conducts research into non-alcoholic beers at the Institute of Brewing and Beverage Technology in Weihenstephan. The six-meter-long dealcoholization system is used to extract the alcohol from the beer.


THE BREWING PROCESS

The first step in thebrewing process is togrind thebarley (1). Thegrain husks remain intact.

The brewer then mixes water with thegrist in themash tun, where it is heated at different temperatures. (2) This mixing process is known asmashing . It activates enzymes that transform non-soluble starches into soluble sugars.

Since the brewer only needs the liquid part of the mash, he extracts it in alauter tun to end up withwort (3).

Then thehops are added to the liquid wort in thewort receiver (4). Thecones from thisvine -like plant are used to produce beer. The quantity and type of hopdetermines how bitter the beer will be. The brewerboils the mixture for about an hour.

The product is then pumped into awhirlpool tank where any remaining solid particles are removed from the wort (5).

Prior to fermentation , aheat exchanger ensures the right temperature for the liquid (pitching temperature ). At this

stage, theyeast is added to the wort, a process known asyeast pitching (6). A beer that hasfermented in afermentation tank is called a young beer. The yeast transforms thedissolved sugar from themalt intocarbon dioxide and alcohol (7). The brewer must remove the yeast thatsettles at the bottom of the fermentation tank.

The young beer is cooled down to a near-freezing temperature and then pumped intostorage tanks where it will remain for up to three months (8). This step iscrucial because the storage process rounds off thetaste , breaks down the remaining sugar and binds the carbon dioxide molecules in the beer.

During filtration, the brewer removes the remainingsediment ortrub so that only a clear “bright beer” remains (9).

The beer is then filled into bottles,kegs or cans. (10)

Back at the taproom, the researcher and qualified brewer stands behinds the bar and is about to pour a Premium Hell from the tap. Is brewing really an art? “When brewers and brewery engineers talk aboutrefining ,mashing orwort , hardly anyone knows what we’re talking about. We speak our own language,” says Neugrodda as he turns his attention to pouring. You cannot help but notice the big smile on his face. “And every type of art has its own language.” He then places the glass at a 45-degree angle underneath the running tap. This time, Christoph Neugrodda nods and lookssatisfied as the bubbly liquid fills the glass.

Dieser Beitrag ist ursprünglich als Zeiss Story erschienen. Er wird hier mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Carl Zeiss AG veröffentlicht. Der Originalbeitrag findet sich unter:

https://stories.zeiss.com/en/the-language-of-beer

http://lbgt.wzw.tum.de

Der Lehrstuhl für Brau- und Getränketechnologie an der TU München mit weiteren Informationen zur Bierforschung.

www.zeiss.de/mikroskopie/home.html

Zeiss Mikroskope ermöglichen nicht nur bei Bier einen genauen Blick.

www.weihenstephaner.de

Im bayerischen Weihenstephan findet sich nicht nur das im Artikel beschriebene Institut, sondern auch die nach eigener Aussage älteste Brauerei der Welt.

Links, Vokabeln & mehr unterwww.inchbyinch.de/inch22/brewing

What looks like a pub is actually part of the Institute for Brewing and Beverage Technology; it’s used as its unofficial meeting room.


TECH EXTRAS