Presenting Capstone research.
Presenting Capstone research.

Capstone Research: How to Make a Better Tasting Beer

Editor’s Note: Find out more about Capstone at Arcadia University by visiting www.arcadia.edu/seniorcapstone.

The results are in! Data collected from brewing research I completed on campus shows statistically significant differences between the two brewing methods I tested. A taste test that I held for Arcadia faculty, staff, and students (all of legal age of course) also verified this: Participants tasted a more flavorful beer sample when they tasted the beer brewed with my new method.

My efforts have attracted the attention of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas, and my research has been accepted to their annual conference in Chicago in early June. I’m also excited to see how this research will influence my work at Yards Brewing Company, where I’ll be interning for the second summer in a row. After a year of research and jumping through many hoops, it’s great to see all of my hard work yielding results.

The official title of my Capstone Project is the “Effect of the Early Pitching Method on beer composition during the brewing process.” Now, while that does seem a bit complicated, as I explain in a previous post, “Something’s Brewing in Boyer,” it refers to a simple difference in when you introduce yeast into unfermented beer. In order to test whether the timing of “pitching” the yeast actually affects taste and the amount of fusel alcohols (a more solvent-like undesirable element) and esters (a more floral-tasting element), I monitored the beer’s pH and temperature during fermentations and analyzed the beer after bottling. This analysis included testing levels of fusel alcohols using extraction distillation and testing levels of ester types using Gas Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy (GC-MS).

Throughout the process, I have learned the ins and outs of brewing while also completing independent and self-driven research. I only have a few more odds and ends to complete before my quickly approaching graduation date and new adventures in Drexel University’s Master of Food Science program!