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O-26. Constructing beer quality

Presenter: Alastair Pringle, Pringle-Scott LLC.

Beer quality can be defined in many ways, including fitness for consumption, conformance to specification, and sensory quality. New breweries are confronted with the daunting task of having to design a quality program to meet these criteria. Several approaches can be used to develop a new quality program, such as 1) adoption of one from an established brewery; 2) development of one based on current capabilities; or 3) development of one from basic principles. This paper describes how to develop a quality program using the latter approach. A quality program should address quality from three aspects: 1) health and safety; 2) nutritional characteristics; and 3) sensory profiles of the beer brands. Sensory is not defined by regulations and formal programs, unlike the first two aspects of quality. The first step in developing a program that addresses sensory quality is to identify the beer parameters that are important to the brewer and customer. The next step is to identify how these parameters can be measured and establish their acceptable limits. Following these efforts, the control points for the quality parameters should be identified and a strategy developed for controlling them through automatic or manual means. Finally, control point limits should be established together with an action plan to address situations when they are operating outside of these limits. Management of sensory quality is then primarily controlled at the process level, unlike a traditional quality program. In this approach, in-line measurement and operating parameters are used as predictors of beer quality parameters, thus providing real-time control, while the measurement of beer quality parameters is used to audit the process.

Alastair Pringle’s first job was working in an English pub. His interest in brewing motivated him to acquire undergraduate and graduate degrees in microbiology. Alastair joined Anheuser-Busch Inc. in 1984 following five years of post-doctoral experience in the Unite States and two years as a visiting professor at UCLA. At Anheuser-Busch he held a number of technical management positions, including director of brewing research, in both corporate R&D, and brewing technical services. He has worked on all aspects of brewing, including malting, mashing, fermentation, finishing, and new product development. He is currently principal at Pringle-Scott LLC, a science based consulting company that serves the fermentation and food industries. Alastair is also an associate instructor at Maryville University in St. Louis, MO, where he teaches microbiology.