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O-1. Using spectrophotometry to improve the brewing process of smaller craft breweries

Presenter: Rick Blankemeier, Stone Brewing Company, Escondido, CA

With more and more craft breweries opening, the quality and consistency of their beers comes into question. Establishing baseline specifications using simple analytical equipment is essential for maintaining brand and style consistency—even for small craft breweries with limited monetary resources. Establishing baseline specifications for core beer brands is important to carry quality and consistency throughout the growth of brewing capacity. The UV-Vis spectrophotometer is an essential tool to determine empirical specifications of beer and wort. The objective of this presentation is to introduce smaller craft breweries to the UV-Vis spectrophotometer, the cost of running assays, and the cost benefit of utilizing this essential piece of analytical equipment. In addition, this presentation will cover the specifics of bitterness, color, free amino nitrogen, vicinal diketones, oxidative precursors, betaglucans, and polyphenol assays and using those tests to help optimize the brewing process and diagnose issues. Included are studies that smaller craft breweries can use to determine the return on investment of purchasing and utilizing a UV-Vis spectrophotometer in their daily brewing process.

Rick Blankemeier left the world of natural gas process engineering for the realm of craft beer and hasn’t looked back. Rick helped establish the standard operating procedures for QA and QC at Stone, as well as for the barrel and small-batch program. Rick has given presentations and seminars on quality assurance and spectrophotometry at Southern California MBAA technical meetings and the 2013 Craft Brewers Conference. Rick holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He currently works as the quality assurance analyst at Stone Brewing Co., specializing in small-batch and barrel-aged beer.

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