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P-61. A review of the cost analysis of iso-octane regeneration for re-use in beer bitterness analysis

Presenter: Benjamin T. Bailey, Troegs Brewing Co., Hershey, PA

The cost of purchasing and properly disposing of iso-octane (2,2,4-trimethylpentane) for testing bitterness in beer is considerable. It is by far the most expensive reagent used in the ASBC beer bitterness test. The method of regeneration described by Schild and Weyh in 1963 can regenerate isooctane to the purity required for bitterness analysis in a modern brewery. Using their method of regeneration, savings can be realized almost immediately by any lab or brewery performing IBU analysis. In a lab that runs 10 bitterness tests/ day following the ASBC method, a return on the investment in required equipment can be realized as quickly as eight months. When the costs of proper disposal of this hazardous chemical are considered, significant savings can be realized in less than eight months. By clarifying iso-octane through the column two times, it was possible to confirm that the IBU tests done with regenerated iso-octane are as accurate as those done with HPLC-grade iso-octane purchased from a chemical supplier. The beers tested during this trial ranged from 5.2 to 74.3 IBU, confirming the effectiveness of this method across a large range of beer styles.

Benjamin Bailey has been an MBAA member since 2010. His paper “The Influence of Hop Harvest Date on Hop Aroma in Dry-Hopped Beers” received the Inge Russell Best Paper Award in 2010. He received a B.A. degree in German from the University of Texas in Austin in 2000. After a three year apprenticeship at Live Oak Brewing Co. in Austin, TX, he enrolled at the University of Munich at Weihenstephan, graduating as a diploma master brewer in 2008. He then worked as a quality assurance engineer for MillerCoors in Trenton, OH, before taking on his current role in 2010 as quality assurance team leader at Troegs Brewing Co. in Hershey, PA.

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