2017 Master Brewers Conference
14. Real-time dynamic analysis of fermentation parameters to enhance fermentation control and yeast health

David Morris, Mimetics, Durham, NC, U.S.A.

Coauthor(s): Adam Leman, Mimetics, Durham, NC, U.S.A.; Ashlee Valente, Mimetics, Durham, NC, U.S.A.

Yeast, Fermentation, and Microbiology I
Thursday, October 12
1:30–2:45 p.m.

Standard methods of monitoring beer fermentation currently in use involve daily measurements of common parameters including gravity, pH, and temperature. Though the daily monitoring of these metrics provides some insight into the transition of wort to beer, they are not sufficiently finely grained to elucidate the dynamics of the biological processes in the yeast that have an important bearing on the speed and quality of fermentation. In this study we deployed a system using modern technologies to obtain virtually continuous measurements of pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, density, and conductivity in commercial beer production. Through multiple observations from various breweries, we developed new frameworks for the prediction of primary fermentation times based on the behavior of the measured parameters during fermentation. Also, we investigated the ability to gauge the health of the yeast from one pitch-generation to the next. The findings show that observations of the parameters' outputs permit detection of drift in yeast fermentation characteristics. The objective of the project is to provide an easy-to-use data acquisition system coupled with a cloud-based data analytics capability that will allow brewers to reduce variability in the range of fermentation times and quality.

Dave was raised on the South Carolina coast where he obtained a B.S. degree in biology from College of Charleston. He obtained an M.S. degree in biosystem engineering from Clemson University in 2013 with a focus on wastewater treatment and biofuel fermentations. From 2013 to 2016 he worked for Oskar Blues Brewery in Brevard, North Carolina, for a year as a QC tech and two years as the QC lab manager. He is currently the fermentation specialist at Mimetics, a molecular biology analysis company focusing on yeast dynamics during fermentation in Durham, North Carolina. He enjoys mountain biking, gardening, and IPAs.