How to keep beer fresh longer

Updated: Apr 14, 2011, 13:27 PM IST

Washington: Scientists have for the first time identified the chemicals that could extend the shelf life of beer so that it stays fresh and tastes good longer.

Thomas Hofmann and colleagues at the Technical University of Munich identified the main substances that cause the bitter, harsh aftertaste of aged beer and suggest that preventing the formation of these substances could help extend its freshness.

They said that beer could develop an unpleasant, bitter aftertaste as it ages.
Unlike wine, scotch whiskey, and bourbon, beer tastes best when consumed fresh.
Experts estimate that the average beer goes bad after 6 to 12 months of storage.
Scientists have identified several dozens of the key bitter-tasting substances formed during beer manufacturing — mostly so-called ‘prenylated polyketides’ derived from hops.

Until now, however, nobody had solid information about the bitter substances that form as beer ages.

Hofmann and his team analyzed a variety of commercial beers both before and after storage. They identified 56 substances that contribute to beer`s bitter taste, including five that appear to be largely responsible for its harsh flavor after aging.

"The present study offers the scientific basis for a knowledge-based extension of the shelf life of the desirable beer’s bitter taste and the delay of the onset of the less preferred harsh bitter aftertaste by controlling the initial pH value of the beer and by keeping the temperature as low as possible during storage of the final beverage," the study concluded.