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20 February 2015

Joint gushing project of European maltster and brewers’ associations

Euromalt, the European malting industry Association, and the European Brewery Convention (EBC), the technical and scientific arm within The Brewers of Europe, have reached an important breakthrough in the research on gushing: in a joint research project with the German Research and Teaching Institute for Brewing in Berlin (VLB), a potential method to predict the gushing potential of malt and beer samples was identified.

In 2012, European maltsters and brewers decided to join forces to further research this common interest. In a tender process, VLB was awarded the contract with a total budget of EUR 260,000 which was equally shared by both associations to carry out the research project aimed at the identification of gushing-inducing factors.

Over a period of two years, more than 200 commercial malt samples of the 2011, 2012 and 2013 harvest were collected from European maltings and breweries. A brewing scheme for the highly reproducible production of gushing positive and gushing negative beers at laboratory scale was established and validated.

To monitor the level of fungal infection on the malt samples a quantitative real-time PCR method was developed, using species-specific primer pairs for relevant fusarium species. In general, the group of gushing positive malts had a significantly higher level of fungal infection than the gushing negative samples, but nevertheless it was not possible to establish a reliable regression model for the prediction of the gushing potential based on the fungal infection.

While the initial research centered on identifying and quantifying differences in the composition of gushing inducing and not gushing inducing malt samples, proved by small scale brews, promising results of using MALTDI-TOF MS analysis to make a differentiation between gushing positive and gushing negative malts and beers gave stimulus to further work in this area.