September 29, 2010
Beer Proteome Published

The big Firestone beer I tried at dinner tonight has me in the right frame of mind to write this post. Scientists investigate an important topic.

In an advance that may give brewers powerful new ability to engineer the flavor and aroma of beer — the world's favorite alcoholic beverage — scientists are publishing the most comprehensive deciphering of the beer's "proteome" ever reported. Their report on the proteome (the set of proteins that make beer "beer") appears in ACS' monthly Journal of Proteome Research.

This sort of research will inevitably lead to genetic engineering of barley, yeast, and corn to produce the ideal beer. Or, rather, the ideal pale ale, the ideal lager, and so on. Then European beers will fall behind in taste as the EU will probably ban the genetically engineered grains.

I expect we'll eventually see beers classified by their proteome pattern as well as other chemical fingerprints. You'll be able to web surf to a site that has all that data and it'll tell you that if you like a certain Dutch beer then which German or Japanese or American beer you ought to try. It'll be like Pandora for music but for beer.

Pier Giorgio Righetti and colleagues say they were inspired to do the research by a popular Belgian story, Les Maîtres de l'Orge (The Brew Masters), which chronicles the fortunes of a family of brewers over 150 years. They realized that beer ranks behind only water and tea as the world's most popular beverage, and yet little research had been done to identify the full set of proteins that make up beer. Those proteins, they note, play a key role in the formation, texture, and stability of the foamy "head" that drinkers value so highly. Nevertheless, scientists had identified only a dozen beer proteins, including seven from the barley used to make beer and two from yeast.

They identified 20 barley proteins, 40 proteins from yeast, and two proteins from corn, representing the largest-ever portrait of the beer proteome. "These findings might help brewers in devising fermentation processes in which the release of yeast proteins could be minimized, if such components could alter the flavor of beer, or maximized in case of species improving beer's aroma," the report notes.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 September 29 10:14 PM  Brain Appetite

Chris said at September 30, 2010 7:11 PM:

This has to be the most important advance in human history. Beer can finally be perfected. :)

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