Where does my beer come from?

Where does my beer come from?
Researchers at the University of Seville have developed a technique based on chemical patterns for identifying the country of origin of beer. The content of iron, potassium, phosphates and polyphenols is found to be determining components. German, Spanish and Portuguese beers have been detected with 99 percent accuracy thanks to the model. Credit: SINC

Researchers at the University of Seville (Spain) have developed a technique based on chemical patterns for identifying the country of origin of beer. The content of iron, potassium, phosphates and polyphenols is found to be determining components. German, Spanish and Portuguese beers have been detected with 99% accuracy thanks to the model.

"Beers can be differentiated from one another according to their country of origin by using parameters linked to , such as water (metals and ) and the type of hop (polyphenol content)," tells SINC José Marcos Jurado, chemist at the University of Seville and director of the study that aims to find out the country of origin of beers.

Using a statistical test, the first step is to select the variables that differentiate beers the most. These include the amount of aluminium, iron or strontium for example. A mathematic analysis is then applied to do away with the parameters that fail to describe the origin of beers very well. The result is a model based on the content of iron, , phosphorous, and .

Jurado points out that "the differences can seem very subtle but the model is capable of detecting the relationship between these chemical descriptors and the country of origin of beers." The last step involves applying support vector machines – a set of algorithms that recognises data patterns.

The researchers have used this technique to differentiate between beers produced in Germany, Spain or Portugal and they have managed to identify the country of origin with 99.3% accuracy, according to the results published in the Food Control journal.

Jurado clarifies that "this type of study can be extended to include other geographic areas. However, we have to remember that by increasing the number of beer types, obtaining an accurate model becomes more complicated. Differentiating should be dealt with by taking large geographical areas into account and then considering possible groupings in smaller areas."

An important identification for the food industry

According to the researcher, authenticity and geographical identification studies are "very important" for the food industry "given that they allow the differentiating characteristics of a product to be established. This can have an impact of their marketing."

Twenty brands of German, Czech and British beer are registered on the DOOR database (Database of Origin and Registration) of the European Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development, which brings together Protected Geographical Indication products. Studies like this one can offer innovative techniques for confirming the country of origin of such drinks.

More information: Food Control 23: 258-262, 2012. Doi:10.1016/j.foodcont.2011.07.029

Provided by FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology

not rated yet

Related Stories

Dark beer has more iron than pale beer

Aug 11, 2011

A team of researchers from the University of Valladolid (Spain) has analysed 40 brands of beer, discovering that dark beer has more free iron than pale and non-alcoholic beers. Iron is essential to the human ...

Research reveals link between beer and bone health

Feb 08, 2010

A new study suggests that beer is a significant source of dietary silicon, a key ingredient for increasing bone mineral density. Researchers from the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of California, ...

Scientists to study one of world's oldest beers

Feb 08, 2011

In the summer of 2010 in the Aland archipelago, divers retrieved well-preserved bottles of champagne and five bottles of beer from the wreck of a ship that likely sank during the first half of 1800s. VTT Technical ...

Best Beers for Bone Health?

Feb 11, 2010

The old advertising slogan that "Guinness is Good for You" may have some truth to it after all. Every pint of the black stuff contains as much silicon as a pinch of sand -- and that silicon, according to recent but controversial ...

Tea leaves identified using neural networks

Sep 30, 2010

A team of chemists from the University of Seville (US, Spain) has managed to distinguish between different kinds of tea leaves on the basis of their mineral content and by using artificial neural networks. ...

Recommended for you

Cold cash just keeps washing in from ALS challenge

Aug 28, 2014

In the couple of hours it took an official from the ALS Association to return a reporter's call for comment, the group's ubiquitous "ice bucket challenge" had brought in a few million more dollars.

Medtronic spends $350M on another European deal

Aug 27, 2014

U.S. medical device maker Medtronic is building stronger ties to Europe, a couple months after announcing a $42.9 billion acquisition that involves moving its main executive offices across the Atlantic, where it can get a ...

Mind over matter for people with disabilities

Aug 26, 2014

People with serious physical disabilities are unable to do the everyday things that most of us take for granted despite having the will – and the brainpower – to do so. This is changing thanks to European ...

Ukraine's former world's tallest man dies

Aug 25, 2014

Ukraine's tallest man, who briefly held the world record but gave it up to live as a recluse, has died due to complications from the condition that saw him never stop growing, local media reported Monday.

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Dec 01, 2011
Beer?

Well, you see... It all starts with Camel Urin...