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Beer lovers no longer need to be plagued by stale beer, as scientific researchers at Colorado State University have discovered the best way to keep the alcoholic beverage fresh – and the answer depends on the type of beer.
"The results demonstrate that beer metabolites, and thus stability, are significantly impacted by package type," the researchers commented after their study was published in ACS Food Science and Technology.
Every fortnight over a six-month period, the scientists cracked open bottles and cans, testing their contents for 17 chemical compounds that affect the flavour of the drinks, including amino acids, terpenes, esters, alcohols, carbohydrates, and carbonyls.
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Previous research has been limited to light lagers, and a small proportion of the chemicals involved in the beverage's compounds and storage process.
In this new study, researchers expanded their data to the chemical changes of new and popular beers, including amber ales and IPAs.
The results found that amber ales, such as Doom Bar and London Pride, are more flavourful when stored in a bottle, rather than a can.
Yet, IPAs such as the popular Brewdog Punk, are of a similar quality no matter which vessel they are stored in.
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This is because different beers contain different chemical compounds which give them their unique flavour, produced by the yeast, hops and other ingredients inside the liquid.
These molecules can be more reactive, turning into a gas more easily – breaking down the beer during storage and resulting in less flavour.
New compounds formed during this process can also contribute to beer tasting stale.
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In 2015, 20% of craft ale drinkers preferred cans while 80% preferred bottles, but by 2020, the statistic has changed to 20% choosing bottles, and 80% cans.
"The causes of this dramatic shift can be attributed to the recent availability of small canning lines, shifts in consumer activity, and supply chain challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic," according to the researchers.
The authors concluded: "The results of this study do not support the conclusion of a general best package for all beer styles but rather indicate that the effects of package type are dependent on beer style.
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"Ultimately, research on beer stability and packaging should provide relevant knowledge, so brewers may make scientifically backed packaging decisions and shelf life determinations."
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