Research Center Weihenstephan
for Brewing and Food Quality
Department of Research and Development
For routine analysis, the Research Center has a wide selection of the most sophisticated and sensitive instruments at its disposal. Nevertheless, despite the current level of technology and the accuracy of modern analysis methods, questions occasionally arise which cannot be answered satisfactorily. Closing this “gap” is one of the primary tasks of the department of research and development.
The Phenomenon of Gushing
Current research topics include investigating the colloidal stability of different types of beer as well as a final, definitive and comprehensive clarification of the phenomenon known as gushing. In their quest for answers, the research team has developed a titration method based on the charge density on the surface of particles in beer and has also established a method for measuring particles 0.8 – 6500 nm in size by means of a heterodyne dynamic light scattering technique.
In August of 2009, the Weihenstephan Research Center was awarded the Barth-Haas Research Prize for their discoveries regarding how hops influence gushing.
Findings Concerning Stability
Using these methods, it is possible to determine the stability of beer and other beverages, whether they are filtered or possess a defined level of turbidity, and to assess the degree of clarification achieved by filtration systems and separators. The research team has also been able to demonstrate and prove that the smallest surface-active particles, even those as minute as 1 nm (= 1 one-millionth of a millimeter), have the potential to trigger gushing.
Promising Lines of Enquiry
Further research on the topic of gushing is now being conducted in cooperation with the hop processing industry, and the initial results are promising. It appears that instances of gushing may be reduced or even completely eliminated through the use of compounds found in hops. Along these lines, products in accordance with the German Purity Law – but also those, which are not and therefore may only be utilized outside of Germany – are specifically selected for testing and analysis.
The Research Continues
In addition to these various activities, the department of research and development also works in an advisory capacity on numerous projects related to inquiries directed to the Research Center from breweries, beverage producers or industry suppliers. These may range from a brief evaluation of a new measuring device to long-term joint research projects.