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If Beer Tastes of Vegetables, Does it Count as One of Your 5 a Day?

Martin Perkins

20th December 2017

Alcohol, Beer, GC-MS, Kathy Ridgway, MPS, MultiPurpose Sampler, Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry, SIFT-MS, Vegetables,


As we approach the Christmas festivities, many of you will be enjoying a festive tipple.

Analysis of alcohol seems to have become a theme in our applications lab (just some of the interesting samples that we work on!), so we thought we would take a look at sulphur compounds in beer.

People have different preferences for beer taste, but in general sulphur compounds are linked to off-flavours.  Sulphur compounds can be challenging by GC-MS and have very low sensory thresholds, which can adversely impact the flavour of beer (those rotten egg or cooked vegetable notes).  Acetaldehyde is also seen as an off flavour (imparting more of a sour/apple note).

Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MS) is a real-time volatile organic compounds (VOCs) analyser.  When used in combination with the GERSTEL MPS, it enables very rapid sample headspace analysis.

This SnApp note shows the potential of SIFT-MS to determine the levels of sulphur compounds and acetaldehyde in beer by comparison of a number of locally sourced samples.

If you have some interesting samples you’d like to investigate (not necessarily alcoholic), please contact us either by email, or call on +44 (0)1223 279210.