2019 Project Grant

Oregon State University

Evaluating Methods To Measure Lipid Content AND Composition In Beer

Nutritional labeling is likely to be federally mandated in the next couple of years and by 2020 the largest US brewers will be voluntarily including it for consumers. While lager beer is typically low enough in lipids (<0.5 g fat per serving) to avoid needing to label fat content, “new” hop-forward beer styles have very different nutritional and chemical profiles than lager beer because of the lipids originating from their high hopping and/or adjunct levels. Neither the American Society of Brewing Chemists nor the European Brewing Congress have standard methods for measuring total lipid content or lipid composition in beer. This project will examine and potentially adapt existing fat analysis methodology used for foods and beverages (other than beer) to identify candidate methods that are accurate, reliable, repeatable, (hopefully) inexpensive, and not too complex. The goal of this project will be to deliver a recommendation to the ASBC Technical Committee of the “best” available candidate method(s) for measuring fat in beer using the previously mentioned criteria. The methodology identified will also be used to screen the lipid profiles of a handful of popular craft styles and brands currently on the market. The long-term benefit to the brewing industry is that brewers will gain the ability to accurately report lipid content and composition for nutritional labeling using a standard method which, in turn, will lead to greater understanding of the impact that lipids have on hop forward beer flavor and physical stability. 

Principal Investigators

Dr. Scott Lafontaine and Dr. Thomas Shellhammer

Project Objectives
  • ​Work closely with members of the ASBC Technical Committee and nutritional testing laboratories to identify suitable method(s) for total and compositional analysis of lipids in beer by gauging the acceptability/feasibility of preexisting methodology and making appropriate adaptations where necessary. 
  • Perform intra-lab measurements with the selected methods on a range of beer styles to assess the repeatability of these methods and nominate “best” candidates the ASBC Technical Committee. 
  • Estimate the potential range of lipid content and composition in beer by surveying a subset of commercial beers (up to 10) that vary based on beer styles and brand.

Project Final Report

As a sponsorship benefit, a final report will be submitted in the fall of 2020 to the ASBC Research Council.​