Influence of beer CO2 content on its drinkability

Sensory Session
Petr Kosin, Budejovicky Budvar, n.p., Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic
Co-author(s): Jan Savel and Adam Broz, Budejovicky Budvar, n.p., Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic

ABSTRACT: Drinkability is an attribute that reflects how easily a beer can be drunk in large amounts. It doesn’t have to correlate with sensorial preferences and is often described by its opposite, the ability to saturation. Drinkability is generally attributed to the matrix of beer, specifically to the content of polyphenols, acids, or higher alcohols. The CO2 content has rarely been discussed with beer drinkability, although its connection with the ability of drink to saturation is known from the soft drink industry. After drinking CO2 promotes blood circulation in tongue and production of saliva, which is accompanied by faster loss of thirst. CO2 is then rapidly liberated from the beer and partly fills the digestion system with gas and partly is absorbed by the gastric wall, which both cause a feeling of saturation. The CO2 content of beer in a glass is influenced not only by the original beer CO2 content from production, but also by the way in which the beer is dispensed into the glass. If beer is dispensed so violently that the majority is converted to foam, the CO2 content can fall by half of its original concentration. If beer is dispensed so gently that no foam is created, the CO2 content does not change significantly. The drinkability of beer dispensed with high CO2 lost or no CO2 lost was compared by two tests. In the first test, called “free selection test,” drinkers freely chose a beer to drink, and the results were expressed as total consumption of beer over time. In the second test, called “test of consumption velocity,” all drinkers alternatively drank samples with high or low CO2 content, and the results were expressed as the speed of consumption of individual samples. Both tests indicated that CO2 content could influence beer drinkability.

Petr Kosin received engineering (M.S. equivalent, 2006) and Ph.D. (2012) degrees in brewing and malting at the Institute of Chemical Technology Prague, Czech Republic. He worked on both of his theses, “Application of Modern Methods for Yeast Activity Control in Brewery” and “Consumer Perception of Beer Qualitative Characteristics,” at Budweiser Budvar, N.C. in Ceske Budejovice. He has been working in research and development at Budweiser Budvar, N.C. since his graduation. He has been a member of the EBC Brewing Science Group since 2011.