An investigation of methylsulfonylmethane as a fermentation aid

Yeast and Fermentation Session
Eryn Bottens, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA
Co-author(s): Jeb Hollabaugh and Thomas Shellhammer, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA

ABSTRACT: Fermentation time in the cellar directly affects potential brewery production as a whole. It is of practical interest to decrease the time needed where possible and increase efficiency. Decreased lag time in beer fermentations allows for higher production and efficiency in the brewery as well as decreased risk of contamination. This study examined the use of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) as a nutrient supplement to stimulate yeast growth during fermentation. Small-scale (1 L), stirred fermentations were carried out at 15°C using a German lager yeast in a lightly hopped 11°P wort made from 70% pale 2-row malt and 30% high-glucose liquid adjunct. Two pitching rates were examined, 1 × 106 and 1 × 105 cell/mL °P, and four levels of MSM (0, 0.25, 0.5, and 075%, w/w). Fermentation gravity and viable cell counts were monitored throughout fermentation until the final attenuation was achieved (approximately 5 days). The application of 0.25% (w/w) MSM resulted in the shortest lag time in both adequately (1 × 106 cell/mL °P) and under-pitched (1 × 105 cell/mL °P) ferments. Additionally, this treatment reached stable, maximum cell counts and final gravity the quickest. Increased concentrations of MSM trended with higher terminal gravities and lower fermentability irrespective of pitching rate. Application of MSM to beer fermentations has the potential to decrease lag time and increase peak rate in beer fermentations.

Eryn Bottens is an undergraduate student seeking a degree in fermentation science from Oregon State University. Eryn works as a research brewery assistant in the brewing science lab and pilot plant. Eryn’s assignment includes brewery production, analysis, and sensory work. Eryn is also involved in the Food and Fermentation Science Club in the role of brewmaster. Eryn has interned as a cellarman at Pelican Brewery and Pub in Pacific City, OR.