Putting science to work in the brewery

Technical Session 19: Outside the Box Session
Alastair T Pringle , Pringle-Scott LLC, St. Louis, MO USA
Co-author(s): Anthony Cutaia, Science Source Consulting LLC, St. Louis MO, USA

ABSTRACT: There are two philosophies for obtaining knowledge: deductive thinking and inductive thinking. In deductive thinking knowledge is reasoned from existing facts without the inconvenience of having to design experiments or make measurements. However, in inductive thinking abstract thought and reasoning are supported by real world findings. Inductive thinking is the basis for the scientific method that we know today. In applying the scientific method to brewing there are several pitfalls that need to be considered, including imprecise measurements, raw material variability, process variability, etc. In this paper we will discuss a step-by-step process to reliably gain knowledge. The initial steps include selecting suitable small scale experimental systems, gathering variables, and testing variables in screening experiments. Once the most important variables have been identified, then the interactions can be explored using such techniques as response surface methodology in further lab scale experiments. Finally the effects of the most important variables can be confirmed in a pilot plant and at full scale. Evolutionary operations (EVOP) protocols are an effective way to test two variables while eliminating the inherent noise of production brewing.

Alastair Pringle was educated in England, where he earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in microbiology. He joined Anheuser-Busch in 1984 following five years of post-doctoral research in the United States. At Anheuser Busch Alastair held a number of technical management positions, including director of brewing research, where his responsibilities included all aspects of the brewing process. He is currently the principal consultant at Pringle-Scott LLC, a science-based consulting company that works with craft breweries on process control and quality. In addition, Alastair teaches microbiology at Maryville University in St. Louis, MO, and is a member of the IBD Board of Examiners.