Yueshu Li (1),
Andrew Nguyen (1), Lori Oatway (2), Aaron Onio (1), Peter Watts (1);
(1) Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre, Winnipeg, MB, Canada; (2)
Field Crop Development Centre, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry,
Lacombe, AB, Canada
Malt and Grains
During the malting process, barley and other grains are germinated
under carefully controlled conditions so that the components in the
kernel are degraded to sugars, amino acids, and other low molecular
weight compounds that can be used for subsequent fermentation in the
brewing process. Estimating the quality and performance potential of
barley and malt is essential in process control and in achieving optimal
malt and beer quality. In this study, the rapid assessment of malting
and brewing performance using NIR diffuse reflectance spectroscopy of
un-malted barley and malt was examined. Typically this kind of
evaluation could only be conducted through actual malting and brewing
trials, which are costly and time-consuming, taking up to several weeks.
Barley samples included in this study were collected in several crop
years and from different growing locations on the prairies in Canada.
The malting trials were conducted using a 100 kg pilot malting system,
and the brewing trials were conducted with a 3 hL brewing system at the
CMBTC. Using the Spectra Star (Unity Scientific) the NIR spectra
(600-2,400 nm) were collected from barley, malt and wort samples.
Several sets of calibrations were developed. These calibrations have
high R2 values (0.6-0.9 depending on parameters being
assessed) and satisfactory SECs, which enable us to assess barley
malting potential and the barley and malt brewing potential, in addition
to the basic barley and malt analysis. The test results suggest the NIR
techniques could offer a unique tool for assessing performance
potential for a given barley or malt sample without having to conduct
conventional small-scale malting and brewing trials, as well as the
related analytical procedures in barley and malt quality assessment.
This technique will allow maltsters and brewers to examine quality and
performance in a rapid and cost-efficient manner.
Yueshu Li joined the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre in
2000 and is the center’s director of malting and brewing operations.
Previously, he was senior technical consultant for malting barley in the
Market Development Department of the Canadian Wheat Board. Yueshu has
held several senior research and management positions in the malting
industry in both North America and China, including Prairie Malt
Limited, Canada Malting, Schreier Malting, USA, and CUC Nanjing Malt
Limited, PRC. Yueshu completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in
China and holds a Ph.D. degree from the University of Saskatchewan.