Leuven scholars give more taste to your beer

Share this article

Because Leuven researchers noticed that big beer brands barely differ in terms of taste, they developed new yeasts, which allow for much more variation. “There’s a lot of interest from breweries”, says professor Kevin Verstrepen (KU Leuven and VIB)

Try the triangle test, blind tasting of two beers from the same brand and one from a different brand. Try and distinguish the beers. Roughly one in three people can’t. Not surprising: the taste of lagers is really very similar. 

This also is true for the in Belgium widely denounced Heineken, it appears. “It’s a little less bitter and slightly more fruity, but even that’s not such a big difference,” says professor Verstrepen. “It gave us the idea to do something about it.”

You already have to be a trained taster to keep the brands apart when tasting a lager.

Yeast is an important determinant of flavor in beer and all lagers are descended from the crossing of only two types of yeast. “The two types are so different that successful hybrids are very rare.”

Yeasts are unicellular fungi, which have to reproduce sexually in order to obtain such a crossing. “We have experimented to optimize this sexual interaction,” says researcher Stijn Mertens. “We have tested 31 new strains. A lot of those were not consumable. “

But two crossings proved to be successful. “The taste is more pronounced,” says Verstrepen. “And it’s also nice: more fruity, with apple, banana and fresh green fruit in the taste.”

“There is a lot of interest from both small and large breweries,” says Verstrepen. “But classics such as Jupiler, Maes, Cristal or Heineken of course won’t simply change their taste.”

(Source: Het Nieuwsblad )