Title: Brewing up laboratory skills!

Duration: 55 minutes

Available On Demand



An estimated 97% of the world’s hop crop makes its way into beer. They can be used to add hop flavors, bitterness, and aroma. The aroma properties of hops are one of the most challenging characteristics to standardize. Despite this, many brewers still select their hops by manual sensory evaluation, counting on their experience to ensure the aroma characteristics of the fresh hops result in the desired traits for their beers. As new hop technology has developed however, hundreds of hop oil compounds have been identified and the role of these compounds is no longer limited to aroma. For instance, while a- and b-acids are known to contribute to the aroma, a-acids have been identified as responsible for the bitterness with a specific interest on the ratio of cis/trans iso-a-acids changing as beer ages. Furthermore, recent reports indicate that isohumulones (a class of iso-a-acid) play a role in head retention. Since the conditions of the brewing process can vary wildly from brewery to brewery and the starting materials are dependent upon environmental conditions, the fates of these individual compounds need to be tracked to ensure consistent and reproducible results in the product. Initial results on our collaboration with local craft breweries in the Hampton Roads community will be presented. Additionally, as Christopher Newport University is a primarily undergraduate institution (PUI), efforts to engage students taking analytical chemistry with a real-world application of brewing and testing beer from local breweries will be presented. CNU students gain hands-on laboratory experiences and skills that are extremely desirable to numerous industries. Former research students have been hired by local breweries, the Navy, sanitation departments, and pharmaceutical development companies. In addition to real world experience, our students are engaged with their local community which we, as Captains, seek and hold in our core values.