Monday, March 4

The Extremaduran engineer of beers

Rosales is a former student of the University of Extremadura. / jm rosemary

Alicia Rosales’ research concludes that artisanal brands have more antioxidants than industrial ones

Antonio J Armero

Seventeen different beers later, Alicia Rosales reached a conclusion that would surely lead to a long debate among fans of this drink, which has Spain among its favorite countries, as it is one of the largest consumers in the world. According to her research, the artisans beat the industrial ones in several chapters. Graduated in Agricultural and Food Industry Engineering from the University of Extremadura (UEx), Rosales (Montemolín, 29 years old) is the author of the study entitled ‘Differentiation of craft and industrial beers based on their physical-chemical characteristics’, which has been published by several specialized publications.

The work helped him to complete his Master’s degree in quality management and traceability in plant-based foods, also at the UEx. “It was Sara Morales Rodrigo, my master’s tutor, who suggested I do the work on this subject,” explains the young woman from Extremadura, who after finishing her degree and completing the master’s degree, went to work in Madrid, at the Tragsatec company. From there she returned about a year ago to settle again in her land, specifically in Mérida. In the regional capital she works for Gpex, one of the public companies of the Junta de Extremadura, in the area of ​​single application aid management of the PAC (Community Agrarian Policy).

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For her master’s thesis, Rosales analyzed not only the antioxidant activity of beers, but also many other characteristics of this drink. The starting point of the study was to learn in detail the differences between industrial and craft beers, at a time when the latter have reached a market share that was unthinkable just a few years ago.

Their research concludes that craft beers have more antioxidant activity than industrial beers

They emerged as little more than entertainment, a form of leisure that spread until it became fashionable. So much so that for a time kits with everything necessary for anyone to make their own beer became popular. But from that stage of fashion product, it passed to another, to a higher level, and small factories emerged that have conquered store shelves, first specialized and then more generic. This has led to the current situation, in which there are brands of craft beers that are found in the establishments of large food chains.

Currently, its market share in Spain is around 13%, and the multiplication of brands has also meant an increase in the diversity of ingredients used to prepare them and there is more diversity in the production methods.

Electronic nose used for research. /


It is in this context that Alicia Rosales decides to analyze each other, artisans and industrialists, with an academic approach, helped by her tutor Sara Morales Rodrigo and with Inmaculada Talaverano Arroba acting as co-tutor. «On the one hand –explains the engineer–, we chemically analyze the acidity or pH, the bitterness, the color, the alcoholic degree, the total content of polyphenols and the antioxidant activity, and on the other hand, we also evaluate the visual, olfactory attributes and gustatory”.

For the latter, an electronic nose was used, that is, a device equipped with sensors that allows detailed information to be collected about the components and characteristics of the product to be studied.

All the brands you used

“In the organoleptic part, Professor Jesús Lozano helped us,” recalls Alicia Rosales, who found the work for her master’s degree on quality management and traceability in foods of plant origin “very interesting.” “Especially because of the variety of the tests that we carry out and because the subject allows you to check the results of the investigation first-hand,” adds the young woman from Extremadura, who dedicated approximately five months to this investigation.

For his study, he used eight commercial beers (San Miguel, San Miguel Selecta, Mahou Clásica, Mahou Maestra, Cruzcampo Pilsen, Cruzcampo Cruzial, Heineken and Estrella Galicia) and nine craft beers (Ballut, Marwan, Liada Parda, Serena, Original Blomberg, Ibérica , 927, Arch of Cáceres and Hummingbird).

Among the conclusions, it stands out that the artisanal ones are darker and more bitter, in addition to having more antioxidant activity, which has beneficial effects for health.

“These differences may be due to the quality of the raw materials and the manufacturing processes,” explains the University of Extremadura. “In the large-scale industry – he continues – attempts are made to find cheaper raw materials, so older hops with little amount of resins and oils influence the content of antioxidant compounds.” “In addition – he continues –, craft beers have higher color and bitterness values ​​compared to commercial ones, due not only to the amount of hops used and their origin, but also to the addition and cooking method, pH and time. of permanence of the hops in the tank”.

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