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Ensuring Highest Quality Craft Beers Through Chemistry Research – Big Spruce Brewing And Stfx Partne

Mr. White wants to be free of having to import expensive hops, the beer ingredient responsible for the bitter taste and for the zesty, or citric flavours so much in demand by craft beer drinkers. So he grows his own.

“I will not compromise in quality, so I really need to know my hops,” Mr. White says. “I want to ensure that my beers are at their highest, consistent levels of quality, so I’m partnering with world-class chemistry professors at St. Francis Xavier University to help me.”

Dr. Razul is intrigued by the interplay and role of the thousands of organic, natural chemicals that are found in plants.

“Hops have a complex chemistry that must be well understood by a top brewmaster,” Dr. Razul says.

“How do all of the important natural flavour and aroma oils in hops change over time?  What I’m going to do is look in-depth at the actual chemistry of the Big Spruce hops and see if these compounds alter with storage, and if these chemistry changes can be managed for continuous hop quality improvement.

“These chemistry changes may be well known in the big hops producing areas in the U.S., but our craft beer industry here is just getting underway. Jeremy is a brewmaster – he is an artist. If I let him know exactly how his hops compare to the imports, then he can better explore and experiment with new brews, knowing how to keep the favour profiles of his hop varieties consistent over time.”

Dr. Razul’s research into the hops at Big Spruce Brewing is supported by a Productivity and Innovation Voucher, from the Nova Scotia provincial crown corporation, Innovacorp.

Andrew Kendall of the StFX Industry Liaison Office worked with Big Spruce to obtain this funding.

“This funding from Innovacorp is important in supporting our small, rural, but high-growth industries,” Mr. Kendall says. “This will get students working with Dr. Razul on real-world problems. With better, bitter beers as a great end point, I think they better hop right to it!”