Photo: Thorkild Christensen

Artificial intelligence helps develop new types of beer

Tuesday 07 Nov 17


Krist V. Gernaey
DTU Chemical Engineering
+45 45 25 29 70

About the project

Project title: The Beer Fingerprinting Project
Budget: 28 million DKK
Innovation Fund Denmark, investment: 18 million DKK
Duration: 3 years

Participants in the project:

  • Carlsberg Research Laboratory
  • Aarhus University
  • DTU
  • Microsoft Danmark

Read more about the project on Innovation Fund Denmark website (In Danish). 

A new research study seeks to measure and sense flavours and aromas in beer. The project aims at establishing a sensor platform that reduces time and cost to develop new beers with diverse flavours based on the most advanced services and software within artificial intelligence. The development of a sensor platform can hold enormous potential for broader research and facilitate new start-ups as a sensor platform to distinguish flavours and aromas does not exist today.

Even though it might sound like an ideal job to taste several beers a day, it is impossible to tell the difference between the approximately 1,000 different beer samples that are produced daily at Carlsberg Research Laboratory. As a result, Jochen Förster from Carlsberg Research Laboratory expressed a need to develop simple sensors to measure flavours and aromas when designing and developing novel brewing organisms – which eventually leads to new beers – an idea that led to the new research project ‘The Beer Fingerprinting Project’.

“No rapid assays exist today for the determination of flavour compounds in beverages but it is crucial that we can do this to ensure that the Laboratory continues to develop beer of the highest possible quality and provide a model for brewing in Denmark and the rest of the world,” says Jochen Förster, Director and Professor Yeast Fermentation, Carlsberg Research Laboratory.

Great expertise within reactor parallelization and integration

Good ideas demand clever heads. The project is a collaboration between Carlsberg, Microsoft Danmark, Aarhus University and DTU Chemical Engineering with funding from Innovation Fund Denmark. DTU Chemical Engineering is looking forward to start this exciting project, and will work closely together with the other partners to convert the current sensor technology developed at Aarhus University to software and hardware prototypes that will help to identify the practical usefulness and value of the novel sensor technology.

DTU Chemical Engineering brings expertise within reactor parallelization and integration as well as data processing to the project.

“We have before worked with interpretation of data from advanced sensors such as near-infrared spectroscopy applied to fermentation processes, and we are looking forward to apply this knowledge in this project as well. Moreover, we can also use our experience in constructing microreactors to develop reactor prototypes for this new project”, says Krist V. Gernaey, Professor and Head of PROSYS, DTU Chemical Engineering.

The aim is now to validate and mature the technology and make it applicable for high throughput screening of novel brewing organisms.

“This research study puts advanced analytics and intelligent cloud technology as a corner stone of the project and combines expertise within several fields of research. We are excited to see the project unfold and determine how it will impact faster go to market processes for Carlsberg”, says Ricky Gangsted-Rasmussen, Industry Lead - Retail, Microsoft Danmark.

New start-up adventures

Today, no such rapid technology for discrimination of complex flavour mixtures exists. Developing methods for fast and reliable assessment of flavours in complex mixtures such as in beer or other alcoholic and alcohol-free beverages are of interest for product development, quality control and safety. Researchers from iNano Aarhus University have already developed a solution to use novel sensors and proof-of-principle to differentiate between four Carlsberg beers, Carlsberg Pilsner, Tuborg Pilsner, Wibroe and Nordic, as part of the project. The outcome of this project will not only strengthen the Danish position in the world beer market represented by Carlsberg but is also expected to lead to new start-ups as the technology can be used for other industries than beverages such as the environmental-, pharma- and food industry. 

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