Formation of 4-hydroxyfuranones and their precursors during production of worts and beers

A. E. Mackie, J. C. Slaughter

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    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Laboratory beers and samples taken at each stage of production, were analysed for the flavour active 4-hydroxyfuranones; 5-methyl-4-hydroxy-3(2H)-furanone (MHF), 2,5-dimethyl-4-hydroxy-3(2H)-furanone (DMHF) and 5-(or 2)-ethyl-2(or 5)-methyl-4-hydroxy-3(2H)-furanone (EMHF). The length and temperature of mashing, the length of boiling, the rate of cooling the worts and the effects of grist composition were investigated to identify the 4-hydroxyfuranone content of worts and subsequent beers. Fermentation temperature and the use of the stabilising agents, PVPP and Lucilite PC5, on the 4-hydroxyfuranone content of the beer was also investigated. The results demonstrated that several aspects of beer production procedures affect the furanone content of the beer, but in practice the important factors are grist composition, the rate at which the boiled wort is cooled and fermentation temperature. Fermentation has a major effect on final furanone content as yeast produces both DMHF and EMHF. The results suggest that malt levels of precursor compounds, which can be converted to 4-hydroxyfuranones by the Maillard reaction or by yeast, may prove to be more important than the quantities of the furanones found in malt in determining the final furanone content of beer. A clearer understanding of the nature of the precursors should allow manipulation of their production and beer furanone content.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)336-343
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of the Institute of Brewing
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


    • 4-Hydroxyfuranones
    • Beer flavour
    • Fermentation
    • Maillard reaction
    • Malt


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