The Sway of Specialty Malts and Mash pH on Iron Ion Speciation and the Reducing Power of Wort

Thijs Van Mieghem, Filip Delvaux, Sven Dekleermaeker, Hedwig Neven, Scott J. Britton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


In contrast to other fermented beverages, beer quality generally diminishes over time. This diminishing quality hinges heavily on the oxidative degradation of beer compounds by reactive oxygen species (ROS), whose formation is in part catalyzed by Fe(II) ions via the Fenton and Haber-Weiss reactions. Consequently, ROS accumulation throughout the brewing process results in oxidative instability and accelerates numerous beer staling reactions, like those frequently associated with the onset of unwanted flavors, aromas, and an unaesthetic appearance. However, despite its critical importance to beer stability, the oxidative state of iron in wort and finished beer continues to be poorly characterized. In this investigation, the influence of kilned specialty malt utilization on total free iron and iron ion speciation in wort was determined by EBC Method 9.13.1. Further, the reducing power of each wort was determined via 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH). Here, we demonstrate that kilned specialty malt utilization influences total iron concentration, the balance between Fe(II) and Fe(III) ion species, and the reducing power of wort. Furthermore, our results reveal a negative correlation between mash pH and total iron concentration in finished wort. These results indicate that beer’s oxidative flavor stability may be improved by using lower kilned malts and adjusting mash pH.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-31
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Society of Brewing Chemists
Issue number1
Early online date16 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2024


  • Specialty malt
  • beer
  • ion speciation
  • iron
  • mash pH
  • mashing
  • oxidative stability
  • wort

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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