Electronic nose for monitoring the flavour of beers
journal contributionposted on 15.05.2014, 15:33 by Timothy C. Pearce, J. W. Gardner, S. Friel, P. N. Bartlett, N. Blair
The flavour of a beer is determined mainly by its taste and smell, which is generated by about 700 key volatile and non-volatile compounds. Beer flavour is traditionally measured through the use of a combination of conventional analytical tools (e.g., gas chromatography) and organoleptic profiling panels. These methods are not only expensive and time-consuming but also inexact due to a lack of either sensitivity or quantitative information. In this paper an electronic instrument is described that has been designed to measure the odour of beers and supplement or even replace existing analytical methods. The instrument consists of an array of up to 12 conducting polymers, each of which has an electrical resistance that has partial sensitivity to the headspace of beer. The signals from the sensor array are then conditioned by suitable interface circuitry and processed using a chemometric or neural classifier. The results of the application of multivariate statistical techniques are given. The instrument, or electronic nose, is capable of discriminating between various commercial beers and, more significantly, between standard and artificially-tainted beers. An industrial version of this instrument is now undergoing trials in a brewery.