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Acid and Volatiles of Commercially-Available Lambic Beers
Lambic beer is the oldest style of beer still being produced in the Western world using spontaneous fermentation. Gueuze is a style of lambic beer prepared by mixing young (one year) and older (two to three years) beers. Little is known about the volatiles and semi-volatiles found in commercial samples of gueuze lambic beers. SPME was used to extract the volatiles from nine different brands of lambic beer. GC-MS was used for the separation and identification of the compounds extracted with SPME. The pH and color were measured using standard procedures. A total of 50 compounds were identified in the nine brands. Seventeen of the 50 compounds identified have been previously identified. The compounds identified included a number of different chemical groups such as acids, alcohols, phenols, ketones, aldehydes, and esters. Ethyl acetate, 4-ethylphenol, and 4-ethylguaiacol are known by-products of the yeast, Brettanomyces, which is normally a spoilage microorganism in beer and wine, but important for the flavor characteristics of lambic beer. There were no differences in pH, but there were differences in color between the beer samples.