AI Is Coming For Beer Brewing Next

By Nikola Pajtic | Published

ai beer

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming industries, from self-driving cars to automated customer service. Now, scientists have found a way to use AI to make beer better, and not just any beer, but the brew that comes from Belgium. 

Fittingly, The Beer Study Comes From A College

The story comes from the Belgian KU Leuven University and Professor Kevin Verstrepen. Verstrepen believes AI can be a powerful tool for beer brewers. He explained that beer has hundreds of aroma molecules that affect how humans perceive its taste and flavor.

These molecules interact with each other, so how the beer tastes depends on all the molecules present. 

AI Won’t Take Over Brewing, But Can Enhance It

AI can help us understand these interactions and predict how a specific combination of beer aroma molecules will taste. So, basically, artificial intelligence won’t take over the production, but improve it. 

“Beer – like most food products – contains hundreds of different aroma molecules that get picked up by our tongue and nose, and our brain then integrates these into one picture,” Verstrepen said. “However, the compounds interact with each other, so how we perceive one depends also on the concentrations of the others.”

The Study’s Scope Was Huge

For the AI study over 250 Belgian beers were analyzed from different styles, including fruit beers, West Flanders ales, blonds, and even non-alcoholic beers for a total of 22 different styles. 

Each beer was meticulously studied–analyzing alcohol content, sweetness, and more than 200 flavor compounds. To understand how these chemicals translate to taste, a dedicated team of 16 tasters spent three years tasting each beer for 50 different flavor aspects like sweetness, bitterness, and acidity.

The study didn’t end there. They brought in real-world consumer feedback by analyzing 180,000 online reviews from RateBeer. This only helped them identify the agreements and disagreements of people involved in the process. 

It Doesn’t Take Much

ai beer

With the AI study concluded, the researchers found that even tiny adjustments to a beer’s chemical makeup can redefine its taste.

One interesting discovery Verstrepen made was that some compounds previously thought to be unpleasant were actually found to be desirable in lower amounts, particularly when paired with other specific flavors. 

From the collected data, the team built AI models that will predict how the beer will taste. This goes further as they even worked on predicting beer appreciation based on its makeup. 

The Beer Got Better

With the results they collected along with the AI findings, they focused on improving commercial beer. They then tested these models by adding small amounts of specific chemicals (like lactic acid and glycerol) to an existing beer, based on the AI’s suggestions. 

When the results were in, they were more than positive, meaning that AI can improve how the beer tastes. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions were graded higher ratings in all meaningful categories. 

Beer Brewers Have Nothing To Fear

ai beer

What this means for the beer brewing industry? For this particular study, only high-quality, commercial beers were used, but Verstrepen has claimed that these AI models can be best used to improve non-alcoholic beers. 

The Professor ended on a note that the beer makers don’t need to worry as the skill of brewing remains the most important in the process, easing out the minds of brewers who think that AI is coming for their beer. 

Source: The Guardian

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