Seeing is believing!
Our VDK+ Test Kit has a growing user base and has supplanted sniff tests, distillation set-ups, and even chromatography installations. We have a couple case studies in the works, but see below for a sneak peek!
The below image is a real-world photo taken by one of our users. Left: The image on the left is a dry-hopped beer that exhibited hop creep. The beer nearly passed sensory panel analysis before supporting evidence from the VDK+ Test Kit helped stop an early cold crash. Right: The image on the right is from a packaged product that passed forced sensory analysis before our VDK+ Test Kit was implemented at the brewery. Moving forward, the VDK+ Test Kit will help guide ALDC additions to ensure diacetyl concerns are a thing of the past!
First off, make sure you take photos so that we can help troubleshoot! There are some troubleshooting steps we can take to diagnose what is happening. It is possible that this is a real result. 2,3-pentanedione and/or acetoin, which are vicinal diketones (VDK's) similar to 2,3-butanedione (diacetyl) sometimes show up as a dark circle, especially with certain types of yeast. You won't necessarily detect any diacetyl via sensory because 2,3-pentanedione and acetoin are not as potent as diacetyl. However, before we can say that, I want to make sure everything else about the test is running smoothly.
VDK+ Test Kit: Helpful Tips
Click the button below to download a white paper written by our very own Emma Kerman as she explains what the results mean from the CSU/Gilded Goat validation performed in Spring 2021.
The Dangers of the Sniff Test
By: Emma Kerman, Beyers Chemical Account Manager
If you’re in the brewing community, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard of, if not performed, a “sniff test”. The sniff test is one of the few methods used to test for VDKs like diacetyl. It’s very common amongst microbreweries and home brewers because it doesn’t require significant time or access to the equipment needed for the standard ASBC methods, and it still provides a quality control measurement to determine the end of fermentation.
If you aren’t familiar with the sniff test, the basic premise is to take two samples of beer, heat one of them up, and check to see if the unheated sample smells more buttery than the heated one. If the samples smell different, there is still diacetyl and possibly the odorless precursor alpha-acetolactate in the beer and fermentation should continue. If the samples smell the same, you can assume that all of the alpha-acetolactate was converted to diacetyl and got fully metabolized by the yeast, signaling the end of fermentation.
While this method is quick and essentially free, it is very informal and can be quite unreliable. The olfactory organs can vary so much from person to person, some people can’t even detect diacetyl at all! It can also easily be impacted by something as small as the common cold. In addition, the sniff test can propose physical health risks. There’s a medical condition associated with diacetyl inhalation called popcorn lung, also known as obliterative bronchiolitis (OB). It was first discovered in popcorn factories where workers were constantly exposed to the diacetyl added to enrich the popcorn’s buttery flavor. OB occurs when there is damage to the lungs smallest airways and that damage is irreversible.
That’s where the Beyers Chemical Co. VDK+ Test Kit comes in. Our proprietary test strips accurately test for VDKs in only 15 minutes, don’t require fancy equipment or lab training, results are comparable to the standard ASBC methods, and don't require any direct inhalation which helps keep brewers safe. Making them a perfect quality control option for both commercial and home brewers!
Resources on Obliterative Bronchiolitis:
1. CDC - Flavorings-Related Lung Disease - NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic. (2017, October 03). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/flavorings/default.html
2. J.S. Fedan, J.A. Dowdy, K.B. Fedan, A.F. Hubbs, Popcorn worker's lung: In vitro exposure to diacetyl, an ingredient in microwave popcorn butter flavoring, increases reactivity to methacholine, Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Volume 215, Issue 1, 2006, Pages 17-22
3. Palmer, Scott M., et al. “Severe Airway Epithelial Injury, Aberrant Repair and Bronchiolitis Obliterans Develops after Diacetyl Instillation in Rats.” PLoS ONE, vol. 6, no. 3, 2011, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017644.
Evaluation of Beyers Chemical VDK+ Test Kit compared to GC and Distillation by independent labs
Students from Colorado State University's Fermentation Science & Technology program teamed up with Gilded Goat Brewing Co. and two independent labs to independently evaluate the Beyers Chemical VDK+ Test Kit. Download the poster below to see what they found out!
Survey of Brix and TA in kombucha
Download the white paper provided below to see how TA and Brix compare in over 50 different kombucha samples provided by producers at KombuchaKon 2019.
Quality Control Checkpoints for Beer
Download the poster provided below to see common quality control checkpoints in the beer brewing process.
How to use the VDK+ Test Strips?
Download the white paper below to see how you can use the VDK+ Test Strips to improve your beer quality program!
Why spend money on VDK+ Test Strips?
Download the whitepaper below to see why VDK+ Test Strips could save you money!