The international Centre for Brewing and Distilling hosts a wide range of research across all aspects of brewing and distilling.
Key research themes and selected projects include:
The flavour stability and instances of sporadic haze formation of beer is investigated to understand the processes behind them and what can be done to improve them. A wide range of analytical techniques and assays can be used to measure the molecular differences between samples to gain insight into the underlying causes.
Key contact : Dr Dawn Maskell
Kinetic models of distillery fermentations
By understanding the behaviour of fermentations used in Scotch whisky and using this to produce a kinetic model will allow distillers to improve the consistency and quality of the New Make Spirit, which in time becomes whisky. This multidiscipliary and industrially foused project will ultimately lead to producing a 'fermentation control chart' for Scotch whisky distilleries.
Key contact : Dr Drawn Maskell
Novel distillation techniques are developed within the ICBD, first at the lab scale for exploratory investigations and optimisation, before being scaled up and tested at the pilot distillery. The insights gained during these investigations and scale up allow the techniques to be rapidly adopted by commercial distilleries working at large scale.
Key contact : Dr Annie Hill
Scottish Botanicals Library
The ICBD also hosts the Scottish Botanicals Library, a curated collection of Scottish ingredients used in drinks production. By careful study of how the individual botanicals behave before and after distillation, it is possible to inform producers about how the botanical will perform without requiring lots of trial and error. The information held by the botanical library is expanding to provide safety information on all the botanicals to aid in proving drinks are safe to consume.
Key contacts : Dr Annie Hill and Dr Matthew Pauley
Raw materials and Brewhouse processing
The raw materials being fed into the brewing or distilling process have a key influence on the final product, however research often overlooks this critical aspect of production. Within ICBD research is being carried out into the influence of the raw materials and inital processing on the final product, as well as investigating novel materials and processing technqiues.
Key contact : Dr Calum Holmes
Whisky and Brewery by-products
Both brewing and distilling produce large quantities of natural by products which have traditionally been used for animal feed, fertiliser or waste. However there are many useful bioproducts which can be better utalised while simultaneously creating a more sustainable process and potentially deriving more value from by-products. Research within ICBD develops novel techniques to process and separate valuable products, and scale these up to technqiues suitable for use at commerical scales.
Key contact : Dr Jane White
Yeast, fermentation and beer quality
Yeast is an essential component in beer fermentation, however there is still much to be understood and optimised in order to efficiently produce high quality and stable beer. Research is underway to investigate dehydration and rehydration of yeast used in brewing and the impact this has on the final product.
Key contact : Dr David Jenkins