Breakthrough barley research TRENDS INNOVATIONS A joint research effort between Heineken and Carlsberg has resulted in the development of Null-Lox barley, which produces beer that stays fresh longer and has improved foam stability. World ofHeineken 41 winter 2009 "This is a breakthrough innovation, because it prolongs the freshness of beer," says Heineken's Research Innovation Director Lex Ronteltap. Flavour stability is a key - any changes to flavour during distribution of storage can impact on the consumer's perception of the conistency and quality of the beer. When a beer is beginning to go stale, it takes on a papery, cardboard-like flavour. This flavour originates from a chemical compound known as Nonenal, caused by the malting barley enzyme Lipoxygenase. "Blocking the formation of this enzyme prevents formation of the chemical compound, Nonenal, and therefore stops the emergence of the cardboard-like flavour," says Lex. "This helps to prolong the fresh character of beer." THE PATH TOWARDS NULL-LOX During the research, a large-scale screening programme was initiated to select barley plants that lacked the ability to produce the malting barley enzyme Lipoxygenase. This screening resulted in the Null-Lox barley. Field studies show that Null-Lox barley displays no difference to other barleys in key characteristics such as disease resistance, maturation time and yield. Elaborate industrial malting and brewing trials also demonstrated that the Null-Lox barley varieties can be easily processed. In the trial stage, two sets of beer were produced: one with Null-Lox malt, and a reference beer with regular malt. Taste tests by Heineken's Flavour Research Panel showed no difference between the two, while the Nonenal concentration in the Null-Lox beer remained well below that of the reference beer during storage. The taste test showed that beer made using Null-Lox barley aged at a significantly slower rate than the reference beer. The Null-Lox barley also results in beer that has better foam stability compared to beer made from regular barley. 50,000 TONNES AND GROWING Currently, a series of Null-Lox barley varieties have been added to the official European variety list. In 2009, Heineken produced 50,000 tonnes of Null-Lox barley, which will be used for the production of 2.2 million hectolitres ofHeineken lager beer. Null-Lox barley is presently produced in France, Greece, Austria and New Zealand. Plans exist to expand to other countries, among them the UK and Germany, in 2010. Heineken continues to cooperate in working to develop even better performing varieties. lex.ronteltap@heineken.com

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World of Heineken | 2008 | | pagina 154