Michael Monsees was recently awarded an Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities (URCA) grant in the amount of $700. Michael is in his last year studying chemistry, in pursuit of a Bachelor of Science degree. He has been a member of the BioInnovaion lab since August, 2017, and has been researching and analyzing beer aroma compounds using gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS).

His grant funds a project that seeks to determine any differences in aroma profiles of hop products that have undergone processing methods. An excerpt of Michael's grant proposal is below:

Hops (Humulus lupulus) are selected to be used in brewing based largely on their aroma profile. Many brewers select their hops at the farm for peak freshness. Hop flowers (Figure 1) are selected by brewers using organoleptic methods. These flowers are then ground and pressed into pellets (Figure 2) for long-term storage and transport. An aroma profile that maintains consistency from the time of purchase to the time of delivery is desirable, but it is currently unknown how the pelletizing process affects this profile. These experiments seek to identify and quantify aroma profile changes due to pelletizing. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS) and solid-phase microextraction (SPME) will be used to determine aroma profiles of a single harvest of hops, acquired as both flowers and pellets from Hopsteiner, a leading provider of hops to the brewing industry. This investigation is desirable because changes to the aroma profile of hops may negatively affect the flavor and aroma of the beer produced.

Hop Flowers

Figure 1: Hop flower on the bine

Hop Pellets

Figure 2: Hop pellets