The beer lab is run out of Sound Bio, a community lab for startups and biotech enthusiasts in Seattle, WA.
We can do a variety of analytical tests on beer, wort, and water to ensure quality control. It is also important to compare expected vs. actual values so that you know if something went wrong, or need to revise the recipe. We follow ASBC (American Society for Brewing Chemists) methods for analytical tests in the lab when possible and use the CDR BeerLab for our portable analytical services, allowing for you to see the test results in real time at your brewery or workplace. The CDR BeerLab has been thoroughly tested and the results are correlated with standard reference methods. Each test is measured relative to a standard, giving highly reliable and repeatable results. Disclaimer: I am not TTB-certified (that requires 30 credits of chemistry and I only have 17 [sad face]).
Bacteria and wild yeast have ways to sneak into your beer and ruin the flavor and/or appearance (or make it taste amazing in certain styles!). We understand the possible sources of contamination in the brewery and what types of microbes can cause particular off-flavors and aromas. There are a variety of molecular biology services we provide that allow you to test whether you have contamination and identify the beer spoiler if you do via a species ID test using PCR with ITS (fungal/yeast) or 16S (bacterial) specific primers. We also may be able to identify the strains in a complex mixed culture with next generation sequencing upon request.
In addition to identifying microbes using molecular biology methods, we do various microbiological assays to test for contaminants or to identify that wild yeast you captured. In addition to testing beer and wort, we can swab various sources at your brewery to help troubleshoot where the contaminant is coming from. We can help you do contaminant testing on a regular basis (including a service call to your brewery that follows aseptic technique as shown in this video) to prevent any sneaky microbes messing up your beer. Besides contamination services, you may want to use our microbiology services if you had for instance, made a great barrel aged beer and want to isolate pure cultures for testing individual strains. In addition, you can try to identify acid-producing microbes yourself with our DIY beer contamination test kit.
Yeast health is an essential component for a successful fermentation. Using the portable Nexcelom X2 Cellometer we can travel directly to your brewery or workplace to perform yeast viability and vitality tests quickly and reliably to ensure your yeast will make the best beer possible. How does your yeast behave during the entire fermentation process? We’d like to help you establish baseline fermentation metrics that make a healthy fermentation so that you can monitor future fermentations to compare against. In the long run it can be less costly and more proactive to identify a problem before it goes through the entire pipeline all the way to the packaging phase.
We can now do small scale yeast propagations for homebrew (5+ gallons) pitches for maximum freshness. In addition, we have the capacity to do one pro pitch every week (up to 10 bbl, please get in touch if interested and please allow a 2 week lead time). Only the best ingredients are used and all early step ups are done in a laminar flow hood to guarantee sterility. Along with viability testing, contamination tests are performed on the final culture to ensure there are no other microbes present.
We currently offer a variety of growth media types for doing brewing science (more agar plates to come!), including a DIY beer contamination test kit for acid-producing microbes.
If you want to bank your yeast or bacterial strain, we have a -80C freezer you can use to do that!
This is an experimental program that is designed to give you a comprehensive look at your beer and the yeast you used to make it…linked with a flavor profile.