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370 J. Inst. Brew., November-December, 1985, Vol. 91,pp.

370-383

THE FOAMING PROPERTIES OF BEER

By C. W. Bamforth

(Bass PLC, 137 High Street, Burton-on-Trent. Staffordshire. England DEN 1JZ)

Received24 December 1984

Beer foam is reviewed interms ofthe physical principles which underly it, its measurement and the com ponents of beer which affects its formation
and stability. The influence of processing conditions on foam production, retention and cling are detailed.
Dispense is undoubtedly a pressure within a bubble is
stage of paramount import ance inversely proportional to its diameter
Key words: Beer constituent, in the presentation of a beer with not contain substances and gas tends to pass from smaller
cling, foam, measurement, review, a good head. How ever, to enable capable of entering into and to larger bubbles (dispropor-
stability survival of the head once formed, modifying the properties of the tionation). If gas dissolves in the
a beer should contain sufficient bubble walls. Such molecules liquid film, its passage between
foam-promoting agents and be are those possessing both bubbles is facilitated and hence
Introduction
deficient in foam-negative hydrophobic and hydrophilic foams containing oxygen and
An aspect of beer quality materials. Thus the malting and portions. These 'surfactants' nitrogen have smaller bubbles than
generally considered to be or brewing processes can, ifimproperly concentrate at surfaces with those con taining carbon dioxide.
major importance is the presence of adjusted, eliminate the likelihood their hydrophilic portions in Furthermore, the more gas there is
a stable and attractive head of foam. ofever obtaining a satisfactory contact with water and the in foam, the greater will be the
The majority of the beer-drinking head on beer. hydrophobic entities interacting disproportionation (actually at the
public appear to judge beer by eye with gas inside the bubble and high volume fraction of gas in beer
as much as by palate, and a good with the hydrophobic moieties foams it is not possible for the
head probably establishes the beer The Physics Of Foaming51- of other molecules in the bubbles to pack entirely as spheres
in the mind of the customer as being 126 bubble wall. Because there is the bubbles take the form of
fresh, refreshing and interesting. polyhedra separated by thin layers
Foams are colloids comprising less attraction between the
Indeed, it seems that foam directly hydrophobic groups than there of liquid phase called lamellae). It
influences the perceived gas bubbles dispersed in liquid; also seems that hydrophobic
is between the water molecules
organoleptic qualities ofbeer.95 the bulk density of the system
which the surface active particles adsorbed at the gas-
approaches that of a gas rather
molecules have interspersed, liquid interface will compress
than that of a liquid. The surface
area of the liquid is greatly
the surface tension is lower together as bubbles contract to
Even so, it is by no means a increased when bubbles are formed
than that of pure water. form barriers which prevent the
universal requirement that a beer within it which is in opposition to continuation ofdisproportionation.
should foam. Within Great Britain the surface tension that, like all
alone there are con siderable forms of energy, tends towards a b) Surface area is minimised
regional differences in customer minimum value. Various forces by the bubble adopting a
preference, such that the can counteract the surface spherical form. At a constant pressure, the
Northern drinker traditionally tension and render the bubbles c) Increased surface rigidity size of bubbles is directly pro
demands a thick, deep, adhesive stable, thus facilitating foam can be achieved by inter portional to the surface tension.
head through which to consume his survival: actions between surface Thus materials which lower surface
beer, whereas a native of London is active (and other) molecules tension also give smaller bubbles.
much more likely to regard anything in the bubble wall. For a liquid of constant surface
a) Surface energy can be
more than a suggestion of foam as tension, as the vapour pressure
reduced by concentration of
being an affront to the imperial d) A low rate of evaporation of increases, so too does the foam
materials of low surface
measure. Such intranational pre the liquid phase con tributes
tension in the bubble wall. stability. Thus, covering ofglasses
ferences are super-imposed on to foam stability.
Pure liquids cannot give ofbeer (e.g. in closed steins) will
those of a global scale, with the e) A high viscosity of the liquid
stable foams because they enhance foam stability. This is
Belgian, for example, favouring phase is an additional
do because a bubble is stable when
larger volumes offoam than may positive factor.
its internal pressure and external
be required, for example by an pressure are in balance.
Australian or an American. Smaller bubbles afford more
Both (d) and (e) serve to prevent stable foams because:
excessive loss of liquid from a) Smaller bubbles rise more
In this country the situation is between bubbles. Additionally, the slowly in liquid and there is
complicated both by demands of collision and coalescence of consequently, a greater
the law and by the variety of drinking bubbles is retarded in viscous opportunity for surface-
glasses used in public houses. Thus, liquids. active molecules to
in a brimful glass, it is a physical Foam formation is facilitated in accumulate within their
impossibility to dispense a full pint of liquids of low surface tension, as walls.
beer with a less energy needs to be expended and
to produce the foam. b) Liquid drains more slowly
sizeable head. The judgement of from the surface of smaller
the law has been that the The nature of the gas entering bubbles, as there is a
customer's preference should into the bubbles is very important. greater surface area for it to
be catered for.86 If he wishes
At a constant surface tension, the traverse.
for a reasonable head on his pint
when served in a brimful glass, then
the barman should accommodate
this, the head constituting an integral
part of the pint. Conversely, a
customer requiring a full pint of liquid
would be within his rights to demand
this from the same barman. Clearly
the brewer is left with the option of
serving beer in oversized glasses,
in which the law if not individual
idiosyncracy would be readily
satisfied, or limiting his dispense pro
cedures to those which can be
adjusted so as to present the
product according to the whim of the
customer.
However, it has been hypothesised that the major cause or prolonged
survival of protein foams is a high surface viscosity, which is due to the Blom's studies led him to conclude that foam collapses according to
cohesion between molecules in the bubble wall and which can be estimated first order kinetics (i.e. logarithmically with respect to time).21 He foamed
by oscillating discs. Such interactions may be between surface-active up beer in a separating funnel by bubbling CO2 through a porous
molecules (e.g. proteins) themselves, or may be through the cross-linking candle. Beer remaining unfoamed was drained off and the weight of beer
action ofa non-surface active substance, e.g. a metal ion. Alternatively, a reformed from the collapsing foam was determined at one minute intervals.
high surface viscosity results if the diffusion co-efficient ofthe surface active The foam stability was judged by the time taken
material is low, as may be the case with very high molecular weight proteins.
for one-halfof the foam to collapse to liquid beer.
Ross & Clark,105 introduced the concept ofthe Sigma (Z) value,
The surface viscosity ofmixed solutions will increase with respect to a measure of the average life-time of a foam bubble. It can be shown by
time, depending upon the rate at which surface interactions occur. calculation that Z is equal to 1-44 x foam half-life.

Apart from low surface tension and high surface viscosity, one other Most ofthe methods which are nowadays used in brewing are based on
factor contributing to stable foams is a high surface elasticitythat is, these original descriptions by Blom and Ross
the ability to withstand localised extensions or compressions of the & Clark. They have been reviewed by Comrie.31
surface film, which cause localised increases or decreases in surface ten Perhaps the most commonly used technique for foam
sion. For example, if there is a decline in the concentration of surface-active stability in the UK is that of Rudin106 who showed that, provided
molecules in a region of the bubble wall, e.g due to the stretching ofthe a sample of beer is foamed to 3-253-5 times its volume, over 90% of the
wall, then a rapid movement of surfactant molecules to the depleted collapse is logarithmic, indepen dent of the size of the foam tube. The
area (Gibbs Margyoni elasticity) will facilitate survival of the bubble. apparatus which he designed consists ofa glass cylinder (2-6-2-8 cm in
The size and relative hydrophobicity of the surface active molecules diameter and ca 35 cm long) with a sintered glass disc at the base. The tube
influences such elasticity.41 is calibrated at 5,7-5,10 and 32-5cm above thedisc. An attemperated
sample of degassed beer is run into the cylinder up to the 10 cm mark and
foamed up to the 32-5 cm mark with air-free CO2 in a period of 605 sees.
In fairness, little of the above theory can be truly be said to have After stopping the gas flow, foam collapse is measured from the movement of
influenced the, at times, apparently haphazard study of the factors reformed beer from the 5 to the 7-5 cm level. The value obtained (sees) is the
influencing beer foams. It is debatable whether a more detailed half-life of the foam or 'Rudin Head Retention Value' (HRV). Bishop el
appreciation of the complex physico-chemical principles underlying foam al.20 introduced certain modifications, notably the addition of a waterjacket
formation and structure, will greatly help the brewer in achieving stable heads to the column, enabling a constant temperature of200-2C.
on beers.

The Measurement Of Beer Foam


It should be appreciated that substantial volumes of liquid can drain
The simplest, most straightforward means for assessing the foaming from foams without noticeable foam col lapse. This is illustrated by the
properties ofbeer is purely subjectivepouring of the beer into a glass work ofMitchell et al. (see51) who found that foams from modified
such that a head is produced fol lowed by the qualitative judgement of its caseins were very stable although liquid drainage was extremely fast.
amount, texture, longevity and tendency to adhere (lace or cling) to the
glass surface. In the interpretation of another crucial aspect of beer quality, Also, in common with all other methods which demand degassing
namely flavour, every company appreciates the worth of trained panels of ofbeer before measurement, Rudin's procedure is
assessors, whosejudgements can be much more meaningful than whole of no value in assessing benefits to head due to gases, e.g.
collections of inde pendent analytical data. The same type of approach to nitrogen.32
the assessment offoam would appear logical. A third criticism of methods, such as that of Rudin, which demand
complete foaming ofthe beer sample, is that substances can enter into
and influence foam (positively or negatively) which would not contribute
Even so,, the study of individual flavour substances is critically to a foam dispensed under conditions experienced in trade. This may
dependent upon the availability of quantitative estimations of the easily result in the different ranking of beers in respect of foam stability in the
components involved. Similarly, for evaluation of the major individual laboratory as opposed to the outlet.
parameters of head quality, viz. foamability, head retention and lacing,
suitable quantitative tests are essential, so that the results of trials over Although the Rudin method is used widely, neither the Institute of
extended periods can be realistically interpreted. Brewing nor the European Brewery Convention make recommendations
for a foam method. The American Society ofBrewing Chemists, however,
recommend two.
Foam Formation

The foam formation (foamability) of a beer is largely dependent upon a) Foam Flashing Method
the gas content in the beer itselfor which is introduced into the beer at
Beer is expelled at increased pressure through a tiny orifice, in
dispense. Differences in the other components of beer should rarely, if ever,
which process it is converted entirely to foam, 200 ml of which is
be such as to prevent an adequacy of foam generation, thus methods for
collected in a calibrated vessel. The volume of beer drained from it
assessing the foamability ofbeer seem unwarranted.
in the first 90 sees is measured (B,). The total volume of beer
contained in the original 200 ml offoam is also measured (B2).
Foam formation in other systems, e.g. solution of pure proteins, has
been quite widely investigated; in such
experiments it is customary to measure the volume of foam produced
after a standard shaking regime (see51).
Foam FlashingValue= 2OO(i*2~Bl)
B2
Foam Stability (Head Retention)
Helm & Reichardt" measured foam stability in terms of the quantity The method assumes that the collapse rate is directly
of beer remaining in foam ten minutes after it was poured, as a proportion of related to the rate ofdrainage ofbeer from foam. How ever, Segel
the beer present in the initial foam. et al.,""/point out that the method gives
abnormally high foam densities (see later) and gives exceedingly
small bubbles, i.e. the foam has abnormal
372 bamforth: foaming properties of beer [J. Inst. Brew.
structure and measurements by the method have only limited rapidly (large rate constant, k,), with no significant degree of foam
validity. collapse. As the bubbles come into contact, drain age of liquid from
coalescing and bursting bubbles is more significant, if slower (small rate
b) Sigma-Value Method constant, k2). Clearly the latter phase is the more indicative of foam
Foam is generated by pouring beer into a special foam funnel. Beer stability, yet in the ASBC foam-flashing method, for example, the 90 sec
collecting in the funnel is drained away at a rate such that only foam is drainage period is in the initial phase of rapid liquid drain age. The transition
present in the funnel 90 seconds after the end ofpouring. At a stage (t sees) point between the two phases is more marked at lower temperatures as the
which must be 225-230 sees after the first drainage period, the volume of rate of bubble wall
beer drained from the foam (b) and the volume of beer still in the foam (c)
are measured collapse is reduced.
Segel et a/114 recommend the calculation ofa 'theoretical collapse
time' from the graphical determination of k, and

2-303 log b+c lnF0-k,t) K2


t2 = theoretical collapse time
L values of 105 sees, 95-105 sees and <95 sees
Fo = beer contained in foam at t=0
describe good, average and poor foams respectively. Segel el
t, = time oftransition point from k! reaction to k2 reaction
a/1l4 suggested that the values frequently do
not agree with foam stability as witnessed at dispense. These Such a procedure removes the difficulty ofjudging the 'end point' of
authors rightly point out that the consumer assesses the foam collapse, which is the time taken for the beer
itself, not the rate at which liquid beer drains from it. Any surface to appear through the foam when viewed from above and
measurement of foam drainage must be used with reservation. which is the basis of Hartong's method.52 Even
so, this concept remains perhaps one of the most attractive as a means
Another adaptation of the Blom principle has been des cribed by Pierce for assessing foam life in that it is more likely that this is the
& Purssell97 who foam up beer (200 ml) at 18-5C in a calibrated subconscious assessment of foam stability applied by most drinkers. It
narrow glass tube (of a sufficient diameter to eliminate wall effects) using a would seem valuable to develop Hartong's principle on beers dispensed in a
sintered glass base. CO2 is passed until a total volume of 600 ml is obtained standard manner, possibly adjusted so as to produce a constant depth of
and the collapse of the foam followed by measur ing the liquid level at 15 foam if variations in CO2 content between beers is to be avoided. A relatively
sec intervals for 500 sees. Plots of log (liquid remaining in foam) against crude device for the dispense ofseveral
time are constructed, such plots being linear for a period after an initial stage
of rapid decline in log value. The slope of this linear period is used as the bottles of beers simultaneously prior to foam assessment in this
index of foam stability. The authors themselves point out that linearity should manner has been described.122 Alternatively pouring
not necessarily be assumed and comparison of whole curves may be a more machines of the type described by Jackson & Bamforth prove useful for
reliable technique. In common with Rudin's method, the results obtained are small-pack beers. Foams have also been generated by the introduction
greatly dependent upon the porosity of the sinter chosen, which will ofcarborundum into beer.58 It is logical to assume that, using such a
influence bubble size. De Clerck & De Dijkcr's conclusions are that the standard dis pense, (corrected for variations in beer CO2 content),
stability of a foam specifications for head quality ofseparate products could be based upon the
time for dark spot appearance. Photometric

apparatus which seemingly records foam stability according to this


depends more on bubble fineness than it does on beer com position.36 principle have been described.90'110 Such devices
Pierce circumvents this problem by purchasing a remove the subjectivity from the determination.
large number of sinters from a single production batch and checking A series of electronic foam-measuring devices have been described.
these against a standard beer before use.96 How ever, there remains Most recently, the Carlsberg laboratories have developed an automated
the danger of blocking of sinters with analyser operating on Blom's original principle but using conductimetric
age. measurement
Fly & Chicoye42 have used the Pierce & Purssell tech nique, but of foam volume.104 Foam is produced by injecting beer through
measure both the volume offoam and volume of liquid reforming at intervals a 0-6 mm stainless steel nozzle. As the foam col lapses, the conductivity
over 50 min before plotting the ratio of these values against time. They note sensor traces the foam-liquid interface upwards. Rosendal & Rasmussen
that for 8-15 min the foam volume remains relatively constant whilst the liquid emphasise the importance of temperature over the range of 15-25C: whilst
volume changes. Thereafter, the converse applies. It was concluded that more foam is produced at the higher temperatures, stability is greater at the
the foam volume change is the parameter most closely reflecting bubble film lower temperatures. Furthermore, at the lower carbonation levels employed
stability and accordingly they measure the above ratio at 20 min. in the analyser as compared to the manual Blom method, it was found that
the foam half-life was directly proportional to the amount offoam produced.

Segel and co-workers114 were the first to refer to foam drainage


occurring as two successive and abruptly separated first order reactions with
the rate ofthe first being significantly greater than that of the second. Clearly the requirement for such an apparatus will depend upon the
Immediately after pouring, a very wet foam is formed consisting of spherical frequency with which foam half-lives need to be ascertained, which will
bubbles in a continuous liquid phase, a great deal of liquid beer being trapped depend on the number of qualities ofbeer produced for analysis within a
between the bubbles; this soon drains from the foam. Upon standing, liquid laboratory.
drains from the bubble walls themselves and as they grow thinner some walls Gales' analyser follows reformulation of the beer foam interface
break and coalesce, freeing further liquid. Thus at any instant liquid drainage using light as opposed to conductivity.44 It consists of a glass cylinder
will be a combination of these different processes and the net drainage will along which are spaced at intervals fifteen light-emitting diodes and
not closely correspond to foam collapse. Immediately after foam form ation, accompanying photoelectric detectors. Beer is poured into a funnel, which
the bubbles are relatively widely separated and there is a substantial amount regulates the entry of beer into the cylinder, minimising pouring differences.
of trapped beer which drains away When beer enters the cylinder it is entirely in the form of foam. As this
collapses, a beer-foam interface moves up the vessel, the rate ofwhich
movement is
Vol. 91, 1985] bamforth: foaming properties of beer 373
difference between the level of the bubble size. Whereas
tracked over a period of 2 minutes, foam ring at the start and after 4 min single aspiration, which is perhaps coarse, bladdery foams
culminating in a digital readout gives an estimate of primary cling. mimicked by only a small have large
ofprogress. Comparison of the volume of proportion of the drinking bubbles, the thicker,
The commercially available public!).133 Use is made of the creamier foams with greater
foam after 4 min with that at the
N1BEM meter, devised by start gives a measure of collapse radiometer haze meter, with appeal have smaller
Klopper,77 measures foam readings of light scattered at bubbles. Glenister et
rate.
collapse rather than drainage various points on the glass being a/.48 assessed
and seems sounder-based as a averaged. Precision, how ever, is bubble size using a camera
means of assessing foam stability. very poor and the method is linked through a monocular
The meter follows the time taken laborious. Interestingly, the authors microscope which
for foam to col lapse over distances claim that adhesion is much greater incorporated a scale for
of 10, 20 and 30 mm, a principal first when foam is produced by flashing measure ment of bubbles.
advanced by de Clerck & de as opposed to a hand-pour and that Fine-textured foam consists
Lacing (Adhesion, Cling) temperature seems to be
Dijker.37 A series ofelectrodes of bubbles ca 0-2 mm
are lowered into the foam, and as Methods for assessing cling unimportant to cling. Jackson has
diameter, whereas coarser
foam collapses, contact is broken range from the qualitative, made the same observation.63
foams contain a proportion of
and a motor linked through the whereby the extent of adhesion is
larger bubbles, diameter
electrodes lowers them so as to re- recorded photographi cally,47 to Jackson & Bamforth64 oj2mm. The smaller the
establish contact. The meter has the use of quite sophisticated described a quantitative pro bubbles the whiter the
been used with a range of foam- photometric apparatus.76 cedure for measurement of total
generation systems, which will lacing which is highly reproducible, foam.114
have a major effect on the values Glenister & Segcl47 rapid and involves low-cost In a non-beer system,
obtained. Using the ASBC foam- presented the important concept apparatus. A known volume of
flashing means of head generation, Mita et al89 calculated
of primary and secondary cling, degassed beer is introduced into a
co-efficients of variation are 2%. from photographs the mean
the former being that which is simple glass apparatus and a
Collapse times increase as the CO2 bubble size in foams
deposited by the original head of head (2 cm) produced by the con
content of beer increases, although generated from wheat
foam in a freshly-filled glass and the trolled injection of CO2. proteins. From a measurement
the range of CO2 levels found latter being that deposited when the Subsequently, beer is drained in of the change in reciprocal
between batches of the same beer customer removes beer from the
stages to simulate drinking and the mean bubble volume with
is unlikely to be significant. It has glass at intervals. Clearly each is
been reported that anomalous laced foam surviving is recovered respect to time they could
important and a fully satisfactory
readings are obtained from beers as a solution in water. The total assess coalescence rate. An
method must take account of both.
ofhigh foam-stability and high dissolved foam material is even more satisfactory, if
Most procedures reported to date sophisticated, technique for
bitterness, due to cone formation. 6 measured from the optical
take account of only primary lacing asses sing bubble size and
Furthermore, it was found that, absorbance of the solution at 230
and should only be con sidered for predicting foam stability seems
as the foam surface does not fall nm and from this value a Lacing
use if they can be adapted to to be by scanning electron
uniformly, significant fluctuations of Index is calculated which relates
measure secondary lacing as well. microscopy of freeze-dried
up to 20 sec can occur between closely to the amount of foam
This eliminates methods involving foams.72
measurements on the same which laced the glass. The
measure ment of the height of the
beer.128 Significant between- principle of the technique is
adhering foam residue74 or
machine errors have been applicable to beer dispensed in any
suitable mode, e.g. bottled beer can (iii) Foam density. This is the
reported in inter-laboratory
be dispensed into drinking glasses volume ofbeer contained in
collaborative trials.121
measurement of turbidity due to by stan dard pouring procedures and a given volume of
foam adhering to a slide the liquid drained out using foam.114 The higher the
introduced into the foam.57
value, the better the mouth-
Klopper's method,76 feel. Beer is poured into a
Another conductimetric method, based on the lowering ofa narrow-bore tubing. measuring cylinder and the
designed for the study of protein photocell into a glass and total volume of foam plus beer
foams, is reported by Kato et estimating the area ofglass (VT) and the volume of liquid
Other Aspects ofFoam Quality
al.69 They describe the surface covered by foam could be beer (VB) are measured. Then
importance of ionic strength to the adapted to measure secondary Apart from the rate of foam the foam is collapsed and
conductivity of foams, which is cling; how ever reproducibility bubble collapse and the extent of the total beer volume (VBT)
not discussed by Klopper.77 may be a problem, and the lacing, the customer might be is measured.
Before leaving a survey of apparatus is costly. expected to judge a foam by its
methods for assessing foam 'creaminess', within which can
stability, the comprehensive A reflection method has been independently be considered y

procedure of Ault and co- reported which does take into whiteness, bubble size, foam
y
workers10 should be account secondary cling (although density and foam viscosity.114 Foam density= -^
beer is removed in a
mentioned. This method would r
seem to have a number ^
(i) Whiteness can be assessed
ofattractions insofar as it
using a suitable reflect-
incorporates an apparatus ofsimilar v
ometer.48 These authors V
diameter to that ofa beer glass, it
found a weak, inverse
does not involve the use ofsinters
corre lation between the The exercise can be
or porous candles and it takes
colour of beer and the repeated after various time
account of bubble size, as well as
whiteness of foam. For beers inter vals to measure the
assessing foamability and lacing.
ofsimilar colour, the whiter change in foam density on
The beer sample is introduced into
foams are likely to meet with standing.
the calibrated apparatus under
greater customer approval.
counter pressure without foaming
and the head is produced
instantaneously by the sudden (ii) Bubble size. Better
injection of a fixed volume of CO2 understanding ofbeer foam
under pressure through a jet stability may be afforded
accurately standardised to regulate through a closer study of the
bubble size. The volume of head events immediately following
produced is read off and the dispense, chiefly changes in
374 bamforth: foaming properties of bger [J. Inst. Brew.
Generation of foam by injection of CO2 gives abnormally high and collected prior to their analysis. Undoubtedly the materials which do
foam densities and atypical foam drainage, thus pouring methods enter into normal foams will be present in such isolates, but substances of
for foam generation are recommended. lesser relevance may also be present to confuse and mislead the
investigator. Clearly foam tower type experiments still have a useful function,
(iv) Foam viscosity. The method developed48 involves providing only realistic proportions of beer are converted into foam for
measurement ofthe time taken for small glass beads of 5 mm collection.
diameter to descend through a foam of known depth. By insertion of
the calculated bead velocity into Stokes' equation, the viscosity of With an eye to these criticisms, the potential foam-active substances
the foam can be ascertained. It is found that the viscosity increases for which have been studied in beer can be reviewed.
up to 4-5 min after pouring, probably due to drainage of liquid and
stiffening of the bubble walls, dependent upon iso-a-acids and Polypeptides
metal ions (see later). The out come is the ability of the foam to
The literature on foam proteins is littered with references to such
lace. Thereafter, as the bubbles coalesce, enlarge and collapse, the
viscosity declines.
entities as 'proteoses'17 and 'proteids',127 terms invented to
describe the nitrogeneous products of proteo- lysis formed during malting
and brewing. It is this author's view that such terminology only serves to
introduce con fusion, if not an air of mysticism, into the science and affords no
improvement to the use of the extensively used descriptors protein,
Foam Strength polypeptide and peptide to describe increasing states ofprotein degradation. It
is perhaps wisest to restrict the term protein to represent undegraded mole
Another useful concept introduced by Glenister and co-workers*7 is cules with an independent and unique identity, for example a molecule of an
that offoam strength, which is a measure of the ability of beer foam enzyme, in the knowledge that such a pro tein can still be substantially smaller
to persist and cling in the presence of inhibitors. Increasing quantities of than a polypeptide, if the latter description is restricted to parts ofproteins or
inhibitor, e.g. deter gent, are poured into separate glasses prior to dispense of else their degradation products. Another definition maintains that a peptide
beer. The foam strength value is estimated as the highest dosage of contains up to 10 amino acid residues, thereafter becoming a polypeptide,
inhibitor which the foam can tolerate with no apparently adverse effect. Clearly which becomes a protein when it contains over 100 amino acids.68 From
the method could be made especially useful through its use with quantitative
these con siderations it seems that virtually all of the 'protein' material in beer
pro
ought to be referred to as polypeptide.

cedures for foam stability and cling. The method could form the basis
ofa technique for estimating the worth ofdifferent
preparations of foam-protectors, e.g. propylene glycol
alginate, as well as identifying the most suitable detergents and rinse- The earliest systematic studies on beer polypeptides in
aids for use in outlets.
relation to foaming can be traced to the separate foam tower work of
Gray and Stone50 and Klopper.74 In par
Beer Composition And Foaming
ticular, Klopper discovered that the foam fraction was enriched in Lundin
Whilst the contribution which many separate com ponents of beer can fractions A and B, i.e. all but the very smallest peptides.
make, either constructively or destruc tively to its head has been
investigated repeatedly, at times we still seem to be no nearer to A structural assessment of foaming polypeptides awaited the work of
answering the question of whether stable foams are irretrievably linked to Anderson and Harris,2 who used newly- introduced gel permeation
the presence in beer of one or a few special types of foam active sub chromatographic packing (Sephadex G-25) to fractionate beer polypeptides
stances or alternatively whether the balance of a greater or lesser according to size. Thus 5 separate polypeptide fractions were isolated,
number of compounds of diverse chemical structure determines foam the material of highest molecular weight (> 5000) affording the greatest head
stability. It is still unclear whether a shortage of one of these positive retention when added back to diluted beer (a favoured means for investigating
contributors can be com pensated by the increased presence of another, or the action offoam frac tions as improvements to foam stability may be
whether optimum levels ofeach is necessary. In short, we know a lot about the detected which might not be obvious in whole beers which generally contain a
sorts of materials which ought to contribute to beer foam, but very little about vast excess of foam-promoting material). Polypeptides retarded by the column
whether such substances actually do have a role to play. but eluted early had a lesser stabilising effect, whilst the two fractions eluting
last (lowest MW) introduced no additional foam stability. Clearly foam stability
declined in proportion to decreases in molecular size. The first three fractions
contained carbohydrate in addition to polypeptide. The amount of
As beer is a mixture of surface-active compounds, these will compete carbohydrate also declined with respect to retention time.
for places in the bubble walls, which may result in foams of stability
other than might be expected.100 Iso lation ofa substance from beer
which gives a stable foam by
itselfneed not necessarily imply that it stabilises the foam in poured
beer.100 Furthermore, increasing the quantity of a component in beer Anderson3 further fractionated the most foam-stabilising isolate
may not necessarily benefit head, even if from Scphadex on Stabifix (xerogel) and obtained a fraction of 35%
that substance actually contributes to the foam, for it may already be carbohydrate and 65% polypeptide. The carbohydrate comprised glucose,
present in sufficient quantity.100 arabinosc and xylose, sug gesting endosperm cell walls as a possible source
A further cautionary note, as mentioned earlier, is that most of the of at least part of the molecules, a tantalising possibility made further plausible
by the likely presence of ferulic acid in the foam complexes. Anderson
studies of beer composition in relation to beer foam have relied upon
postulated oxidative cross-linking of such complexes, presumably through
methods for the assessment of foam stability which incorporate
ferulate, during foam formation. Closely similar materials were recovered
unrealistic modes of foam generation. For example, the Rudin method
utilises 100% foam generation, which is thorougly at odds with the from barley and wheat flour, in the latter case with galactose replacing
volumes of foam which are customarily generated during beer dispense in glucose. The barley complex could be extracted into cold water and resisted
trade. The danger is that low surface-activity materials may enter into heating to 90C for several minutes.3 No barley variety afforded
and stabilise foams, materials which would remain in the bulk beer specially high yields.
phase when beer is dispensed conventionally.59

Bateson and Leach11 fractionated beer polypeptides


Such considerations apply equally to foam tower experi using isoelectric focusing, their assessment being that foam ments, in which copious
quantities of foam arc generated stability was enhanced as the isoelectric point (pi) increased
Vol. 91,1985] bamforth: foaming properties of beer 375
Wenn found no similarity through an increase in bulk
between the polypeptides from viscosity arc likely to be heavily
from 4 to 7, whereas the least
wort and beer and those ofbarley outweighed in practical terms
haze-resistant beers contained and malt,13 which seem because of reduced rates of beer
rather more of the most acidic
ingly contradicts the observations filtration and the increased risk
polypeptide, which was also richest
of Grabar & Daussant that antigenic ofprecipitation.
in polyphenol and which was components in beer foam originate
highest in beers brewed using high directly from barley hordeins.49 Any surface-active molecule
mash temperatures. Unfortunately, However, the antigenic deter attached to polysaccharide
these authors used ampholyte of pi
minants in foam may only be small should serve to introduce the latter
range 3-6; thus the polypeptides of proportions of the barley into foam. Conse
pi 6-8 which they stated to be the proteins.'30 quently, alginate esters may find
most basic in beer could still in The theme of glycoproteins was their way into foams in this way,
reality be a mixture of higher pi further pursued by Roberts.100 as would fatty acyl-
polypeptides. Polypeptidcs were precipitated dextrins.125 One hitherto
from beer using uncon-
either ammonium sulphate or a 100
sidered foaming material of this type
This shortcoming was realised mixture of zinc chloride with is glycolipid. For
by Wenn, who separated 200
ethanol. The high mol. wt. materials example, digalactosyl diglyceride,
extracts of barley, malt, wort and a common lipid in cereal
subsequently recovered by dialysis grains,45 enhances foam
beer by isoelectric focus ing in 300

thin layers ofSephadex gel.129 were passed through Concanavalin Diflolactosyl diglycende (fig) stability when added to
His findings were that A-Sepharose, an affinity gel which Fig. I. Influence of glycolipid on beers in
few of the polypeptidcs resolved binds a-linked poly-saccharides and Foam Stability. Digalactosyl low concentrations, although not
oligosaccharides of glucose or digly-ccridc (DGG). as a at higher levels (Fig. I). The
from wort and beer can be traced solution in benzene, was added
mannose, including those linked to purported foam-causing
back to barley, but that the profiles to degassed beer (50 nil)
non-carbohydrate substances. glycopolypeptides in beer
from wort and beer are very similar. devoid of alcohol, and
Roberts recovered at least 20 equilibrated for 5 mins prior to may constitute partially-
The major fractions, which were
different polypeptidcs, mostly of pi determination of HRV by the degraded glycoproteins
brown in colour, were acidic and
method of Rudin. originating from grist materials or
were present in malt, but not ca 4, each one staining for
Appropriate controls,
carbohydrate; this was mainly alternatively, could conceivably be
barley, suggesting their possible omitting DGG but containing
glucosan, with traces of pentosan and benzene, were included. produced during kilning and
formation during kilning. These
mannan. Similar materials were copper-boiling. Thus Bishop18
isolates were further sub-divided by
separated from malt, wheat, maize, suggested that, during kilning,
chromatography on Scphadex G- glucose and glucans cross link with
rice and barley, and in every case,
50, which showed that the entire polypeptides in melanoidin-type
isolated glycopoly-peptides improved A range of purified
span of MW5 to 30,000 was reactions and for many years it
Rudin half-lives by up to 30%. glycoproteins was shown to
covered. has been part of brewing dogma
stabilise foams in proportion
that kilning should be at the
to their content of
highest possible temperature
Wenn succeeded in resolving As umyloglucosidasc released carbohydrate. Roberts
commensurate with required
8 polypeptide fractions by glucose from the complex and postulates that the
colour.
isoelectric focusing, all of which simultaneously reduced foam-life, it polypeptide portion ofthe com
contained at least 32% was concluded that the major plex, being surface active,
carbohydrate, mainly polymeric carbohydrate bound up with enters into the bubble wall,
The foam-active species generated
glucose. The most acidic polypcptide was a-linked dextrin. with the hydrophilic in kilning might also
However, amyloglucosidase- polysaccharide portion
fraction contained ferulic acid. be melanoidins derived from
treatment caused only a 7% drop in residing in the liquid between
Fractions 1 to 6, covering pi's 4-5 monosaccharides and amino
Rudin half-life, whereas the the bubbles. Through
to 9-5, were 47-69% polypeptidc increased local viscosity, the
acids.65 A range of amino
and all bound to silica gel. protease subtilisin destroyed foaming acid-sugar combinations
due to glycoprotein virtually completly relatively large carbohydrate
Fractions 7 and 8 (pi <4-5) did not portion reduces the rate of were found to give foam-
proving the greater importance of the
bind to silica gel and neither did drainage of liquid between, stabilising products upon
polypeptide portion. Furthermore,
they stain for protein. Even so, they and therefore out of, the heating. How ever, the longer was
amylopectin does not influence foam
con tained N, representing 60-70% bubbles. Furthermore, the boilingcontinued, the less effective
properties when added to beer. were the foam stabilising
of the weight of the original polysaccharide lining to the
Roberts stressed that other properties of the melanoidins and
complex: they seem to be the bubbles hinders the
glycoprotcins not binding to Con the more prone they were to
products of melanoidin reac redissolution of other surface-
canavalin may be even more foam- induce hazes in beers.
stabilising; clearly these may include active molecules from the
tions occurring during kilning. walls.100 Pierce has
Fractions 1-6 gave much more polypeptide-P-glucan complexes. It seems that melanoidins
stable foams than did 7 and hypothesised that the
stabilise foam through ionic
8.130 The discovery that carbohydrate portion of
interactions, presumably
glycoprotein may protect the
the most foam-stable polypeptides between negative charges on
polypcptide moiety from
in beer arc relatively basic is at melanoidins and positive
precipitation during mashing,
odds with conclusions drawn for charges on peptides. Thus
boiling and fermentation.96
many non-beer sodium chloride, which will
proteins that foam stability is interfere with ionic bonding,
maximal at the isoelectric negates
point,56 where solubility is at
its lowest. One might have Far higher concentrations
predicted polypeptides with pi's of polysaccharidc will enter
in the region of beer pH (~4) into foam through interaction
with a surface-active material
would have been particularly
prevalent in beer foam. It may be than would otherwise be the
that precipitation of polypeptides by case. Although there are
chemical constituents other than reports ofbeneficial effects
H+ (e.g. isohumulone) is of ofgums on foam
rather more significance. stability,1'7134 the beneficial
effects on this parameter
376 bamforth: foaming properties of beer [J. Inst. Brew.