9th European Beer and Health Symposium
Prof. Alexander Jäger

Prof. Alexander Jäger

Alexander Jäger is professor in Microbiology, Bioenergy and Brewing Technology at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Wels, and Honorary Doctor at Estonian University of Life Science Tartu.

Prof. Jäger is long time Vice Dean Research and head of the department of Chemistry and Technology; and founder and head of the research and teaching Brewery Wels. More than 1000 students from 30 countries and 5 continents have attended brewing courses here. He is “father” of 4 Craft beer breweries in Austria.

Apart from that, he is double Austrian State Champion in the Marathon in his age group.

Alcohol-free beer as carbohydrate-electrolyte solution for sportsmen

Generally, beer is regarded as an ideal thirst quencher. Especially alcohol-free beer is promoted among athletes as a fitness drink or suitable for sportsmen. Rules for real sports drinks were given for the first time by the “Report of the Scientific Committee on Food on composition and specification of food intended to meet the expenditure of intense muscular effort, especially for sportsmen of the European Commission.” Two factors that have been considered to contribute most to the onset of fatigue in exercise are the depletion of the body’s carbohydrate reserve and the onset of dehydration, as a consequence of the loss of water and electrolytes in sweat. Fitness drinks have to meet these requirements.

We have shown that most alcohol-free yeast clouded beers are isotonic when analyzed by HPLC and Ion chromatography to determine the content of mineral salts and carbohydrates. But the results also showed that for use as „real sport or fitness drink” the sodium content is far too low. For so-called „carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions” (C.E.S.) which could replace the loss of electrolytes including sodium the EC advises a range from 335 – 1470 kJ Carbohydrate L-1CES drink and sodium concentrations of 20-50 mmol L-1(460 – 1150 mg L-1).

We showed that it is possible to reach the level of sodium recommended by means of the addition of different sodium salts or combinations of them. 5 different sodium salts and combinations of the salts were added to alcohol-free, yeast-clouded beer. These spiked beers were blind tested for flavor impairments. Blind tasting was performed according to DIN 10959 with increasing concentrations of salts. Samples were classified as sensory, not perceivable, perceivable and disturbing taste. The blind tasting of the spiked beers showed that at sodium concentrations of 20 mmol most salts were perceivable but no “disturbing” taste disturbing. A mixture of two of the salts had the highest detection threshold. The results are similar for beer with alcohol.

In summary, it can be said that it is possible to produce a sodium enriched beer without any impairment of taste. If this beer is non-alcoholic it meets all requirements for carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions” (C.E.S.) and is a real and tasty alternative electrolyte drink


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