Healthy and beer don’t usually end up together, but thanks to researchers at the National University of Singapore, that could change.
The researchers were able to create a new sour beer that contains the probiotic strain called Lactobacillus paracasei, taken from human intestines. The probiotic can neutralize toxins and viruses and even help to keep the immune system in check.
“The health benefits of probiotics are well known. While good bacteria are often present in food that have been fermented, there are currently no beers in the market that contain probiotics,” said Chan Mei Zhi Alcine, a student from the Food Science and Technology Program at NUS, in a press release.
Chan drinks dairy-based probiotic beverages every day, but it took a while to develop her own recipe for the probiotic beer. Under Liu Shao Quan, an associate professor in the Food Science and Technology program, Chan spent nine months perfecting the recipe so the beer had the optimal count of live probiotics.
“Developing sufficient counts of live probiotics in beer is a challenging feat as beers contain hop acids that prevent the growth and survival of probiotics,” Chan said. “As a believer of achieving a healthy diet through consuming probiotics, this is a natural choice for me when I picked a topic for my final-year project.”
Chan created the beer through a series of modifications to her recipe. She bred the probiotics and yeast within pure cultures, then changed the conventional brewing and fermentation processes to maintain and grow the probiotic count.
“For this beer, we used a lactic acid bacterium as a probiotic micro-organism. It will utilise sugars present in the wort to produce sour-tasting lactic acid, resulting in a beer with sharp and tart flavours,” Chan said. “The final product, which takes around a month to brew, has an alcohol content of about three and a half percent.”
The researchers filed a patent for the beer. Liu and Chan said they are hopeful to work with the beer industry to bring the beer to consumers.
“The general health benefits associated with consuming food and beverages with probiotic strains have driven demand dramatically. In recent years, consumption of craft or specialty beers has gained popularity too,” Liu said. “Alcine’s invention is placed in a unique position that caters to these two trends. I am confident that the probiotic gut-friendly beer will be well-received by beer drinkers, as they can now enjoy their beers and be healthy.”