Insects In Beer


I haven’t noticed a lot of discussion on this subject lately at the club meetings but you never know.  Our regular meetings can get rowdy enough so to head off any heated debate, I offer this article which describes the scientific method of making such a determination.  This should settle any arguments before they start.


While doing some research I came across the following abstract.  It brings so many questions and weird images to mind that I don’t really know where to begin, so I’ll just offer it with a single thought: Wonder if it’d work with humans, too?

Analytical Methods to Determine Whether Insects Detected in Draught Beer Entered During Packaging or in the Market.

Hiroyuki Nakagiri, Isao Ishida, Naomi Yoshimura, Shuso Sakuma and Masahiro Kowaka, Kirin Brewery Company, Ltd., Technical Center, 1-17-1, Namamugi, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama 230, Japan

J. Am. Soc. Brew. Chem. 54(2):67-70, 1996

Occasionally, insects are detected in beer in the market.  When an insect is detected in pasteurized beer, it is now possible to determine whether it entered the beer during the packaging process or in the market by measuring the catalase activity of the insect.  However, this method is unreliable when used to analyze unpasteurized beer.  The change in activity of a variety of insect enzymes when an insect is soaked in beer was investigated.  A certain degree of cholinesterase and acetyl cholinesterase activity was detected in fresh insects.  These activities decreased when the insects were soaked in beer.  The length of time the insect had been soaked in beer could be estimated by measuring the residual activity of these insect enzymes.

** Hell, I’m a homebrewer.  I don’t worry about all that bio-chemistry crap.  I just throw 4 oz of ants (or roaches, for a stout) in the pot with the finishing hops and let nature take its course. 😉

Chuck Shephard

Gleaned from the Heart Of The Valley Homebrewing Club newsletter   (Willamette Valley Oregon)

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