Probiota Asia 2017

Booze with benefits? The challenges scientists overcame to create a probiotic beer

By Cheryl Tay contact

- Last updated on GMT

Assoc. Prof. Liu and student Alcine Chan.
Assoc. Prof. Liu and student Alcine Chan.
The National University of Singapore academic behind what is believed to be the world's first probiotic beer has revealed the considerable challenges that had to be overcome for good bacteria to survive in booze.

Speaking in Singapore at our inaugural Probiota Asia summit, associate professor Liu Shao Quan elaborated on the process of developing a probiotic beer, which we reported on​ earlier this year.

While probiotics in food and drink are most commonly found in products such as infant formula, fermented milk products, and more recently, non-dairy foods such as cereal, this is the first time they have been successfully incorporated into an alcoholic beverage.

Liu explained that he had decided to develop the beer — a sour Belgian lambic-style beer — due to the growing trend of functional food and beverages.

In addition, the consumption of certain types of alcohol in moderation has been shown to have health benefits; for instance, red wine contains health-boosting antioxidants and resveratrol.


Liu detailed the challenges faced in developing the beer: as probiotics are live microbes, he and Chan had to ensure they were not killed off by stress from the beer’s ethanol content, hop acids, and other acids such as lactic acid.

In a conventional brew, several different probiotic strains were found to die off after one to four days.

The special brew involved boiling the mixed ingredients, cooling and filtering, adding yeast and probiotics, fermentation, and then storage.

It was observed that during fermentation, the probiotic strains L. paracasei ​L26 and S. cerevisiae ​S-04 saw growth, both in monoculture and co-culture.

However, during storage, S. cerevisiae ​S-04 fared the best at 5°C, surviving for 38 days with the highest cell count. Its cell count decreased slightly at 25°C, while L. paracasei ​L26 and yeast in co-culture also managed to survive at both 5°C and 25°C, albeit with slightly lower cell counts than S. cerevisiae ​S-04 at 5°C.

Survival strategy

Liu said the probiotics’ survival in the special brew might be explained by how it interacted with the yeast, which had reduced hop acids by binding to cell walls.

Lactobacilli​ membrane changes at a low temperature could also have contributed by altering the ratio of saturated to unsaturated fatty acids in the beer.

Another important characteristic of the beer was that it was unfiltered and unpasteurised, as filtering or pasteurising it would have killed off the probiotics.

Liu closed by saying that there was potential for other types of probiotic beers to be developed, depending on the type of probiotics used, storage time and temperature, and consumer acceptance.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Mother’s milk selects Bifidobacteria in the infant gut

Mother’s milk selects Bifidobacteria in the infant gut

Morinaga Milk Industry Co., Ltd. | 16-Nov-2017 | Technical / White Paper

Health promoting traits of Bifidobacteria are strain-specific, however, whether the residential origin of each species would also contribute to the differences...

How Polyphenols enhance probiotic benefits

How Polyphenols enhance probiotic benefits

BerryPharma® - the Expert in Berry Extracts | 03-Oct-2017 | Research Study

Researchers have recently identified the positive interactions between polyphenols and intestinal bacteria, leading to classification as a prebiotic function....

Cultivate your Probiotics Performance

Cultivate your Probiotics Performance

Capsugel | 15-Sep-2017 | Technical / White Paper

Consumers are quickly adopting probiotic supplements to maintain their well-being as they become more aware of the numerous health benefits of probiotics...

Related suppliers

Follow us


View more