Styrene is formed by the thermal decarboxylation of cinnamic acid during wort boiling or by enzymatic decarboxylation during fermentation. The enzymatic reactions proceed in parallel to the decarboxylation of ferulic- and p-cumaric acid to 4-vinylguaiacol and 4-vinylphenol by the same decarboxylase enzyme. However, the formation of styrene occurs much faster and all available cinnamic acid in wort was converted completely within a few hours. Moreover, the comparison of various manufacturing parameters shows that a higher fermentation temperature of 25 degrees C compared to 16 degrees C and an open fermentation management lead to a rapid decrease of styrene. This allows minimising the content of styrene in beer while maintaining the typical wheat beer flavours.
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