Proxima Launches Services for the Brewing Industry

Proxima is pleased to announce the official launch of our line of analytical services for the brewing industry.

These accessible, inexpensive, and easy to understand tests can provide invaluable data for quality control and to guide recipe development at all stages of your brewing process.

Low Cost & Rapid Turnaround

Traditionally, cost has made the detailed information about what is happening in their mash and fermentation out of reach to most brewers. Proxima offers a suite of low-cost rapid turnaround assays specially designed for brewers that can provide key details of your mash, wort, and beer composition. With the insight gained from these assays you can easily determine the efficiency of your mash and quantify starch, fermentable sugars, and higher carbohydrates in wort or beer.

Three different kinds of malt.

Using this information allows even the smallest scale brewers to know and control exactly what is happening at all stages of their brewing. Proxima’s assays can also help inexpensively diagnose stuck fermentations and other brewery issues which may occur from time to time. Proxima goes beyond just these services though and can offer a wide array of custom analyses at affordable rates to support your brewing project. Let’s show you a few of the ways that Proxima’s brewery services can support your brewing, and check out the full listing of services on our brewing industry services page.

Expert Microscopy

Many brewers use the microscope as an efficient and straightforward way to check their brew for yeast or contamination, or to diagnose the cause of unwanted haziness and sediment. We think the microscope is a great tool in the brewery too. An issue for our clients though is that while they are expert brewers, they are not always expert microscopists, and it can be tough to confidently distinguish bacteria from protein aggregates or other debris. Proxima’s experts, on the other hand, are trained in doing just that, and through application of specialized staining methods we can definitively distinguish common microorganisms and materials present in beer. These staining procedures are also a great way to identify haze and particulate matter. We also provide rapid turnaround yeast viability assays which can evaluate the health of your yeast during fermentation and aid in pitching when posting up yeast yourself.

A darkfield microscopy image of Voss Kviek Ale Yeast.

Measure Key Brewing Parameters Easily

Our assays for total carbohydrate, total sugar, and total starch yield valuable information about the progress of mashing and fermentation beyond what basic measurements such as specific gravity can provide. The amount of starting and remaining sugar and carbohydrate is highly dependent on the combination of malts used and the strain of yeast pitched and is characteristic for a particular beer recipe. Each unique combination of malts will produce a different mixture of fermentable and non-fermentable carbohydrates and sugars, while each yeast strain will vary in terms of its ability to use them. These unique values can then be used in quality control to ensure a consistent mash, fermentation, and finished beer. We can also analyze protein content in beer and wort, important in ensuring healthy fermentations and a good head on the finished beer.

A small test batch of beer fermenting in a flask with bubbles of carbon dioxide rising to the surface.

In combination with our yeast viability assay, these tests are especially useful in diagnosing stuck fermentations. Our analyses can quickly and easily distinguish yeast related problems from issues such as inefficient mashing. This can help avoid the most common method of diagnosis of trying a variety of tricks to re-start the fermentation and infer the cause based on the result. We know that having this detailed data in hand can’t save a batch of beer that is ruined, but it can make sure that the true causes of difficulties are accurately identified, saving time and money in the long run.

Beyond the Basics

In addition to offering these services, Proxima is actively pursuing research into the science of brewing and fermentation. In addition to our ongoing work to bring more new analytical techniques within reach of the average brewer we have an ongoing project bioprospecting in Western Canada for novel strains of yeast. Bioprospecting means looking for useful microorganisms from natural environments that have applications in industry such as agriculture, biofuel, and food production, and included in this are yeast with traits useful in brewing.

Figure 4 – Different strains of brewing yeast growing on malt extract agar in petri dishes.

Many bioprospecting projects focus on finding useful microorganisms in exotic environments, but Proxima is unique in focusing its efforts right here in Saskatchewan (Read all about it in The Latest, our announcements page). This expertise in yeast biology and genetics, as well as in analysis of malt and hops, makes Proxima an excellent choice for contract research in the brewing space. With our flexible and affordable rates, we can add top shelf brewing science capabilities to even the smallest enterprise.

In conclusion, check out our brewing industry services page and reach out to us for a free consult ( to explore how we can help you meet your brewing goals. We look forward to supporting you as you make great beer!

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