Hello! I am Magda Costa, Early Stage Researcher #5, PhD student at Ghent University. My topic focuses on the fermentation stage in the brewing process. Follow me and I’ll promise you´ll get more details and updates on my work.
2016 was a decisive year in my life. The Erasmus experience in Amsterdam changed my perspective of the world, and even of myself and my future. When I graduated in November, I wanted to expand my horizons and keep exploring the world beyond Portugal. At the beginning of 2017 the opportunity came along in the form of the EJD project. Leaving Lisbon for the second time within two years turned out to mixed-feelings situation. On the one hand I was ready to start a new life, the packing and the arrangements were much easier than the first time. On the other hand, however, it was hard to leave my family and friends for more than 6 months. Meeting the EJD family, however, made the transition a lot smoother. Meeting up with my colleagues – eight people sharing the same challenges and feelings – brought us together and cemented what I hope will become a friendship for life. The support and willingness to help from the part of the supervisors, made it easier to integrate with the project and get acquainted with the topic.
But enough about feelings, let’s talk some science. Malting and brewing are a broad field full of history. For centuries brewers have produced beer by trial-and-error until they reaching the perfect recipe. This “method” stopped being acceptable when science developed to the point where we have the tools to follow every stage of the process, and know what is happening at a big and small scale. For this reason the training sessions held by the University of Agriculture in Kraków and by VLB Berlin helped us to create a more truthful and precise idea about the overall process. On top of all the technical aspects acquired during these trainings, we also had the chance to engage in discussions with specialists from the field. Just like yeast is for beer, networking is nowadays an essential ingredient of life as part of the scientific community. We could not have started better.
In the last months, I’ve been researching literature for all the methods used in assessing wort composition, how it influences yeast performance, and how they can be manipulated to improve beer quality. I am seeking for and including the most common concepts and techniques to follow the fermentation process. My learning process would be incomplete if it excluded some practical work. I have put into test the concepts and techniques I read about by taking samples of different brews and analysing them.
I hope I manage to make you a bit curious about my work and I promise to share more information about my findings. So keep tuned. And don’t forget: keeping yeast happy, makes us happy too! Who doesn’t like to have a good beer?