Beer SpoilerAlert™ Assay

Spoiled drinks are tough to swallow; one sip can ruin your reputation. As the brewing industry continues to evolve with the explosion of the craft brewing segment, quality will become more and more important as competition increases. In this link, Dick Cantwell, Quality Ambassador of the Brewers Association, talks about the importance of quality in an industry that is expected to continue to grow at ~20% this year and have over 6,000 craft brewers in the U.S. by the end of 2017.

We love great beer too and we want to keep beer great! To meet this need, Rheonix has developed a solution for identifying beer that will spoil, before it spoils. The best thing about our assay is that you don’t have to be a trained molecular biologist to use it. Our assay is rapid and easy to use, allowing you to get actionable results that will reduce your holding times on in-process material or finished product waiting on the docks.

What is it?

The Beer SpoilerAlert™ assay has the broadest detection capabilities of any assay on the market, detecting not only microorganisms, but also hop resistance genes that allow these organisms to grow in beer. In fact, it is the only commercially available assay that detects both organisms and hop resistance genes. We target:

Microorganisms Hop Resistance Genes Sample Types§
L. brevis horA beer
P. claussenii horC concentrated beer
Pediococcus spp. bsrA yeast slurries
B./D. bruxellensis bsrB environmental swabs
S. cerevisiae/S. pastorianus colony PCR

* We have identified a biomarker on a plasmid, distinct from the plasmids that contain hop resistant genes, present in some strains of the following bacteria: L. amylovorus, L. casei, L. helveticus, L. johnsonii, L. mucosae, L. plantarum, L. paracasei, L. reuteri, P. claussenii, P. damnosus and Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. Mesenteroides. The presence of this biomarker in a sample is an indication that one of these organisms is present and not indicative of any beer spoilage potential.

§ This is a representative list of sample types. Samples can be collected at any point, from any kettle, tank, pipe, etc., throughout the brewing process.

Additionally, it is the only fully automated molecular assay available for beer spoilage testing. SpoilerAlert™ assays are designed to run on the Rheonix CARD® cartridge in the Encompass Optimum™ workstation. Each cartridge can process four independent samples and the Encompass Optimum™ workstation can process six cartridges at a time, for a total throughput of 24 samples in five hours.

These videos demonstrate the features and capabilities of the Rheonix CARD® cartridge and Encompass MDx® workstation. The Encompass MDx® workstation is in development for the clinical market and is not cleared by the FDA for in vitro diagnostic use. These workstations are an entire molecular biology lab in a tabletop instrument. All sample processing is performed in the cartridge, automatically by the workstation, including sample dispense, cell lysis, DNA extraction, PCR amplification and endpoint detection on up to 24 samples simultaneously. The Beer SpoilerAlert™ assay is highly multiplexed, accepting a wide variety of sample types and concurrently testing for all targets in one assay.

In addition to using our assay to monitor microbial contamination during any aspect of the brewing process, our assay can also be used to test for microbial contamination in yeast slurries and for environmental monitoring in a facility.

“In its [the beer SpoilerAlert assay's] short time here, we have learned an enormous amount about the bacteria we find in our plant. This is a first for us, and it is already shaping our cleaning procedures and frequencies. In addition, we also discovered that the results from two tests of the same vessel may reveal if a particular bacteria is lingering between washes. Prior to this, we relied solely on counts with rudimentary characterization. This tool is very powerful, and we intend to use it to make process improvements around the entire plant.”

- Rheonix craft brewing customer

How do I test my beer?

Small company? Big company? Find the plan that works best for you!

Rheonix offers four ways to use our Encompass Optimum™ workstation and SpoilerAlert™ assays:

  1. Testing Service: Send your samples and our trusted third-party labs will do the testing for you.
  2. Rent the workstation: You perform the tests, while committing to a certain number of tests per year.
  3. Lease the workstation: Options are available through a third-party agency and you purchase the reagents as needed.
  4. Purchase the workstation: Perform a SpoilerAlert™ assay or your own in-house assay – in your lab, with your staff.

The Beer SpoilerAlert™ assay is available in 12- (P/N: KABRSA-12) and 24-pack (P/N: KABRSA-24) kits that include the cartridges and reagents necessary to run the assay. The Encompass Optimum™ workstation is sold separately (P/N: RNXOPT).


Rheonix CARD


Why SpoilerAlert™?

  • Our assay can provide accurate, actionable results in five hours (without enrichment) or next day with enrichment — either way that is three to five days faster than traditional microbiological methods. A faster result gets your beer to the customer fresher and reduces holding times for products, thus saving money and increasing production capacity.
  • One growing cell is capable of spoiling a bottle of beer — by utilizing an optional enrichment step, SpoilerAlert™ is capable of detecting that single cell in a bottle of beer.
  • Requires no technical skills and < 10 minutes of hands-on time to get 240 results from 24 samples!
  • Since the Beer SpoilerAlert™ test kit detects more hop resistance genes than other commercially available beer assays, we expect fewer false negatives than other molecular-based techniques.
  • We have incorporated processes and chemistries to prevent PCR carryover contamination between tests, preventing false positive results.
  • The Beer SpoilerAlert™ test kit not only detects organisms present in your sample, but indicates the potential of that organism to grow in your beer, again preventing false positive results.

Why Should I Test?

The earlier you find a problem, the better chance you have to minimize your loss. If you aren’t testing your product for spoilage, you won’t find problems until your customers tell you or they just stop buying your beer.

A spoiled batch can make a big impact:

  • While spoilage won’t make anyone sick, the bad taste is quickly recognizable.
  • Bad-tasting products are a hit to your brand and a waste of time and resources in the brewing process.
  • Inappropriate fermentation can cause bottles to explode, creating a hazard and a mess.
  • Product recalls are an expensive hassle and can still damage your brand’s reputation.
  • If a seasonal product goes wrong, you can miss out on the appropriate sales time frame.

Don’t wait until a major incident occurs; take preventative steps by testing early and often to ensure that your beverages are at their best quality and to prevent manufacturing losses. Rheonix takes the guessing out of brewing, so you can confidently supply your customers with quality product.

More Information

Rheonix Beer Testing

Rheonix Food & Beverage Testing


IAFP 2017 Beer SpoilerAlert assay Poster

ASBC 2017 Beer SpoilerAlert assay Poster

WBC 2016 Beer SpoilerAlert assay Poster

Contact Us

To learn more about Rheonix and what testing option is right for you, contact us via email at

Rheonix Headquarters
10 Brown Road, Suite 103
Ithaca, NY 14850 USA

(607) 257-1242