Enhanced Beer SpoilerAlert™ Assay

Spoiled drinks are tough to swallow; one sip can ruin your reputation. As the brewing industry continues to expand, so has the Beer SpoilerAlert™ assay. With greater than four times the number of organisms detected in the original assay, the SpoilerAlert assay is the industry’s most comprehensive molecular spoilage detection test, and now features a reduced price!

With the explosion of the craft brewing segment, quality has become increasingly important as competition increases. In this video, Dick Cantwell, Quality Ambassador of the Brewers Association, talks about the importance of quality in an industry that is now slowing adding barrel volume (middle single digit growth) while new breweries continue to open at a rate of about 16% annually. There are now over 6,400 breweries within the U.S. alone.

To ensure your beer is of the highest quality, it is essential to test for microorganisms that could cause spoilage. Rheonix has been continuously updating the Beer SpoilerAlert assay based on feedback from customers. After adding Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. diastaticus in 2017, we have continued to expand the assay’s detection capabilities, adding Megasphaera and Pectinatus, along with expanded species detection of Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus, in 2018. The enhanced Beer SpoilerAlert assay now detects over 60 different organisms, along with 4 hop resistance genes, to help brewers identify spoilage organisms before spoilage occurs. With Rheonix, you get more information from your sample than with any other molecular or traditional microbiology method!

The assay runs on the Encompass Optimum™ workstation, a fully-automated system for molecular detection of microorganisms. The Rheonix solution is both rapid and easy to use, and doesn’t require a trained molecular biologist to use it. With Rheonix, you now can get actionable results more easily and in a timely manner—no more waiting to release product.

What is it?

Rheonix’s Beer SpoilerAlert assay is a fully automated, end-point PCR, molecular detection test. The Beer SpoilerAlert assay has the broadest detection capabilities of any assay on the market, detecting not only spoilage bacteria and yeast, 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 microorganisms and hop resistance genes in a, fully-automated single test.

The Beer SpoilerAlert assay is 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 up to 6 cartridges at a time, for a total throughput of 24 samples in 5 hours. The simple and intuitive interface guides users through the step-by-step process. After the user loads the workstation with their samples, the system automatically performs cell lysis, DNA purification, end-point PCR amplification, detection, and data analysis, with no user intervention required. The assay detects over 47 different species of Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB), 7 species of strict anaerobic bacteria, wild yeast (including 5 species of Brettanomyces and S. cerevisiae var. diastaticus), and 4 different hop resistance genes. Since all of these targets are detected in a single, highly-multiplexed test, there is no need to worry about missing a spoilage target. Since the test is fully-automated, anyone can learn to operate the workstation, making it ideal for smaller breweries with limited quality personnel.

What does it detect?*

Microorganisms Hop Resistance Genes
Lactobacillus (39 species) horA
Pediococcus (8 species) horC
S. cerevisiae var. diastaticus bsrA
Brettanomyces/Dekkera (5 species) bsrB
Megasphaera (4 species)
Pectinatus (3 species)
*For a complete list of the organisms detected, see the full report key and sample report

What types of samples can it handle?

Any and all types of samples can be processed by the Rheonix Beer SpoilerAlert assay.  In addition to testing product, the Beer SpoilerAlert assay can be used to test swabs from any and all points along the brewing process.  Identify spoilage hotspots before spoilage organisms reach your product!

Below is a list of some of the sample types tested successfully with the SpoilerAlert assay.

  • Beer:
    • Neat
    • Concentrated via centrifugation
    • Concentrated via filtration
    • Enriched directly
    • Enriched following filtration
  • Yeast slurries
  • Wort
  • Microbial colonies
  • Enriched environmental & instrumentation swabs*
    • Includes pipes, kettles, drains, etc

“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


Rheonix CARD


Not convinced yet?

These videos demonstrate the features and capabilities of the Rheonix CARD® (Chemistry and Reagent Device), and how to run the Beer SpoilerAlert assay on the Encompass Optimum workstation. The workstation is an entire molecular biology lab in a tabletop instrument. As we said above, all sample processing is performed within the cartridge, automatically by the workstation, including sample dispense, cell lysis, DNA purification, 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.

Did we mention that the Encompass Optimum workstation is also an open system? If you want to automate your own molecular tests, or want to develop a test for your specific needs, Rheonix’s Universal CARD® technology can help. Please contact us for more information.

Advantages of the Rheonix SpoilerAlert™ assay compared to competitors’ test

  • Cost, simplicity, and results!
    • Detects more targets (60+) than competitors’ assays (less than $0.35 per target)
    • Requires no technical skills; less than 10 minutes to load samples onto workstation!
    • No sample handling versus competitors’ test requiring separate DNA extraction and multiple detection kits
    • Output potential: 504 results from 24 samples!
  • Significantly reduced time to actionable results
    • Results within1 shift (or next day with enrichment)
      • A single microbial cell is capable of spoiling a bottle of beer.  SpoilerAlert™ assay is capable of detecting that single cell in a bottle of beer following an18-24 hour enrichment.
        • Traditional microbiological methods require at least 5-7 days to detect that same single cell!
        • Traditional microbiological methods will not indicate the presence of hop resistance genes, so you still don’t know if that single cell would have been able to survive in and spoil the product!
    • Reduced time to results allows you to get your beer to the customer fresher and reduces holding times for products, thus saving money and increasing production capacity
  • Minimal risk of false negatives
    • Detection of more hop resistance genes and microorganisms than any other commercially available beer assay minimizes the possibility that an organism will be missed
    • All targets are included in one test, so no need to pick and choose what assay to run.
    • Internal controls ensure the assay worked as expected.  In the unlikely event of a failure (e.g. potential inhibitors present in the sample), the report indicates an Indeterminate call, suggesting a rerun
  • Minimal risk of false positives
    • The Beer SpoilerAlert assay runs on the Encompass Optimum Workstation and utilizes processes and chemistries preventing crossover contamination highly common with most PCR assays
  • Simple purchasing and reagent storage!
    • There is only one kit to purchase and all of the reagents are room-temperature stable for 1 year.

How do I test my beer?

Rheonix offers 3 ways to use the Encompass Optimum™ workstation and SpoilerAlert™ assay:

  1. Rent the workstation: You perform the tests, while committing to a certain number of tests per year.
  2. Lease the workstation: Options are available through a third-party agency and you purchase the reagents as needed.
  3. Purchase the workstation: Buy assay kits as needed, and test at any rate you please.

The Beer SpoilerAlert™ assay is available in 4- (P/N: KABRSA-4), 12- (P/N: KABRSA-12) and 24-sample (P/N: KABRSA-24) kits that include the cartridges and reagents necessary to test 4, 12 or 24 samples, respectively. The Encompass Optimum™ workstation is sold separately (P/N: RNXOPT).

Get more information from your sample!

More Information

Rheonix Beer Testing

Rheonix Food & Beverage Testing


Brewing Summit 2018 Beer SpoilerAlert Assay Poster

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 sales@rheonix.com

Rheonix Headquarters
10 Brown Road, Suite 103
Ithaca, NY 14850 USA
(607) 257-1242