Determination of Vicinal diketones (VDKs) in beer and wort

CDR BeerLab® is the easy, fast and reliable testing system to be used directly at the brewery with no need of expertise in chemical analysisVDKs (Vicinal Diketones) are metabolic products of yeasts which form in constant proportions during fermentation. These include diacetyl, which forms in the highest concentration.

It is important to monitor vicinal diketones levels during fermentation, as excessive VDKs production may be a sign of incorrect fermentation, bacterial or wild yeast infection. Furthermore, VDKs concentration plays an important role in the formation of flavour during the beer maturation time.

The systems to test VDKs in beer and wort

Vicinal diketones (VDKs) levels can be measured using CDR BeerLab®, a system which enables you to carry out a wide panel of chemical analyses on beer and water, using a single instrument, in a process that is faster and simpler than traditional methods.
With CDR BeerLab® brewers and breweries of any size can independently carry out brewing process controls without having to rely on external laboratories.

  CDR BeerLab: chemical analysis system specifically designed to monitor the brewing process  in breweryCDR BEERLAB® CDR BeerLab Junior: chemical analysis system specifically designed to monitor the brewing process  in breweryCDR BEERLAB® JUNIOR
Analyses Beer, Wort and Water:
Bitterness (IBU)
Fermentable Sugars
Alcohol by Volume (ABV)
Acetic acid
Yeast Vitality
Vicinal Diketons (VDKs)
Total sulfur dioxide
Free Amino Nitrogen (FAN) by OPA
Lactic Acid (D + L)
Polyphenols in beer
Carbohydrates in Beer
Calcium in Beer and Water
Alkalinity of water
Bicarbonate in Water
Zinc in Water
Sulfate in Water
Magnesium in Water
Potassium in Water
Chloride in Water

Configuration with tailored panel of analyses

Simultaneous Sample Analyses 16 3
Multiple Analyses on a Sample si


Test type: End Point.
Time testing: one test 5 minutes + distillation time.
Are possible test sessions with several samples, up to 16 for CDR BeerLab® and 3 for Junior CDR BeerLab®

Correlation curve

The CDR BeerLab® method for the determination of VDKs has good accuracy and is good for analyses requiring distillation and spectrophotometric measurement as is established in the report “Evaluation of new features (VDK, yeast vitality) of the CDR BeerLab® Analyser” performed by the international reference laboratory Campden BRI, innovation, research and technology centre for the food and drinks industry. 5 beer samples were analysed in triplicate for VDKs using the CDR BeerLab® method and the reference UKAS accredited VDK method (Campden BRI Method AM/008 based on Analytica-EBC, 9.24.2, 1999), showed that the results were similar (correlation R2 = 0.99). 

Correlation between VDK measurements using CDR BeerLab® (absorbance values) and the Campden BRI method

Test Principle

The beer sample must be distilled. Vicinal diketones contained in the distillate react with an alpha-naphthol and creatine solution to form a coloured complex which absorbs at 520mm. The extent of absorption is proportional to concentration.

Reagent test Kits

The reagents are packaged in foil pouches containing 10 tubes useful to perform 10 analyses.

This is the minimum package that allows the use of CDR systems even to those who need to make a few analyses, thus not wasting reagents.

There are also boxes of 100 tests, however, packaged in 10 bags of 10 tubes containing the reagent.

  • Codice *300925 – The kit, designed for 10 tests
  • Codice *300930 – The kit, designed for 100 tests

The reagents have a shelf-life of 6 months.

Download the article: The aroma of butter having the name of diacetyl!Check out the key points about Diacetyl and VDKs in brewing process

What is the diacetyl taste? What is the effects of diacetyl and other VDKs on the organoleptic profile of a beer? Check out the key points about Diacetyl and VDKs in brewing process.

Download the article to know in-depth VDKs in brewing process»

Processing of Sample

A distillation method is required to carry out the test. De-gas and distil 100 mL. Recover the first 15 mL, bring to 25 mL and analyse using the instrument.

Measuring Range

Analysis Measuring range Resolution Repeatability
Vicinal Diketones (VDKs)  0.05 – 2 ppm 0.01 ppm 0.03 ppm

Reagents developed by CDR S.r.l - Quality System Certified ISO 9001 Ed. 2015 - Certificate n. 9115

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With the CDR system, you can perform your tests in total autonomy

Neither skilled staff nor a dedicated external laboratory is needed to use our systems. CDR FoodLab® optimizes traditional testing methods, making them faster and easier, while guaranteeing accuracy standards in line with the reference methods.

Analytical kit

CDR FoodLab® Analysis Systems use disposable pre-vialed reagents specifically developed by the research laboratories of CDR. The use of pre-vialed reagents and the analytical procedures allow:

  • a sample preparation that is quick and easy, when needed at all;
  • making analytical procedures extremely fast and easy;
  • removing all needs for complex calibration procedures.

Reagents come in aluminum packages containing 10 test tubes each to perform 10 tests (or packages for 100 tests containing 10 single packages of 10 test tubes each).

Just a few steps and results are yielded right away

Just a few steps will suffice to carry out your analysis in a rapid way in total autonomy. The system is composed of both the analyzer based on photometric technology and a kit of low toxicity, pre-vialed reagents, developed by CDR.

CDR FoodLab® is cost-effective because it does not require the use of expensive equipment and does not entail maintenance, assistance or calibration costs.
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