Unlocking the Secrets of Beer Aroma: How Familiar are You?

Unlocking the Secrets of Beer Aroma: How Familiar are You?

A good beer not only tastes delicious but also smells amazing.

With the growing trend of craft beer, more and more people are joining the craft beer community. However, when enthusiastic individuals try to share the taste and aroma of craft beer with customers, they are often limited by their lack of professional knowledge. So, let’s share some more information with you!

1. Understanding Beer Aroma

Beer aroma can be understood from two aspects: the type of aroma and the degree of aroma perception.

★ Types of aroma:

Beer aroma can be divided into four types:

The first type is known as the “brewing aroma,” which is produced by yeast metabolizing to generate volatile esters and other flavor components.

The second type is achieved by adding aroma hop particles or hop oil to obtain various types of “hop aroma.”

The third type is the characteristic aroma resulting from the use of raw materials, adjuncts, and aroma substances.

The fourth type involves post-processing techniques that improve the aroma profile and intensity, known as “modifying aroma” or “compensating aroma.”

These four types of aromas can exhibit different aroma characteristics and varying degrees of perception. The specific aroma types in beer production are determined based on the flavor characteristics of different beer products.

★ Degree of aroma perception

The degree of aroma perception can be described using characteristic nouns such as “soft,” “refreshing,” “prominent,” “stimulating,” and “mild,” among others.

Beer aroma is not limited to a single aroma; it belongs to a “compound aroma” or “mixed aroma.” However, due to the flavor requirements of different beer varieties, one or two aromas may be more prominent. Nevertheless, these aromas should only differ in intensity and should not be excessively stimulating. This serves as the basic standard for controlling the degree of aroma perception in beer.

2. Controlling Beer Aroma

★ Aroma softness

As a characteristic of beer varieties, aroma should first provide a soft and pleasant sensation without being overly prominent or irritating. It should not present any uncomfortable or strange aromas. The basic embodiment of “softness” is being “fragrant but not overpowering, fragrant yet decent.” By using good varieties of aroma hops, adding hop oil extract during the boiling process, and controlling the appropriate ester content and alcohol-ester ratio during brewing, a relatively soft and pleasant aroma can be achieved. Adding some hops essential oil during beer post-processing can compensate for the aroma. However, caution must be exercised in selecting suitable hops essential oil varieties, controlling the amount added, and managing the addition process to avoid excessive stimulation and loss of softness. Therefore, when employing “aroma modification” methods to enhance beer aroma, research attention should be given to achieving a balanced and gentle aroma addition approach.

★ Aroma coordination and fullness

Aroma coordination is the result of blending and mutual promotion among many aroma components in beer. Monotonous or overly prominent aroma can cause discomfort and unpleasant stimulation. To achieve coordinated aroma, methods such as “scent matching,” “flavor enhancement,” and “blending” can be used to improve aroma coordination and fullness in beer.

Firstly, it is crucial to pay attention to the aroma characteristics of the brewing “beer base” and follow the principles and processes of “scent matching.” For example, the compatibility of different floral and fruity aromas will have different effects on aroma coordination or combination.

Secondly, the effect of “flavor enhancement” should be considered. Flavor enhancement can certainly improve the aromatic sensation, but it must contribute to overall softness and pleasantness in beer rather than highlighting a specific aroma.

Lastly, the role of “blending” should be recognized. The key difference between “blending” and “flavor enhancement” lies in individually adjusting the existing beer aroma, which is a typical technique for aroma fusion. Blending can be achieved by adding some aroma additives or combining beers with different aroma levels to obtain a uniform aroma characteristic.

★ Aroma persistence

In beer, many aroma components exist in trace amounts, measured in parts per billion (ppb). However, the presence of various aroma components with different boiling points and similar aroma characteristics ensures the “persistence of aroma” in beer.

Furthermore, the content of aroma components in beer greatly influences aroma persistence. For instance, 20 ug/L of linalool has a noticeably aromatic effect. It should be understood that a persistent and harmonious body aroma has great value in defining the aroma characteristics of beer.

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