The SOMM Journal

June / July 2018

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Page 28 of 132

28 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } JUNE/JULY 2018 Beer(d) Science isn't just an excuse for an '80s movie pun. Each issue of The SOMM Journal will cover a different style of beer and related beer terminology to help our somms expand their beer knowledge. IF YOU'VE EVER smelled a flower or enjoyed the tangy sweetness of an orange, it's because you're inhaling its ester compounds. In the world of beer, esters come into play mainly as a result of the yeast used during the brewing process. Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the yeast used for ales, tends to produce fruity and even spicy esters. Saccharomyces pastorianus, used for pilsners, lagers, et cetera, tends be "cleaner," which allows the malt and hop character in these refreshing beers to shine more brightly. As a general rule, the hotter the fermentation temperature, the greater the ester production. Eth - yl acetate, an off-flavor that produces a nail polish or solvent aroma at high concentrations, is never appropriate. Here are a few esters responsible for a nice slice of the fruitiness spectrum in beer : • Isoamyl acetate produces a banana-like aroma often found in weissbiers (German wheat beers). • Ethyl butyrate produces a tropical bubble gum or pineapple flavor commonly found in German wheat beers, as well as several Belgian ales. • Ethyl caproate can produce the red apple, pear, and anise character tasted in an abundance of Belgian and English styles. Weissbier/Hefeweizen Established in 1516, the German beer purity law (or the Reinheitsgetbot) had a simple purpose: to mandate that beer only be made with barley hops and water. (This was before they discovered the magical powers of yeast.) There was but one exception granted to the Bavarian royal family, who held exclusive rights to brew wheat beer from the 16th century on. A man named Georg Schnei - der then cut a deal with the ruling monarchy to brew this style, and Schneider Weisse Brewery still makes wheat beer in Munich today. While weissbiers are made with 50–70 percent wheat, it's the unique character of the yeast used in these Bavarian hefeweizens that give the beer its spicy, fruity character. The yeast esters mentioned above lend the beer its banana-and-bubblegum fruitiness. It's worth noting that a yeast phenol, 4-vinyl guaiacol, is what gives weissbiers their spicy clove flavor, but that's for another edition of Beer'd Science. Pro Beer p: "Krystal" or "Kristall" on the label of a weissbier (in Weihen- stephaner Kristallweissbier, for instance) indicates that the beer has been filtered for clarity. This will bring out the fruity esters and lessen the phenolic clove notes. UNPACKING THE ESTER AROMAS AND FLAVORS CREATED BY YEAST by Jessie Birschbach Brewing Scents

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