Saturday 22 May 2010

Flavour Compound of the Week - Linalool

I woke up this morning and thought I’m not in the mood for this. The heartbreak of yesterday and the resulting bad night’s sleep, my sore calfs, crepitiating Achilles tendons and tight illiotibial band had dampened my irrepressible spirit and drive. Then I heard a voice in my head. It was Katie Price, she said “you can do it Stuart, remember tea bag”. If there is anyone that we can learn from during times of struggle it is our Katie. After the trials and tribulations of her tough life she has come through with all her dignity intact. She remains a central part of our culture and heritage and a shining example to every young girl with a dream of greatness. Teabag was of course a phrase I remember from my days in the front row of a few rugby teams. As a prop you must be a tea bag. The hotter the water, the stronger you get. A least that’s what I think she meant. It was first thing in the morning and you never know with Katie.

Linalool or systemically 3,7-dimethylocta-1,6-dien-3-ol is a terpene alcohol with a floral aroma. In beer linalool comes from the essential oil of the hop. The essential oil of hops is, as I have indicated before, a terrifically complex blend of compounds which change with time and practically define hop varieties. All of the flavour-significant components of essential oils are volatile. As a brewer you have to be very careful not to lose desirable volatiles during the brewing process. This is the rationale behind dry hopping. Adding hops at the very last moment before the beer is pressurised locks the inviting volatile aromas from the hop flower into the beer which are then released up the nose of the consumer when it is depressurised.

Linalool like our Katie is a bit common. It is found in a wide range of plants, (mints, scented herbs, laurels, cinnamon, rosewood, citrus fruits), some fungi and a range of shampoos and conditioners where its oxidation products are thought to trigger eczema.


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