Thursday 5 August 2010

Flavour Compound of a Week - Humulene

This week we enter the shady world of drugs. Drugs are bad mm-kay. When I was a kid drugs weren’t too much of a problem although mum used to warn me about going round dozy Taylor’s house coz he was a druggie. Drugs didn’t really become en vogue round my way until I was in my teens. The most damaging drug then and now is alcohol. She didn’t warn me about the effects of drinking one of fat Terry’s cans of Special Brews. Maybe that’s why I like strong beer today. Damn you mother (not really mum) and damn you fat Terry!

Fat Terry is probably dead by now. We used to watch him stumbling along to the offie and stumbling back home with slightly more spring in his step with a carrier full of cans as we played on our BMXs in the park at 10 in the morning. But then again so is dozy Taylor. The damaged, weak, reckless and stupid will always find a way to destroy themselves. Laws, taxes and adverts will never change that.

So why are drugs this week’s hot topic (HOT TOPIC!!)? This week’s flavour compound is humulene. Humulene or systemically 2,6,6,9-tetramethyl-1,4-8-cycloundecatriene is monocyclic sesquiterpene which is the characteristic aroma of hops and of Cannabis (Pot, Weed, Draw, Grass, Ganja, Skunk, Hash, Bhang, Reefe, Herb, Boom, Blubbers and Bud). Humulene (or in beer the hydrolysis product of its oxidation product) is the only element of the essential oil of hops which is actually described as hoppy and tends to be at proportionally high levels in the essential oils of noble hops. You can now feel less guilty about describing a beer as “hoppy” as long as it smells of humulene that is.


Beard Beer Blogger said...

Interestingly Vietnamese coriander is very high in humulene, I may have to spice my next IPA with a little.

Stuart Howe said...

The world of aromas is a small one!

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