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have proven difficult to isolate, characterize and identify based on their overall complexity. To summarize to this point, a cascade of reactions produce a vast pool of compounds. These arise from early product rearrangements and then degradation, elimination, cyclization, dehydration (loss of water), fission (splitting) and fragmentation reactions. These many reactions all lead to a multitude of flavor and color compounds. To conclude this section on chemistry, and in preparation for part two of this article, we finish with a consideration of Figure 3. This figure shows the coverage of an interesting series of heterocyclic compounds which play a key role in beer and distilled spirits flavor. Simply defined, heterocyclic compounds are ring-like structures which contain atoms other than carbon in the ring; oxygen, nitrogen and sulfurs primarily being present in such molecules. Through reductone and dehydroreductone chemistry, and their resultant product interactions with ammonia NH3 and hydrogen sulfide H2S, the heterocyclic compounds furanones (oxygen in the ring), pyranones (oxygen), pyrroles (nitrogen) and thiophenes (sulfur) are produced. The basic structures and general flavor notes associated with these compounds can also be seen in Figure 3 and will be presented again in more detailed fashion in Part 2. More significantly, each of these base heterocycles can have many different chemical substituents attached, thus vastly increasing the total number of possible compounds and potential flavor nuances detected in foods and beverages. Figure 3 also shows a few more details of the Strecker degradation reaction scheme. Interactions of aldehydes and aminoketones with a compound called acetoin can lead to formation of pyrazines (dual nitrogen atom ring heterocycles), pyridines (nitrogen), oxazoles (oxygen), imidazoles (dual nitrogens in the ring) and thiazoles (sulfur). Once again, we note that base (simple skeleton forms) and more complex substituted heterocycles are formed. Furans (five membered oxygen-containing ring heterocycles) are also illustrated in Figure 3. They arise from rearranged sugars. Again, note the main flavor characteristics for each type of heterocycle from this part of the scheme. These will also be discussed further in part 2 in relation to distilled spirits production. In the second of this pair of articles we will tie together all this Maillard chemistry and show where and when in distilled spirits production relevant color and flavor components are generated, and the significance of Maillard chemistry on alcohol yields, spirit flavor production, spent grain production and much more.
Gary Spedding, Ph.D. is a brewing analytical chemist/sensory specialist and managing owner of Brewing and Distilling Analytical Services, LLC. The team also includes Amber Weygandt, B.Sc. lead chemist, Matthew Linske, B.Sc. lead microbiologist, and Philip Gennette, B.Sc. analytical technician. For more information visit www.alcbevtesting.com or call (859) 278-2533.
REFERENCES Corporate Office West Coast North Northwest Canada British Columbia Pleasantville, NY Windsor, CA Geneva, NY McMinnville, OR Montreal, QC Kelowna, BC
Nursten, H. (2005). The Maillard Reaction: Chemistry, Biochemistry and Implications. The Royal Society of Chemistry. WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM
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