Every year the average American drinks more than 21 gallons of beer. And they’re drinking many glasses of beer over the holidays. Many of us have favorite brands of beer. But how much does the brand affect the taste of that beer…or is it something deeper?
While some folks may not have a preference for which beer they drink, those that are loyal to their brand certainly know when the taste isn’t right. And, if it’s going to taste bad, it probably smells bad too. What is it about stale beer that makes it smell like cardboard? Why does old beer sometimes taste like almonds?
In this study, we’ve examined benzaldehyde, a compound known to give an almond-like flavor to beer and wine, and trans-2-nonenal, a compound that gives stale beer a cardboard-like smell. The purpose of the study was to quantify these compounds in beer. A formal quantitative method was developed using Dynamic Headspace Gas Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy. To confirm the quality of results, a spiked beer sample was analyzed to show good recovery of the benzaldehyde and trans-2-nonenal standards.
This case study shows a quick and facile method for the formal quantitation of benzaldehyde and Trans-2-nonenal from beer. While you may not choose to analyze your beer by Mass Spec next time you smell something weird, you may have a better understanding why it smells so bad.