Beer Fact Friday: Terpenes

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How about a little organic chemistry for your Friday afternoon? “Terpenes” are naturally occurring compounds produced by a variety of plants. (A related term, “terpenoids,” technically refers to the oxygenated derivatives of terpenes, but the two names are often used interchangeably.) They’re intensely aromatic, which is where beer comes in.

Ever wonder why, when smelling a particularly hoppy beer, you pick up aromas that remind you of oranges, or pine trees, or roses? Terpenes are why. Many of the same aromatic terpenes we find pleasant in fruit, herbs, spices, flowers, and even marijuana are produced by hops. Here are a few of the most common ones:

  • Myrcene: herbal, grassy, herbaceous (found in cannabis)
  • Caryophyllene: peppery, clove, woody (found in pepper)
  • Limonene: citrus, orange, lemon (found in lemons)
  • Humulene: floral, earthy, spicy (found in sage)
  • Pinene: piney, woody (found in conifer trees)
  • Linalool: floral, lavender, bergamot (found in lavender)
  • Geraniol: floral, roselike (found in rose oil)

We tell you all that to tell you this: A new experimental brew we’re lovingly calling Terponic Haze is on draft now at 8th Street. To make it, we took our Hazy IPA and danked it up with terpenes from our friends at Hempmen Inc. Only one keg is available, so get it while you can, terp twerps.

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