ASBC Methods of Analysis - Hop Flavor Database

ASBC Methods of Analysis

Hop Flavor Database


This database is the culmination of countless hours of research and comprises a total of 583 chemical names. The overall purpose of this project was to create a flavor database for the brewing industry to use for sensory science and sensory labs. For example, if there is a strong aroma or flavor in beer, a search can be completed to find the molecule responsible for the aroma. Sensory labs can use the database to compare panel thresholds to cited values or to create a vocabulary of commonly used flavor descriptors in beer.

The format of the database can be seen in the sample below:

This is an example of the compound myrcene, the most abundant molecule in fresh hops.

The database shows, in order from left to right:

Chemical Name - the most often cited in brewing literature

Synonyms - other common names found

Chemical Formula - e.g., C10H16

Molecular Weight - grams/mol

Flavor Descriptors - these descriptors are derived from what sensory scientists have encountered in gas chromatograph-olfactometry work and are indications of how the compounds are perceived by multiple analysts

Concentration Minimum, Maximum, and Mean - milligrams/liter found in beer

Threshold (TH) 1, 2, 3 - milligrams/liter found in beer � if a compound contains more than three published thresholds, a new row has been created to keep the width of the Excel file to a minimum. Most chemical names will contain between one and three thresholds.

Threshold (TH) Water - milligrams/liter

Formation/Description - this column contains additional information as to how the compound is created, where it is derived from, and/or any other relevant information

Compound Classification - the type of compound, whether it be an ester, alcohol, monoterpene, sesquiterpene, acid, phenol, sulfur compound, or other

References - one can find the sources in the other tab of the database

 CAS Number - identification of the molecule by the Chemical Abstract Service, a registered trademark of the American Chemical Society


Conc. = Concentration

TH = Threshold

FU = Flavor Unit

NIF = not in file

This flavor database is able to be downloaded as either an Adobe Reader or Excel file. By using the "Sort" and "Find" functions in Excel, the database can be customized by each user.

A few points that need to be reiterated are that the flavor descriptors are derived from olfactometry work and therefore are descriptions of single molecules. The second point that needs to be emphasized is that concentrations are in beer. The type of beer varied, with most being international lager beers. If there is no threshold or concentration, the compound is most likely only found in hops.

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Also Available: Beer Flavor Database.