Effect of Wort Boiling on Volatiles Formation and Sensory Properties of Mead.Molecules. 2022 Jan 21; 27(3)M
Mead is an alcoholic beverage based on bee honey, which can be prepared in different variations such as modified honey-water compositions, the addition of spices, and the use of different yeast strains. Moreover, the technological process of mead production such as the step of wort preparation (with or without boiling of wort before fermentation) can be modified. All these factors might have a significant impact on the formation of aroma-active compounds, and therefore, sensory acceptance by consumers. High vacuum distillation, using the so-called solvent assisted flavor evaporation (SAFE) technique, or headspace-solid phase microextraction (HS-SPME) were applied for the isolation of the odorants. A sensory profile was used to monitor the changes in the aroma of the mead samples. Twenty-eight aroma-active compounds were detected during aroma extract dilution analysis (AEDA) based on gas chromatography-olfactometry (GC-O) and were finally identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) using authentic reference compounds, including methyl propanoate, methyl 3-(methylthio)propanoate, and methional, all of them were identified for the first time in mead. Compounds with high flavor dilution (FD) factors were quantitated via stable isotope dilution analysis (SIDA) and revealed ethyl acetate (16.4 mg/L) to be the most abundant volatile compound, increasing to 57 mg/L after wort boiling, followed by ethyl hexanoate (both 1.2 mg/L). Furthermore, key aroma compounds were esters such as ethyl hexanoate, ethyl octanoate, and ethyl 3-methylbutanoate. The sensory panel evaluated ethanolic, honey-like, clove-like, sweet, and fruity notes as the main aroma descriptors of mead. The significant change in sensory evaluation was noted in the sweet odor of the heat-treated mead.