The crafty chemist

RSS
Wine faults
Oxidation is the main problem here converting ethanol into acetaldehyde and then acetic acid. The acetaldehyde is what gives you the hangover: as the alcohol is broken down in the liver it’s formed as an intermediate. There’s a number of other unwanted molecules formed during the fermentation process listed below:


Acetaldehyde Smell of roasted nuts or dried out straw. Commonly associated with Sherries where these aromas are considered acceptable
Amyl-acetate Smell of “fake” candy banana flavoring
Brettanomyces Smell of barnyards, fecal and gamey horse aromas
Cork taint Smell of a damp basement, wet cardboard or newspapers and mushrooms
Diacetyl Smell of rancid butter
Ethyl acetate Smell of vinegar, paint thinner and nail polish remover
Hydrogen sulfide Smell of rotten eggs or garlic that has gone bad
Iodine Smell of moldy grapes
Lactic acid bacteria Smell of sauerkraut
Mercaptans Smell of burnt rubber and/or cooked cabbage
Oxidation Smell of cooked fruit and walnuts. Also detectable visually by premature browning or yellowing of the wine
Sorbic acid plus lactic acid bacteria Smell of crushed geranium leaves
Sulfur dioxide Smell of burnt matches. Can also come across as a pricking sensation in the nose.

Wine faults

Oxidation is the main problem here converting ethanol into acetaldehyde and then acetic acid. The acetaldehyde is what gives you the hangover: as the alcohol is broken down in the liver it’s formed as an intermediate. There’s a number of other unwanted molecules formed during the fermentation process listed below:

  • Acetaldehyde Smell of roasted nuts or dried out straw. Commonly associated with Sherries where these aromas are considered acceptable
  • Amyl-acetate Smell of “fake” candy banana flavoring
  • Brettanomyces Smell of barnyards, fecal and gamey horse aromas
  • Cork taint Smell of a damp basement, wet cardboard or newspapers and mushrooms
  • Diacetyl Smell of rancid butter
  • Ethyl acetate Smell of vinegar, paint thinner and nail polish remover
  • Hydrogen sulfide Smell of rotten eggs or garlic that has gone bad
  • Iodine Smell of moldy grapes
  • Lactic acid bacteria Smell of sauerkraut
  • Mercaptans Smell of burnt rubber and/or cooked cabbage
  • Oxidation Smell of cooked fruit and walnuts. Also detectable visually by premature browning or yellowing of the wine
  • Sorbic acid plus lactic acid bacteria Smell of crushed geranium leaves
  • Sulfur dioxide Smell of burnt matches. Can also come across as a pricking sensation in the nose.