A Skunk Walks into a Bar . . . Fighting beer’s fouler flavors by Aimee Cunningham has a simple summary of the steps in making beer in the effort to describe the chemicals that make up its flavor.

The first push to delve into the mystery of beer flavor occurred in the mid-1970s, when a team of flavor chemists from 40 countries identified 800 chemical compounds in the beverage.

Beer, as with other alcoholic beverages, was used in the past to provide a safe ‘water’ supply. Ships were often dependent upon their beer much like an RV is on its fuel. This article makes it clear that beer can accumulate some unpleasant tastes over time which may explain why hard liquor was often used instead.

Cunningham’s article is a good summary of the beer making process and how each step contributes to the flavor of the result. Much like coffee, the flavor of beer is the result of many different compounds whose impace in the final product is the result of time, temperature, and components used.

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