Introducing the terpene of the week: Pinene.
Over the coming weeks, we’re delving into the major terpenes found in beer. These kiddos give all the beautiful hop flavours we seek so much.
Pinene is a woody, herbal and, astoundingly, pine-y flavour found in lots of herbs, like basil and rosemary, and of course our favourite hops. Even when present, however, pinene only accounts for a very small (~1%) fraction of the total oil component of hops. So it has a significant, punchy, flavour factor over tiny quantities.
Found across a range of traditional and modern hop varieties, pinene adds a certain character that helps to fill out and complete hop flavours. You’ll find it in things like Hallertau and Goldings, but also Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic and Sabro. Even better, you’ll find it in Czech Saaz but not US Saaz, just as you’ll find it in US Tettnang but not German Tettnang. It seems to be conspicuously absent from Australian and Kiwi hops.
Being a monoterpene, pinene is a strong candidate for biotransormstion, however most research so far has focused on geraniol and its downstream metabolites. It’s an intriguing compound and while it might not have the spotlight like myrcene or humulene, it’s definitely a character that helps round out a hop profile.
An aroma to pinene for.