4-ethyl phenol

1.7 mg per capsule

Band aid, like a Brettanomyces-contaminated wine”

Certified wine flavour standard used to train professional tasters to recognize and scale the intensity of band aid character. Ethyl phenol is the characteristic odour of Brettanomyces contamination. It is produced in red wines by Brettanomyes yeasts during barrel ageing, and - occasionally - after bottling. The compound imparts an unpleasant band aid-like character, described as medicinal or horsey. The flavour masks more subtle varietal notes in affected wines.

Food grade | free from sensory impurities | extensively tested | safe to smell and taste.

Flavour cards

Flavour standard information

Technical specification

Assessment
The best way to detect ethyl phenol and the signs of Brettanomyces activity in wine is as follows. Cover the sample with your hand and swirl the glass to release the aroma. Remove your hand and take a single long sniff. Repeat as necessary.
Amount of flavour per capsule
1.7 mg per capsule
Threshold
The flavour threshold of 4-ethyl phenol in wine is 300 - 550 µg / l.
Origins
4-Ethyl phenol is a flavour defect of red wine produced by contaminant Brettanomyces (Dekkera) during barrel ageing, and occasionally after bottling. Wines which are low in sulphur dioxide are particularly sensitive to this problem.
Importance
Ethyl phenol Imparts an unpleasant band aid-like character, described as barnyard, medicinal or horsey. The flavour tends to mask more subtle varietal notes in the wine. Insufficient sulphuring of grapes and poor winery hygiene predispose wines to this problem.
CAS registry number
The CAS registry number of 4-ethyl phenol is 123-07-9.
Other names
  • p-ethyl phenol
  • para-ethyl phenol
  • 1-ethyl-4-hydroxybenzene
  • 4-ethylphenol
  • 1-hydroxy-4-ethyl benzene
  • 4-hydroxyethyl benzene
  • 4-hydroxyphenyl ethane
Remarks
Ethyl phenol is the characteristic odour of Brettanomyces contamination of wine. It occurs in combination with other Brettanomyces end-products including acetic acid, ethyl acetate, isovaleric acid, and ethyl guaiacol, which smells of smoked bacon or smoked cheese.
Threshold distribution
Graph
Capsules per pot
10
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