Finally was able to listen through most of the podcast below and read through majority of the products. Awesome find, and lots of good info! As usual, reading/listening info starts bringing up more questions than answers. Having the oak info paper open while listening to the podcast helps a lot, following along what he is talking about. There's so much info, you can really just focus on one area for days. I'm really fascinated with just reading up more on the three different compounds of oak: lipids, lignins, and hemicellulose. Not even so much about the different species quite yet.Make sure to comment after you have checked these things out. All of the different pieces are great. The podcast is fabulous. The wood piece is closer to the end.
So here are some of my comments and questions:
-Amazing how aging a same piece of wood from the same tree in a different spot will have different lichen and bacteria activating different enzymes in the wood, resulting in a different profile of flavor, aromatics, etc.
-What the three components contribute (please chime in if you think I have over-simplied here):
Lipids: aromatics (what we percieve is coconut, wood)
Lignin: Structure (what we perceive is vanilla, smokiness, spices)
Hemicellulose: Sweetness flavors (what we perceive as caramel, butterscotch)
-We know that tannins (ie, tannic phenols) provide structure. According to the podcast, so do lignins which are responsible for vanilla and spice flavors. So I wondered if vanilla or spice compounds are tannins, and a quick google search showed that they are. I would have never have made that connection of a structuring compound to a flavor like vanilla or spicy smoke. Very interesting!
-The hemicellulose cells are compounds that contain sugar that when toasted literally caramelize. This is what provide the caramel and butterscotch sweetness. But they refer to hemicelluse as providing "body."
Question: I thought "body" meant structure (ie, mouth feel or "roundness"). Not a sweetness flavor. Do I have a wrong understanding of the definition of "body" in terms of wine?
Lipid- I assume these are non-tannic phenols. Shea states that American oak has more "non tannic phenols"--ie, aroma-- then the French/Hungarian oak (which provide more "structuring", which I assume means more tannic phenols). This would mean that lipids must be non-tannic phenols, since of the three compounds it is the lipids that are responsible for aromas (coconut, oak, woody aromas).
-I thought it odd that fat/oil/wax would be the compound that provides the aroma. But then I remembered reading that fusel oils (the higher alcohols with, presumably, some small amount of oil/fat components to it) provide up to 50% of the aromatics in wine. So I guess it makes sense that the fusels would provide so much aroma.
-Wished he had gone more into the difference between "deep" and "higher" toast. He said they are not the same, but seemed to indicate that they both mean a toast with a higher temp. So I'm confused.
-Made the connection that all tannins are phenols, but not all phenols are tannins
-Ryan, when I tried your Catspaw Mead I thought that there was a butterscotch element to the honey. After listening to this podcast I am wondering if you used medium plus oak to age the mead, releasing 5-methyl-furfural components into it?
This has really peaked my interest in tannins and phenols, how they are related to the 3 compounds listed above, and what else they contribute to mead (flavors, color, etc). I wished Shea had made more links specifically with the pheonols/tannins to the three compounds in the podcast. Either way, I'll definitely be looking into more details on them and how they can be used to make our meads better.