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Thiols, Unchained: More Ways to Unlock Tropical Aromas

Here’s how new yeasts are taking advantage of genetic editing and modification to free up thiols—not only in hops, but also in barley malt—for more expressive tropical aromas and flavors.

Stan Hieronymus Jul 19, 2021 - 11 min read

Thiols, Unchained: More Ways to Unlock Tropical Aromas Primary Image

Photo: Courtesy Omega Yeast

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It hardly seems fair to suggest that Saaz hops have failed to live up to their potential. For centuries they have defined what it means for hops to be Noble, adding floral, spicy, and otherwise fine aromas and flavors to beer. Yet Charles Denby at Berkeley Yeast says he can’t look at recent research without thinking about flavors such as guava and passion fruit that may reside within Saaz, just waiting to be unlocked.

A yeast strain from Berkeley called Tropics may do just that, as might Cosmic Punch from Omega Yeast. The labs didn’t create these strains because the world needs a double dry-hopped Saaz IPA. Instead, they’re driven by the demand for hop-forward beers with tropical character, with the understanding that thiols are a source of unique odor compounds that contribute to that character.

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