Our latest Hop Quest beer box you’ll find Wolf of the Willows ‘King Louis XIII’ West Coast IPA with “added Terpenes”... but what are these things?
Terpenes are flavour and aroma compounds, common in many different material and compounds, and are very much present in beer. You’ll find them in small quantities in the malt but are much more noticeable in hops.
Some classic examples of Hop Terpenes are Myrcene (herbal and spicy), Limonene (citrus, fruity) and Humulene (woody, earthy). Many of these you’ll probably be very familiar with, but what you might not know is that over the last few years, another source of terpenes has been used in commercial beers: Cannabis.
Although it started in the US, in states where its consumption is legal or regulated, Cannabis producers have been able to extract only the aroma compounds of this plant which has allowed brewers from different parts of the world to add a layer of complexity to their IPAs and other beers.
Cannabis has more complex aromatic notes due to a greater number of different terpenes, many of them not present in hops, so it’s a great source of extra character! They can also accentuate the terpenes already present in the beer as well.
And no, drinking an IPA with these compounds won’t make you feel like you’re in a Steely Dan concert or make you desperately want to buy an extra-large meal at Maccas, it’s only for a delicious (and often dank) kick!