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Tech. Q. Master Brew. Assoc. Am., 1997, 34(2), 145-147.

Brewing! Have Things Changed so Much? Flavor and its Physiological Basis

David G. Moulton

Flavor chemists, organoleptic and neuro-scientists contribute to our understanding of the basis of flavor. Their relative tasks and approaches are discussed with emphasis on the last two. Beer excites many senses but recent research (summarized here) stresses the dominance of smell. Smell and taste sensations can interact and odors may have additive effects with implications for the effectiveness of additives to beer, such as fatty acids. Perception of flavor appears to fluctuate according to such factors as hormonal levels, degree of hunger and thirst. Recent evidence (summarized here) suggests that the term "potentiator" when used in relation to the action of such compounds as 5-ribonucleotides may be misleading since the effects are at least partly due to flavor modification. Other modifiers include miracle fruit and gymnemic acid.