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Chemical characterization of sugar cane spirit aged in new French oak casks


The objective of this project is to study the aging of sugar cane spirit in new French oak casks through global chemical analysis and periodical quantification of the characteristic compounds of aging, comparing chemically the final spirit to commercial whiskies e cognacs. Cachaça and sugar cane spirits have great social and economic importance to Brazil. The aging of distillates in wooden casks is indispensable to improve the spirits sensorial quality. In Brazil the aging of sugar cane spirits in oak is made in pre-used casks, what delay the aging process and difficult the standardization of the aged spirit. Sugar cane juice will be fermented by selected yeasts and the wash will be distilled in pot still according to the double distillation methodology used for scotch malt whisky. The spirit will be stored for 3 years in new French oak casks (225L). Chemical analysis will be carried out periodically by HPLC to quantify the characteristic aging compounds, such as gallic, ellagic, vanillic and syringic acids, syringaldehyde, coniferaldehyde, sinapaldehyde and vanillin, lactone, guaiacol, eugenol, hydroxymethylfurfural, furfural and coumarin. The distillates will be also analyzed for the concentration of ethanol, copper and volatile acidity, aldehydes, esters, methanol and higher alcohols by GC. We expect to obtain the curves of chemical compounds extraction by the spirit during its aging period in new French oak casks. We hope the aged spirit presents a chemical composition similar to those of international spirits of well-known quality. (AU)

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