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Flavor Bites: Butyric Acid

Contact Author John Wright
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Despite this pungent profile, butyric acid is capable of working in a very wide range of flavors.

We have looked separately at iso-butyric acid, the less aggressive relative of butyric acid, but we now need to examine the role of “big brother” butyric acid (FEMA# 2221, CAS# 107-92-6). Butyric acid is very strongly cheesy. Despite this pungent profile, butyric acid is capable of working in a very wide range of flavors and can be particularly useful when it is used in conjunction with isobutyric acid.

Note that the dose rates given throughout this article are the levels suggested for use in flavors intended to be dosed at 0.05% in ready-to-drink beverages or in a simple bouillon.

Dairy Flavors

Blue cheese: The most obvious defining characteristic of blue cheese flavors is the level of methyl ketones, but butyric acid is also very important. Levels of 30,000 ppm give considerable impact.

Cheddar cheese: Slightly lower levels, nearer 20,000 ppm, work well in cheddar and similar cheese flavors, such as Parmesan.

Condensed milk: Low levels are typical in condensed milk flavors, in the region of 400 ppm.

Fresh butter: Levels of butyric acid in dairy flavors can vary dramatically and obviously depend on the profile that is sought. Moderate levels normally work best in butter flavors, with 3,000 ppm a good starting point.

Fresh cream: The “freshness” of fresh cream covers quite a spectrum, and the ideal addition of butyric acid varies in tandem from 100 ppm to 2,000 ppm.

Fresh milk: Low levels also work best in fresh milk flavors, with 200 ppm a good starting point.

Goat cheese: In contrast, only low levels are needed in goat cheese flavors, ranging from 100 ppm to 500 ppm.

Yogurt: The same is true of many yogurt flavors, with levels of addition as low as 100 ppm.

For the full article, please check out the Perfumer & Flavorist+ October 2021 issue.