Fish wine...A revisit to the topic.  

Mccartney2003 38M
479 posts
8/22/2005 8:48 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Fish wine...A revisit to the topic.

A biochemistry PhD from the Univesity of Wales was moved to write in with further fish wine-related speculations. Enjoy this excerpt from her correspondence:
Quite apart from the cost aspect, there seem to me to be a few small problems with the plan. As you say, fish is mainly protein, which is made up of amino acids. While yeast specialises in efficient fermentation of sugars to alcohol and carbon dioxide, the organisms that do the best job of fermenting amino acids tend to be Clostridia. Clostridia are more widely known as the genus responsible for, among other delights, tetanus, gas gangrene and botulism. I'm not sure which particular Clostridium species the Chinese have in mind for their enterprise, or indeed whether they've gone for an alternative genus of bacteria or fungus, but I'd want to be damned sure the wine had been cleared before I drank any. And I don't mean strained through a sock.

The other point that occurs to me is the nature of the end-products of fermentation, as follows.

Yeast + sugar (or starch) + water ---> ethanol + carbon dioxide

Clostridium + amino acids ---> acetate, butyrate, propionate or other fatty acid derivative (depending on amino acid) + carbon dioxide + ammonia + (also depending on amino acid) various sulfides and/or delightful-sounding compounds such as "putrescine" and "cadaverine," but no ethanol

Extrapolating from my experience of the compounds concerned, the fish wine is therefore going to smell and taste like a mixture of vinegar, rancid fat, urine, rotting eggs, boiled cabbage, and decomposing corpses, enhanced by a subtle bouquet derived from the fish itself. On the other hand it will indeed be low in alcohol. Naturally low in alcohol, as the ads will probably say. In fact, totally lacking in alcohol.

I don't know... I'm just still not sold on the fish wine.

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