A new branch of flavors and spirits have emerged as a team of researchers have just discovered a way to produce a type of alcoholic beverage from wood.
A team of scientists from Japan's Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute who devised the method through which this alcohol can be made explains that they are hoping to put this product in shelves in about three years. The researchers say that the flavor of their creation can be likened to alcohols that have been aged in wooden barrels, reports Phys.org.
On how they managed to make this alcohol, the report mentions that wood is first mashed into a cream like paste after which yeast is added to aid fermentation. By avoiding the use of heat in the process, unique flavors that each tree imparts can be preserved in the drink, notes the report.
Researchers have made alcohol from Cedar, Birch and Cherry so far. Just four kilograms of cedar produced about 3.8 liters of liquid, which had an alcohol content of around 15 percent. This is similar to Japan's favorite alcohol - sake.
Between the distilled and brewed versions of the beverage, scientists say that they feel the distilled one appears better.
This is not the first time wood has been fermented, notes the report. Called biofuel, it contains a lot of toxins and is completely flavorless, say the researchers, making it useless as a beverage. "But our method can make it drinkable, and with a wood flavor because it does not require high heat or sulphuric acid to decompose the wood," said researcher Kengo Magara.
The study that led to the making of this alcohol was related more to Japan's extensive woods and forests, and Magara even said that the wood alcohol might not be the most obvious use of the institute's mandate.
"We thought it would be interesting to think that alcohol could be made from something around here like trees," Magara said.
"It's a dream-inspired project." The plan is to partner with a player from the private sector so that Japan's Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute can bring it to shelves in three years, according to the report.
"Japan has plenty of trees across the nation and we hope people can enjoy wood alcohols that are specialized from each region," said Magara.