Qualitative chemical analysis was performed on wheat, rye flakes, and malted rye bourbon formulation samples that were collected both at the end of fermentation (EOF) and as the post-distillation spirit (PDS). A gas chromatography (GC/MS) method was utilized in order to positively identify six volatile compounds present in the headspace of the EOF samples. In addition to the presence of ethanol, byproducts of the fermentation reaction were detected. Namely, the fusel alcohols isobutanol, isoamyl alcohol, and 2-methyl-1-butanol were present in relatively small concentrations, as well as the Fischer esterification products ethyl acetate and isoamyl acetate. Headspace GC/MS analysis of the PDS samples yielded an ethanol peak only, as all trace compounds had faded into the noise due to low concentration as a direct result of the distillation process. The DART mass spectrometry analysis was performed directly on the liquid matrix of the EOF and distilled spirit samples, but peaks could not be positively identified due to malfunctioning tandem capabilities of the instrumentation. These experiments were conducted for the purpose of comparing the GC/MS and DART-MS methods, in order to investigate the feasibility of DART as an effective analytical method for the detection of volatile compounds in alcoholic beverages.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2015


Darrin L. Smith

Mentor Department Affiliation


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Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level