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Saddle smell

Synonym for horse sweat; see there.

Pferdekopf Name for a wine defect that occurs mainly in red wines, but for which there are many other names. These are Apeshit (South Africa), Bodenton (see Geosmin), Brett, Hansaplast, dog sweat, leather clay, medicine clay, wet dog, wet coat, wet leather, horse stable, horse clay, phenol clay, saddle clay, sweat socks, stable smell and tar clay. This proves that in the past the fault was often not clearly identified or not even classified as a fault. This is because it occurs in internationally renowned red wines, in Belgian beers and in ciders as a perfectly accepted typical aroma.

Only through scientific analysis could the same microorganisms be identified as the cause of all these off-flavors. It is not uncommon for horse sweat to occur together with the wine defect mice. The off-flavour is more pronounced in red wines that have undergone barrique ageing, especially in new barrels, and/or maceration carbonique (carbonic acid maceration). The main causes are lack of hygiene such as unclean wooden barrels and/or too little sulphur.

The type of yeast causing this is called Brettanomyces (from which "Brett" is derived) or Dekkera. The...

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