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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: robg2251 on July 21, 2010, 09:38:17 AM

Title: Brew club off flavors discussion
Post by: robg2251 on July 21, 2010, 09:38:17 AM
Our club wants to do an off flavors tasting/discussion (more of a cause and effect and solution chat, but with off flavors to taste and discuss).  We planned on using some of the examples from the BJCP study guide (doctoring beers http://www.bjcp.org/study.php#drbeer ), rather than buying the pricey kit. 

My question to you all is, has any club already done this?   Is there a top 3 or 5 that I should focus on for my club?   Are all of the ingredients in that list fairly easy to acquire?   Also, is there a good cause/effect site out there that details some of this (I figured the "How to Brew" off flavors might be a good initial resource to use).. 

Any help, tips, suggestions would be appreciated.   Thanks in advance!
Title: Re: Brew club off flavors discussion
Post by: thomasbarnes on July 21, 2010, 11:37:46 AM
Serendipity! I just got through posting a young book on the subject here:

  http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=2506.0

For troubleshooting, I'd say the big three are acetaldehyde, diacetyl and phenolic. All three are signs of yeast management problems. The last two are signs of potential bacterial infection. Phenols can result from water problems, scorched wort, bad technique, and are sort of related to astringency.

If I were to expand it out to five, I'd add solventy (more yeast problems) and the many nuances of oxidized/stale.
Title: Re: Brew club off flavors discussion
Post by: MDixon on July 21, 2010, 12:07:26 PM
Play around here and you can find a tome of information on doctoring the samples:
http://www.doctorbeer.com/jay/drbeer/drbguidl.htm

The BJCP will be offering kits to BJCP judges for $50 in the near future (not exactly sure of the timing). If you have BJCP judges in your club, once this becomes available this might be something you could try.
Title: Re: Brew club off flavors discussion
Post by: theDarkSide on July 21, 2010, 12:24:53 PM

The BJCP will be offering kits to BJCP judges for $50 in the near future (not exactly sure of the timing).

It would be nice if they offered this to non-judges too, so people could train their pallete and possibly become judges in the future.   AHA Governing committee....are you listening? :)
Title: Re: Brew club off flavors discussion
Post by: MDixon on July 21, 2010, 12:37:01 PM
The idea is a BJCP judge would obtain the kit for training. The kits still cost and the BJCP is absorbing those costs. As far as providing them to all homebrewers and absorbing a $100+ cost, it is a benefit to members. Pretty much the BJCP works like this. You pay an initial fee to take the exam and a lower fee for any retake of the exam. Other than that you do not incur any other costs to be a member of the organization. Membership in the organization is easy, simply take the exam  ;D
Title: Re: Brew club off flavors discussion
Post by: theDarkSide on July 21, 2010, 01:21:51 PM
Oh...didn't realize they were subsidizing the cost..  Just saw it in the store for $170.  Maybe something to invest in at a later date.  For now, I guess I'll just submit to comps for feedback.

Thanks.
Title: Re: Brew club off flavors discussion
Post by: robg2251 on July 22, 2010, 01:20:12 AM
Thanks for the tips guys.  Yeah, we almost just went ahead and spent the $ on the big kit, ..  but, this isn't for judge training or anything, it's just a club meeting/discussion.   So, I may just take the advice and do the main three as suggested.   I'll take a look at the sites posted too. 

You guys rock!  Thanks so much. 
Title: Re: Brew club off flavors discussion
Post by: MDixon on July 22, 2010, 11:42:44 AM
I'll slightly disagree with thomas' suggestions...

The top three IMO would be diacetyl, astringent, and DMS if I had to delve further I'd go for vegetal and medicinal

Astringency is where I seem far too many people go wrong. It is not a flavor or an aroma, it is a sensation you sense, you feel. Getting people to wrap their brain around that and stop saying something is astringent when it isn't can be tough.

The reason I would not do acetaldehyde is you don't find it that often in beers, perhaps every other comp at worst. Phenolic can be spice derived, yeast derived, smoky, plasticy, etc and sometimes phenols are excellent, sometimes faults. It isn't one you want to hit and run, it is almost a sensory topic unto itself.
Title: Re: Brew club off flavors discussion
Post by: MDixon on September 08, 2010, 12:21:24 PM
The kits are now available to BJCP members, one per person per year for $50. The details are on the BJCP website:
http://www.bjcp.org/index.php
Title: Re: Brew club off flavors discussion
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on September 08, 2010, 09:38:52 PM
That is BJCP members and NOT AHA members.  :(
Title: Re: Brew club off flavors discussion
Post by: MDixon on September 08, 2010, 10:59:55 PM
As should have been clear when I said "BJCP Members"... ;)

AHA members can still get the kits from Siebel, but AFAIK they will not get any reduction in price and will have to pay for shipping.
http://siebelinstitute.com/catalogs/pdfs/Sensory_Kit.pdf
Title: Re: Brew club off flavors discussion
Post by: christo on September 13, 2010, 08:33:13 PM
I've done 5-6 off-flavor classes over the years just using the BJCP and/or Dr.Beer's guidelines for adulterants and got pretty good results.  The Siebel vials definitely are nice but for $10 or so you can make a good facsimile of nasty flavors out of what's in your spice cabinet. ;D

I'd go with all of Mike's and Thomas' suggestions.  Throw in an estery (banana & lemon extract) and a skunky (Bohemia or other green bottle Euro lager left out in the sun for 30 min) beer, and you're golden.
Title: Re: Brew club off flavors discussion
Post by: tumarkin on September 13, 2010, 08:41:44 PM
Regardless of whether you go with the kit, or try to create your own additives ala Dr. Beer; I'd highly suggest that you mix your pitchers of  samples at a high strength to begin with. Make sure that your sample is strong enough to be well over the average threshold of perception. You want to really fix that taste in peoples minds, and that's hard unless the example is very clear & forward. After the first go-round sets the taste and the participants know what they're looking for, you can then add more base beer to dilute the sample and present it at a lower threshold and see if folks can still pick it up.
Title: Re: Brew club off flavors discussion
Post by: denny on September 13, 2010, 09:16:20 PM
Just a few minutes ago, I received the Siebel kit courtesy of the BJCP.  It says that all the flavors are at about 3X the level you'd normally find them.  I think that's a good way of making sure you taste them.
Title: Re: Brew club off flavors discussion
Post by: tom on September 14, 2010, 02:25:13 AM
Regardless of whether you go with the kit, or try to create your own additives ala Dr. Beer; I'd highly suggest that you mix your pitchers of  samples at a high strength to begin with. Make sure that your sample is strong enough to be well over the average threshold of perception. You want to really fix that taste in peoples minds, and that's hard unless the example is very clear & forward. After the first go-round sets the taste and the participants know what they're looking for, you can then add more base beer to dilute the sample and present it at a lower threshold and see if folks can still pick it up.
Ditto. I think you need to "recognize" the aromas/flavors first, then work on your individual thresholds.
It's good to know what you are sensitive to, and what you are insensitive to.