Ok, apparently I'm ignorant of the benefits of tasting beer throughout the process. Please educate me.
I used to taste throughout, but I really dislike it all until the final product... Which then tastes very good. I would work myself up over pre-finished product tasting to the point where I quit doing it.
Thanks for feedback
Well, for one if there's diacetyl you can take steps to fix that before packaging. Sulfur, too. By tasting throughout the process you can pin point where something may be going wrong. I once had a beer that got burned on an electric element (electric kettle). Obvious smoke character in the beer, think ashtray. I tasted it coming out of the fermentor and had no idea at first what it was. Pedio can be smoky and rank, so I thought it may have been an infection. Had I tasted the cool wort I would have known right there and then not to even bother filling the fermentor. But what ended up happening was I brewed it again and had the exact same problem and only then pin pointed that my element was too close to the bottom of my kettle and was scorching. Would have been much better off had I just tasted the wort and dumped it without pitching the yeast in the first place, let alone take up two weeks in the fermentor, then wasting another brewday/batch ingredients.
I can taste a beer coming out of the fermentor and tell by taste or smell if I should even bother to rack it to bright. I can taste it and tell if I should bother to harvest yeast. Plus, if I taste it and it is good fresh from fermentor I can tell if there was a problem (like oxidation) picked up after fermentation.
Just knowing your beer from start to finish is important to craft in general. Knowing what is happening at every stage. Why would you rely on anything else but taste (and smell) for that? I can understand where you are coming from on saying that you get worried if there is an off flavor, but IMO you are better off learning how to taste the beer right out of the fermentor. It's part of mastering the craft - in my opinion, of course.