Author Topic: Carbonation and perceived bitterness  (Read 664 times)

Offline Joe Sr.

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Carbonation and perceived bitterness
« on: February 10, 2014, 10:48:51 AM »
I took a hydrometer sample over the weekend while kegging my lastest bitter and it was delicious.  My wife loved it.  It was balanced and smooth.

I pulled a half-liter off while kegging and carbed it up in a soda bottle.  All of a sudden the beer was much hoppier.  Too hoppy for the wife.

I never noticed such an impact before but it makes some sense that carbonation could increase perceived bitterness.

Just wondering if I'm crazy or if this is, in fact, what happened.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline euge

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Re: Carbonation and perceived bitterness
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2014, 10:53:59 AM »
I've noticed it. The carbonation seems to amplify both the bitter flavor and aroma. Perhaps it's a dual action via tastebuds and the aroma being expelled by the out-gassing of the beer.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline erockrph

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Re: Carbonation and perceived bitterness
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2014, 11:00:38 AM »
Not sure about bitterness, but carbonation makes a world of difference when it comes to hop aroma.
Eric B.

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Carbonation and perceived bitterness
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2014, 11:01:42 AM »
Will this go to a sparkler vs no sparkler debate?

Yes, there is a deference in perception with/without CO2.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline Jeff M

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Re: Carbonation and perceived bitterness
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2014, 11:07:44 AM »
Could Carbonic Acid be perceived as bitterness if you over carbed your 1/2L sample?  Ive never done this but it makes me wonder!
« Last Edit: February 10, 2014, 11:25:57 AM by Jeff M »
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Carbonation and perceived bitterness
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2014, 11:12:32 AM »
I've noticed lately that if there is too much suspended yeast in a hoppy beer it tastes much more bitter than after the yeast settles out. could that have anything to do with it?

Offline euge

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Re: Carbonation and perceived bitterness
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2014, 11:41:27 AM »
Yeast definitely are bitter.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline james

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Re: Carbonation and perceived bitterness
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2014, 11:44:59 AM »
Yeast definitely are bitter.

I've never noticed yeast being bitter by themselves, but I'd aay that in bitter beers the yeast are absorbing some iso-aa or they are sticking to the outside of the yeast cells

Offline Jeff M

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Re: Carbonation and perceived bitterness
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2014, 11:50:10 AM »
Yeast definitely are bitter.

If you worked 24/7 drunk as a skunk on your own pee youd bee bitter too;)
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Carbonation and perceived bitterness
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2014, 12:02:57 PM »
Haven't noticed it with bitterness, but the carbonation definitely brings the aroma to your nose.  +1 to seeming more hoppy when yeasty.
Jon H.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Carbonation and perceived bitterness
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2014, 12:12:14 PM »
I've noticed lately that if there is too much suspended yeast in a hoppy beer it tastes much more bitter than after the yeast settles out. could that have anything to do with it?

No.  It's crystal clear (WY1968).

I'm familiar with yeast bitterness and this is not it.  I also usually can taste the yeast when it's flat, too, if the beer is hazy.

It's just hoppier.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Carbonation and perceived bitterness
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2014, 12:14:06 PM »
Could Carbonic Acid be perceived as bitterness if you over carbed your 1/2L sample?  Ive never done this but it makes me wonder!

Possible.  But I don't think that was it.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline In The Sand

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Re: Carbonation and perceived bitterness
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2014, 01:11:43 PM »

Yeast definitely are bitter.

I've never noticed yeast being bitter by themselves, but I'd aay that in bitter beers the yeast are absorbing some iso-aa or they are sticking to the outside of the yeast cells

^ This. That's one of the reasons it's advantageous to cold crash prior to dry hopping (so I've heard), then bring temp back up.  I notice similar effects in my beer especially when the sting of the CO2 hits your tongue.
Trey W.

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Re: Carbonation and perceived bitterness
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2014, 04:31:57 PM »
Carbonation will amplify the components and change the perception in any case.  Try this with a commercial mead (carbonate half the bottle, compare it to the other still half) or cider (open one bottle and let it go flat, compare it to an unopened bottle) as well. 

I make a jalapeno ale every year for two local beer festivals (http://bbbrew.com/index.php?page=brewBlogDetail&filter=buergermeister&id=55).  When I taste the uncarbonated beer in the hydrometer the pepper and heat are more dominant.  If I carbonate it to 2.5 vols then I get more of the smoked malts and even some cascade flavor.  Pepper and heat is still there but much more subtle. 

Temperature also plays a role.  Try this with your wife.  Put the same bitter in two soda bottles and carbonate them.  Put one soda bottle in the fridge, leave the other one at room temp.  Once the one bottle has cooled pour them into two glasses and see what she says.  Then tell her it's the same beer, just at different temps.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Carbonation and perceived bitterness
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2014, 04:52:48 PM »

Yeast definitely are bitter.

I've never noticed yeast being bitter by themselves, but I'd aay that in bitter beers the yeast are absorbing some iso-aa or they are sticking to the outside of the yeast cells

^ This. That's one of the reasons it's advantageous to cold crash prior to dry hopping (so I've heard), then bring temp back up.  I notice similar effects in my beer especially when the sting of the CO2 hits your tongue.

+1
Jon H.