Author Topic: Does caffeine compromise your palette?  (Read 532 times)

Offline syncopadence

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 134
    • View Profile
Does caffeine compromise your palette?
« on: June 14, 2016, 11:04:15 PM »
Regarding the detection of off-flavors, does having caffeine compromise your palette or make it hard to cleanse? I've heard this before, but want to know if it's true and if anyone knows the science behind it? Anything else you shouldn't have before testing for off-flavors? Any tips on cleansing your palette?
Sorry for all the questions, and thanks for any help!

Offline santoch

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 887
  • North Bend, WA
    • View Profile
    • WAHA
Re: Does caffeine compromise your palette?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2016, 12:30:23 AM »
Caffeine per se won't wreck your palate, but strong flavors like in coffee can make you less sensitive to subtle flavors.

Generally, ANY strong flavored foods/drinks that overwhelm your taste buds should be avoided before judging.  Hot peppers, rich/spicy foods like Indian or Thai can dull the senses.

One of the best palate cleansers I ever had was back about 6 or 7 years ago at 1st Round NHC judging.  We were judging the Light Hybrids flight and someone entered a cream ale that had developed a very pronounced (but very clean) lactic acid contamination.  Despite its low score as a Cream Ale, we kept it on the table for the rest of the round as a delicious palate cleanser.  (We called it the Berliner Cream Ale.)

Plain crackers or plain white/French bread, and a bit of water seem to do the trick for me.
The idea is to mellow it all out and give your taste buds a break.

Mt. Si Brewing Society
Washington Homebrewer's Association (WAHA)
BJCP GM2/Mead Judge

Offline dbeechum

  • Administrator
  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 2704
  • Pasadena, CA
    • View Profile
    • Experimental Brewing
Re: Does caffeine compromise your palette?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2016, 08:32:21 PM »
I would prefer not to have anything other than beer/water/crackers during judging, but since most competitions occur in the morning and I'm a computer programmer by profession - caffeine keeps me from killing people and is therefore mandatory.
Drew Beechum - Maltosefalcons.com
- Vote in the AHA GC Election! - http://bit.ly/1aV9GVd  -
-----
Burbling:
Gnome is in the Details
*Experimental Brewing - The Book*
Tap:
Peanut Butter Jelly Time
Tupelo Mead
Farmhouse Brett Saison

Offline MDixon

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1894
    • View Profile
Re: Does caffeine compromise your palette?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2016, 11:11:46 AM »
I don't think caffeine affects the palate. I always bring a toothbrush with me and brush (and rinse several times) prior to sitting at the judging table. One other thing I suggest to do the morning of the comp before you leave the house or hotel. Take a towel (cloth or paper) and clean your tongue. Even if you brushed it might surprise you the difference when that puppy is really clean.
It's not a popularity contest, it's beer!

Offline tumarkin

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 646
    • View Profile
Re: Does caffeine compromise your palette?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2016, 11:15:45 AM »
great use for coffee at the judging table.....

keep a small cup of coffee beans on the table & sniff them when you need to clear/reset your palate. works great.
Mark Tumarkin
Hogtown Brewers
Gainesville, FL

Offline mabrungard

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2388
  • Water matters!
    • View Profile
    • Bru'n Water
Re: Does caffeine compromise your palette?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2016, 12:30:32 PM »
I find that coffee 'clouds' my palate temporarily. I find that tea is more neutral.

Mark, I see that your legacy has resulted in this year's Radegast award. Good work to you and your club!
Martin B
Carmel, IN

BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:
https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

Like Bru'n Water on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/Brun-Water-464551136933908/?ref=bookmarks

Offline beersk

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3484
  • In the night!
    • View Profile
Re: Does caffeine compromise your palette?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2016, 12:34:42 PM »
I would prefer not to have anything other than beer/water/crackers during judging, but since most competitions occur in the morning and I'm a computer programmer by profession - caffeine keeps me from killing people and is therefore mandatory.
I think it's time to realize you have a problem, Drew... you're addicted, man.
die Schönheit der bier...

Jesse