Author Topic: Tasting during Primary Fermentation  (Read 310 times)

Offline Nick Fielding

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Tasting during Primary Fermentation
« on: January 19, 2019, 10:18:47 PM »
Hi all,

Fairly new to homebrewing and new to the forum. My question regards the development of the final flavour/aroma of beer during the fermentation cycle. My current batch is a Pale Ale that has been in the primary for ~72 hours. Bubbling at the airlock has slowed to less than 1 bubble a minute, so I used a wine thief to get a gravity reading to see how its coming along. All looks good in that regard, but I do like to taste the beer (from the cylinder) after Ive taken a reading. Currently it smells like old pup carpet, so a bit like stale beer, and has no unpleasant flavours, it just isn't particularly flavourful. Im not at all worried about this batch, Im just more interested if anyone has any comments on the flavour development during fermentation, and when you could taste your beer and have an indication on what the final flavour will be, or is the only way to have patience and wait until it time to open up a bottle?

Thanks all!

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Tasting during Primary Fermentation
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2019, 12:17:16 PM »
I typically wait to taste until after the yeast has dropped for the most part.  It always seemed to me that tasting any earlier was tasting yeast.

After the yeast falls out you can get an idea of the final flavor of the beer.  Depending on your conditioning routine you will notice additional changes.  The effect of proper CO2 volumes will bring the flavor together.  Tasting along the way doesn't hurt, and can help you learn about each stage, but it won't taste like "beer" to most people until it is done.

IMHO, of course.

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Offline ethinson

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Re: Tasting during Primary Fermentation
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2019, 10:33:30 PM »
I used to taste when I transferred from primary to secondary (I no longer do transfers), and I always taste on bottling day.  Bottle day tasting will always most closely resemble a finished beer but IMO you won't know until it's in a bottle/keg, cold and carbonated.  Flat warm beer from a hydrometer sample may be missing some aromatics, especially hops that get pushed up by carb. 

Interestingly, my wife once asked me if I tasted my wort after cooling, and I never did.  My initial reaction was "Why would I? It's ungodly sweet and isn't going to taste at all like beer".  Curiosity got the best of me and I started tasting my wort. In dark beers you can get a sense (not completely, but an idea) of malt roast and maybe some hop bitterness, in belgian wort of course there is none of the yeast esters that make a classic belgian, but you can get some of the caramel or brown sugar aspects from the dark malts or candi sugar etc.  In an IPA wort you can get some idea of how the bitterness may balance sweetness etc. As you calibrate your palate you can start to pick things out above and beyond "sweet" but what that will mean will be unique to you and your process.
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