Author Topic: umami water treatment  (Read 2021 times)

Offline uisgue

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umami water treatment
« on: September 12, 2010, 12:23:51 PM »
In a recent article I read (BYO), the author mentioned umami in describing various flavors in beer.  Umami is the "5th taste", along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty.  It is often described as "savory".  I have often wondered about trying to introduce some of that umami flavor to my beer.  What I am wondering is how the addition of mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) would affect the water chemistry if I add it to my water adjustments. Or maybe, I should just make sure my sodium levels are low and then add the MSG to the boil.  Anybody have any ideas about this?
BTW, I am of the opinion that MSG gets a bad rap in the media, and is not much (if at all) worse than sodium chloride.  You might want to watch your intake, but it is not poison.
Doug Hickey
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Offline beerocd

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Re: umami water treatment
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2010, 05:41:14 PM »
What I am wondering is how the addition of mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) would affect the water chemistry if I add it to my water adjustments. Or maybe, I should just make sure my sodium levels are low and then add the MSG to the boil.  Anybody have any ideas about this?

MSG + Water = SOUP!
Isn't msg already in beer due to fermentation byproducts?
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: umami water treatment
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2010, 07:00:59 PM »
What I am wondering is how the addition of mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) would affect the water chemistry if I add it to my water adjustments. Or maybe, I should just make sure my sodium levels are low and then add the MSG to the boil.  Anybody have any ideas about this?

MSG + Water = SOUP!
Isn't msg already in beer due to fermentation byproducts?
Glutamic acid, which is what you get when you add water to MSG (you get sodium too) is an amino acid found in all cells.  The yeast will make what they need.  There won't be much floating free in the beer though, it will generally remain in the cell.  And there won't be much that is in the amino acid form either.  Most of it will be bound up in various peptides and proteins.

<edit> I don't know enough about water chemistry to answer the original question.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2010, 07:02:56 PM by tschmidlin »
Tom Schmidlin

Offline narvin

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Re: umami water treatment
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2010, 06:05:34 AM »
I have no idea if MSG will affect the pH of your mash.

It may make your beer taste like meaty broth, though...
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Offline denny

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Re: umami water treatment
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2010, 09:15:21 AM »
Doug, I can't answer your question, but I've got to say you come up with some of the most interesting and original ideas for beers that I've run across!  Why not try it in a split batch so you'll have a control to taste it against?  You could do your mash, split the wort, and add MSG to one boil.
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: umami water treatment
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2010, 11:31:26 AM »
If you want your beer to taste like glutamate, just leave it on the yeast in a warm place for an extended time.

We like to call it 'autolysis'.
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline denny

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Re: umami water treatment
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2010, 11:35:56 AM »
Hmmmmm....I take that to mean you don't think it's a good idea?   ;)
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: umami water treatment
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2010, 11:40:14 AM »
No, I don't.  But it's exactly what it tastes like.
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: umami water treatment
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2010, 11:41:25 AM »
If you want your beer to taste like glutamate, just leave it on the yeast in a warm place for an extended time.

We like to call it 'autolysis'.
Have you added MSG to beer?  I could see similarities from the flavor descriptions.  Maybe try it in the glass before you do it in 5 gallons.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: umami water treatment
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2010, 12:10:05 PM »
Quote
Have you added MSG to beer?

No.  Haven't added chloroseptic or grape tannin either.
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: umami water treatment
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2010, 12:16:43 PM »
Yeah, but those two are on the list for doctoring beers to mimic flaws.  Autolysis will release some glutamate, but it's not clear to me that glutamate is the main cause of autolysis off-flavors.  Do you have a reference I can read through?
Tom Schmidlin

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: umami water treatment
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2010, 12:30:22 PM »
I think you probably need to talk to a chemist in the food sciences industry.  I don't follow their scientific research, so I don't have handy references.  I just know what it tastes like.

I googled and found this article http://www.livestrong.com/article/71755-autolyzed-yeast-extract/ but I'm not sure it qualifies as a "reference" in the journal sense.

Joe Formanek might be able to answer it for you.  I learned about it from Gary Spedding.  He has some cred: http://www.alcbevtesting.com/
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: umami water treatment
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2010, 01:36:45 PM »
All I'm trying to say is that while glutamate may be a component of off flavors caused by autolysis, it's probably not the entirety of it.  The BJCP study guide lists autolysis as a possible cause for sulfury/yeasty flavors, which I don't think would increase if you added straight MSG.  I could be wrong though.

If MSG is a good additive for doctoring beers to mimic autolysis though, maybe we should add it to the BJCP Study Guide.  I don't have that kind of power though . . .  :)
Tom Schmidlin

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: umami water treatment
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2010, 03:31:00 PM »
MSG does not capture the full horror of yeast autolysis.  Umami plays a role, but there are other sulfury things going on there as well.  I don't think I'd want to add MSG to my beer, but to each his own.  But I don't think anyone really craves autolysis flavors in their beer, whether they know it or not.  Yuck.
Dave

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Offline denny

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Re: umami water treatment
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2010, 03:35:43 PM »
I don't think I'd want to add MSG to my beer, but to each his own.

Doug (the OP) once made a beetweizen.  I swore I wouldn't drink it, but I did and it wasn't half bad....who knows, maybe this is crazy enough to work.  And maybe it's just crazy!   :D
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