The beer was poured into J.K. Adams beer flight glasses and labeled only with a number by a dispassionate observer. A form that listed #1-#4 was given to each of the three brewers that asked for tasting notes and a guess for which ingredient went into each batch.
We omitted the mix.Participant Background
Each of us has a fairly vast knowledge of beer (We've finished www.ratebeer.com's
Top 50 Beer list together, GABF, greater than 500 samples each, etc.)
Person 1 and Person 3 formulate all the recipes we brew, Person 2 just gives us money, hangs out, and drinks with us while we brew. He helps us with the physical tasks, but doesn't know much about making recipes. However, he's the least picky of the three.
Person 1 has the least experience brewing, Person 3 has the most.
Person 2 is the most experience drinker - or at least he drinks the most.
I do admit, we make almost 80% of our beers with Rye, and don't use the other ingredients too often.
The following is the results from the score cards:Person 1
#1 [Wheat]: Head lasted the longest of all those tested, distinct mellow taste, oily, but not as oily as #3. Guess: Wheat
#2 [Rye]:This is the rye. Crisp, smooth, I know that taste. Rye.Guess: Rye
#3 [Oats]:This is the best tasting of the three. Thick, oily, good mouthfeel, and the carbonation feels different than the others. It feels much thicker than the others, so this is what a stout should be.Guess: Barley
#4 [Barley]: Head retention almost as good as #1, however, there is no distinct taste. Oily, but not as much as #1 or #3.Guess: OatsPerson 2
#1 [Wheat]:Certainly a different taste, thick, tastes pretty good, head lasts a lot longer than the other, has a distinct taste, I can't tell if it's oats or wheat. Whatever it is, it is good.Guess: Oats
#2 [Rye]:This one is the best. I love the crisp taste. It's perfect. Matches the burnt flavors very well. I bet it is the Rye. It's the best.Guess: Rye
#3 [Oats]: This one is thick, second longest lasting head, it is pretty good, thick, it tastes like something, but I do not know it. Barely maybe. It is good.Guess: Barley
#4 [Barley]: I am not sure, it tastes like #3. It is good. Guess: OatsPerson 3
#1 [Wheat]: This one must be the wheat. It's thicker than normal, has a very distinct aroma, and tastes a little bit like wheat. The flavor is difficult to discern, but it's almost defiantly wheat. I'm 90% sure.Guess: Wheat
#2 [Rye]: It's Rye. Obvious. I can't overstate the ability to tell what this one is.Guess: Rye
#3 [Oats]:This one I'm not so sure about - it tastes like it could be either roasted barley or oats. It's thick creamy, head lasts a long time, I liked this one very much. It's easy to tell this from the others, this being superior. It's got a little bit of the Barney-Flats or Breckenridge thing going for it, so I'm guessing oats.Guess: Oats
#4 [Barley]: This is a close second to #3. It's got a thick creamy head, albeit not as significant as the wheat, it's got a good smell - but not different from #3. It's well-balanced, but it's lacking the mouthfeel of #3.Conclusion
I don't think that there is too big of a difference here. The rye is discernible, the wheat maybe, and the other two are VERY difficult. I think in a large pool of samples, the odds of us getting them right would be reduced drastically. Honestly, the last two were guesswork on the part of all three of us.