We took a quarter of a pound of 7 kinds of dark grains (listen below) and steeped them overnight at room temperature in half a quart of water. We then took turns tasting all 7 grains, writing down our impressions as we went. We tasted them blind, however we did not taste them double blind--way too much work for this experiment! We also tasted them in different orders.
The results were fascinating, with some clear winners and losers. My tasting partner and I were also surprisingly aligned on many of them, although we were both wrong more often than not when trying to guess them after.
The clear winners: black patent, roasted barley
The clear losers: Carafa III dehusked, FrancoBelges Kiln Coffee
The real loser though was the Carafa III--we both thought it was absolutely terrible.
Taster 1: Bitter, thick, chocolate and coffee
Taster 2: Hard to describe, kind of flat flavor but great aroma
1: Thin, some caramel
2: Nutty, some marshmallow sweetness?
FrancoBelges Kiln Coffee
2: A little fruity, acrid, thin
1: Bittersweet, slight roast
2: Very malty, acrid
1: Candy sweet, alcohol
2: Strong aroma, very tangy
1: Sweet and roasty
2: Sweet and acrid/roast
Dehusked Carafa III
1: Tasteless and watery
2: Sour, earthy, thin
For my part I saw a lot more similarity than difference in flavor but my tasting partner was very struck by the differences. As I said, there were a couple big winners and two neither of us particularly liked.
Obviously the big flaw is this doesn't tell us anything about context--these were tasted on their own. I supposed the next logical thing to do some time is brew up 7 1.060 batches and make 'em into beer!