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Old 07-18-2005, 06:17 PM   #1
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Default What affects the taste of beer most?

Hey all,

I wanted to get people to weigh in on a question I've got about beer recipes and what affects it most. I've been thinking about this for a while, wondering how different my beers would be from a particular recipe if I was forced to vary an ingredient because its not available in my area.

So from everyones experience out there, what ingredients have the most affect on a beers taste? Assuming I try to replace an ingredient with something pretty similar, would a change in the yeast have more affect than a change in a hop? How about changing one of the grains?

Any thoughts would be appreciated...

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Old 07-18-2005, 06:39 PM   #2
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Yeast, by far.

There was a seminar at the National Homebrewers Conference that was titled "Same Wort , Different Yeasts", and the guy who did it had 18 samples of the exact same batch of wort (i.e. same grain bill, same hops), and then fermented with different yeasts. I only made it through about half of them before I was getting fitshaced, so I quit, but there was definitely a big difference in the beers.

Another example is using a base for a golden ale, a kolsch, and a cream ale. The grain and hops are relatively the same for all of those styles. But its the yeast that usually defines the style.

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Old 07-18-2005, 06:54 PM   #3
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Well, really, I think any ingredient or technique change could dramatically change the beer's flavor. You say swapping out a grain for something "similar". Well, if you swap black patent for chocolate or roasted barley, you'll have a very different beer.

Yeast definitely has a dramatic affect. Like ORRELSE says, you can make the same recipe into many different beers by changing yeast alone.

The finishing and aroma hops also have an enormous impact IMHO...there are some hops that I just don't like as much as others, so swapping hops in and out would be a big difference to me. Bittering hops aren't so much of a big deal.

I really see it as a complex interaction of all the ingredients and other factors involved, and it's impossible to say that one particular component has the *most* impact on flavor. Just my $.02

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Old 07-18-2005, 07:41 PM   #4
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don't forget, the same beer femented and aged at a higher or lower temperature will taste different. a brown all fermented/aged at room temp compared to a brown ale fermented/aged at 65 degrees will be different.

i don't know if the yeast has the most affect on a brew or not? or should we say most versatile ingredient? hops are pretty versatile too, with so many options to use, and mix/match together. most HBS will have ingredients for say, a bock beer. but you can make it with ale yeast (German Ale/Kolsch strain) or lager yeast (Bavarian Lager strain), and get two different beers. same hops, same grains/extracts. hhhmmmmmmm.........i'll ponder this one over a brown ale/porter/stout :~)

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Old 12-28-2010, 03:02 PM   #5
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happy to find this question, was thinking of asking something very similar. we've decided to keep the brewers best red ale kit on tap as a "house" beer. have made the same kit 3 times now and it's turning out the same each time. now considering since we know what that beer taste like, making a couple of batches with a different yeast to see what we might end up with.

anyone have any suggestions as to what we might try? the kit comes with a nottingham(?) dry yeast. we have never re-hydrated the yeast before pitching, wonder if that would make any difference? can't see that it would effect flavor?

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Old 12-28-2010, 05:21 PM   #6
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i agree that all ingredients play a part in flavor of a beer and changing any one would change the beer. I do believe that yeast (and pitching rate/temp control) plays the biggest part in the finished product.

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Old 12-28-2010, 09:07 PM   #7
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Yeast is probably the smart choice here but you can make a good case for hops, think double IPA or a hop-bomb. You get bitterness and hop flavor and a ton of aroma--hops are multidimensional if the style permits.

But yeah, yeast. I'm not swimming against the stream here.

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Old 01-17-2014, 05:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Driftwood View Post
So from everyones experience out there, what ingredients have the most affect on a beers taste? Assuming I try to replace an ingredient with something pretty similar, would a change in the yeast have more affect than a change in a hop? How about changing one of the grains?

Any thoughts would be appreciated...
Quote:
Originally Posted by edie View Post
anyone have any suggestions as to what we might try? the kit comes with a nottingham(?) dry yeast. we have never re-hydrated the yeast before pitching, wonder if that would make any difference? can't see that it would effect flavor?
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkreuze View Post
Yeast is probably the smart choice here but you can make a good case for hops, think double IPA or a hop-bomb. You get bitterness and hop flavor and a ton of aroma--hops are multidimensional if the style permits.

But yeah, yeast. I'm not swimming against the stream here.
So definitely Yeast, because several things can vary by changing just the Yeast vs single Hops vs single ingredient change to have the most affect. No mention of doubling the hops, so the IPA rule wouldn't hold. Changing a mash method could compensate somewhat for an ingredient. However Yeast can vary so much even within just the same Yeast (how old the yeast is, starter, pitching and repitching rate, temp control, time at certain temp, temp during various points of the fermentation, diacetyl rest, cold conditioning..you get the point that so many variables with just the Yeast strain itself to affect taste/mouthfeel/aroma/flavor profile/etc..

So in regards to the Nottie Yeast, try a slow ramp to a higher temp and then rack sooner (if complete), try a starter, etc..the Nottie will perform slightly different or try an English Ale or Cal V Ale or ?? for the same recipe and see what happens to the profile of the beer. Ahhh the possibilities are endless, thank the beer gods or God for giving us such a wonderful creation...I'm brewing in the early morning, who's with me??
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Old 01-17-2014, 05:21 PM   #9
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Beer is a whole heap of variables and I don't think it's possible to pin one down as the "biggest."

Having said that, there are hop substitution charts where they tell you what hop is similar if you can't get a particular variety. Same goes for yeasts.

If you're concerned about not being able to get a particular ingredient in your area, order it from somewhere out of your area.

Last thing, just experiment. Make the same recipe over and over again and change one thing each time. That will give you a really good idea of what ingredients bring to the table and how they interact.

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Old 01-17-2014, 05:45 PM   #10
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What affects the taste of beer most?
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