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Old 10-22-2009, 05:17 PM   #1
pickles
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Default Any experience with BJCP Sensory Training Kit?

I see that Siebel Institute sells this sensory training kit. I think it would be interesting to experience these tastes and beneficial to be able to identify them. However, $180 is definitely too expensive for me. It has 24 flavor samples and can serve up to 20 tasters. Has anyone ever found a similar kit that consisted of smaller quantities?

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Old 10-22-2009, 05:21 PM   #2
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Must find brewclub.

Our club is ordering two kits, paid for by membership dues. We should start tasting in December probably so I'll let you know what I think of them.

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Old 10-22-2009, 05:30 PM   #3
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Bobby - I look forward to your thoughts. I figured this is a perfect thing for a club, but I don't really want to go that route. I'm kinda anti-social.

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Old 10-22-2009, 05:51 PM   #4
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For what it's worth, there's a competing kit for sale that you can find on the AHA website called "FlavorActiV Enthusiast". AHA members can buy it for a bit under $150, and regular non-member price is $200.

The kits are organized a bit differently in that they cover a range of flavors, but the flavors are combined to represent problems that typically crop up during brewing. e.g. there's tasting sets called "bacterial growth in the mash", "bacterial growth in the fermentation", "spoilage by wild yeasts", etc.

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Old 10-22-2009, 06:38 PM   #5
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I've led tastings with both the FlavorActiV kit and Siebel kit. Both are good, although Siebel's is easier to work with (liquid samples, instead of pellets you have to dissolve) and more extensive. Siebel's kit also has a couple combination samples -- one to simulate "hefeweizen" (clove phenols and banana esters) and one to simulate an old beer (in bad way -- think of a keg that has gone 'round the bend or beer from lines that aren't cleaned nearly enough).

In both cases, you get many samples that don't really apply to homebrewers, but the are still interesting (or even a little funny, in a gross way). In both cases, I also found that you can't just go straight with the directions on adding the special sauce to the beer. Sometimes, it's not enough to really pick it up; sometimes, it's so powerful that it's not authentic. Just be prepared to play around with the concentrations a little. In any case, either is worth doing, but I don't think you need both.

Also, if you teach (or are a part of) a BJCP exam study course that is tied to a BJCP exam, BJCP will provide one free Siebel kit for the class's use (although you are free to invite others). You have to let the BJCP know and get them some information (like a class syllabus), and I recommend giving them at least a couple months notice (AT LEAST) to get the kit to you. They used to provide the FlavorActiV kit, which is how I got to try it.


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Old 10-22-2009, 07:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pickles View Post
I'm kinda anti-social.
Even with a few beers in you?
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Old 10-22-2009, 07:38 PM   #7
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Clubs just aren't my thing that's all. Nothing against them.

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Old 10-23-2009, 12:16 AM   #8
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sounds like I just need to get a few brewing buddies together and pull the trigger on one of these.

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Old 10-23-2009, 12:17 AM   #9
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Texlaw - which you suggest getting?

FYI I'm not an AHA member

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Old 10-23-2009, 12:21 AM   #10
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My friend brought a kit back from Siebel and we ran through the 24 samples over two sessions. I found that you sort of go into sensory overload if you really try to get through all of them, and at the end of the second session, no beer tasted right whatsoever.

The kit was awesome and informative. Some flavors stood out far more than others, and some were fun to try even though you knew you'd never run into them in your brewing experience. But I think the kit was worth it, especially since like 9 of us got to take advantage of the tastings. It is definitely best with a group because you get so much more feedback.

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