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Old 01-04-2007, 01:06 AM   #1
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Default Biggest Difference in the Taste of Beer?

I was wondering as I am relatively new to homebrewing (6 under the belt so far), what changes the taste of a beer the most considering all other things being equal ie. sanitation, temperature, and over variables? Say I am brewing a pale ale, will the hops, type of malt, yeast, or grains I use change the taste the most? Obviously, the differences will change the taste somewhat. Lets say I use the same ingredients, but consitently use different type of hops using the same hop schedule and same weight hops (Cascades vs. Willamette) would that change the taste more than say using different types of pale ale malts and using the same hops over and over? Hopefully somewhat understands what I am talking about.

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Old 01-04-2007, 02:26 AM   #2
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To me, changing the variety of hops makes a subtle difference. Changing the amount of hops makes a huge difference. I will admit that I'm no expert when it comes to hops. It's one part of brewing that I haven't figured out. One reason is because I'm NOT a hop head.

The different malts can also drastically change the flavor of the beer. Adding anything from sweetness, roastyness, nuttiness, smoked, to even burnt flavors. Again, different amounts of malt will also change flavor and mouth feel (as well as alcohol content which is part of the flavor).

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Old 01-04-2007, 02:29 AM   #3
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I think it is a combination of everything, but the YEAST makes the beer. You can take the exact same recipe of grain and hops and use different yeasts and get totally different beers. Yeast is the key, IMHO.

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Old 01-04-2007, 04:03 AM   #4
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I totally agree. The yeast definitely makes or breaks the style of beer. I found that out when I started using different liquid yeasts. It was most obvious when I used a trappist yeast. WOW what a difference. Malt and hops give you a lot of flavor variety, but the yeast strain can bring in flavors you can't get any other way.

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Old 01-04-2007, 04:34 AM   #5
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Another reason, HBT, best brew board on the web.

I never really thought of it that way but it makes so much sense. Most of the time you just think of the yeasties as doing their thing, making nice little ABV for you, but you don't think about what they are converting as contributing to the flavors of your beer. Simple to overlook, but a HUGE component of what makes up your beer. Not just an engine, but a TRUE ingredient of your brew.


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Old 01-04-2007, 10:27 AM   #6
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Taste is quite individual. What may taste different to one will taste the same to others.

Personally, I think to me that the yeast changes the most, everything else being equal.

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Old 01-04-2007, 12:37 PM   #7
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Important stuff IMO:

1) Starting out with quality malt, hops, water and yeast.
2) Leaving the beer to mature. Something like a 1.050 OG beer should be left to mature for a month after fermentation before drinking, depending on the style.
3) Temperature - mainly during fermentation. Keep it in the recommended range for the yeast and don't let it fluctuate.

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Old 01-04-2007, 12:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dude
I think it is a combination of everything, but the YEAST makes the beer. You can take the exact same recipe of grain and hops and use different yeasts and get totally different beers. Yeast is the key, IMHO.

Thats what I was going to say too
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Old 01-04-2007, 01:16 PM   #9
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I have 3 experimental batches going. Since most of my "test batches involved playing with grain bills, I wanted to see how the yeast component affects taste. I took a Brewers Best English Pale Ale kit and split it into three 1 gallon jars (the rest I am using for starters). In one, I used Nottingham Yeast, the 2nd has Coopers Ale yeast, the 3rd has champagne yeast. I know they'll be different, but I just wanted to see how the taste changes. I'll let you know how they work out.

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Old 01-04-2007, 01:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dude
I think it is a combination of everything, but the YEAST makes the beer. You can take the exact same recipe of grain and hops and use different yeasts and get totally different beers. Yeast is the key, IMHO.
Well put, old chap! Yeast is the one thing that's constant in terms of quantity. I could take your favorite IPA recipe, throw a hefe yeast on it and have something wildly different than what you made.
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