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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > How to Learn Beer Errors
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:19 PM   #1
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Default How to Learn Beer Errors

I have done a dozen or so extract recipes and just started all grains. I am concerned that my friends and I bask in the glory of our beer but lack the knowledge of how to identify mistakes.

How do you learn the flavors, etc., that identify things like under/over-pitching yeast, diacetyl, fermentation temps, etc.? I listen to a lot of home brewing podcasts, etc. but don't know how to get better at identifying brewing mistakes so I can get better at brewing beer.

For what it is worth, my LHBS isn't necessarily trustworthy as some of their brewing techniques are wrong which makes their opinion suspect.

Any ideas?
Thanks-
Mike

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Old 12-28-2011, 08:25 PM   #2
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Check out the BJCP guidelines as a start. And then find a book or website that describes off flavors in beers. Hopefully you won't find any at all, but even in some commercial examples you can pick up off flavors.

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Old 12-28-2011, 08:25 PM   #3
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There are BJCP "fault kits" you can buy.

With a bit of creativity you can also just reproduce some of these things pretty easy.

Rolling Rock beer - DMS (It is like liquid DMS)
Chlorseptic throat spray - 1-2 pumps into a sample glass will simulate phenol

I am sure there are others if you think about it.

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Old 12-28-2011, 08:29 PM   #4
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One way is to join a club and listen to what more experience people say about the beer.

I have also thought about finding something like this. http://www.flavoractiv.com/drinks/be...eshooting-kit/

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Old 12-28-2011, 08:35 PM   #5
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Although the flavoractiv kits are nice, there are guidelines for reproducing all the beer faults using commonly available ingredients in the BJCP exam study guide under Guidelines for Doctoring Beers.

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Old 12-28-2011, 09:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snap1042 View Post
For what it is worth, my LHBS isn't necessarily trustworthy as some of their brewing techniques are wrong which makes their opinion suspect.
What techniques did they tell you, that were wrong?
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:30 PM   #7
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There are some commercial beers noted for flaws, so you can buy a commercial beer to "get" that flavor. For example- Rolling Rock. Rolling Rock is so loaded with DMS that it's actually known for that!

St. Pauli Girl tends to be skunky. Although that flavor is self explanatory!

Diacetyl is "oily" when in a small amount, but also known as the buttered popcorn flavor. If you can imagine the movie theater butter on your fingers, that's exactly how a severe case of diacetyl tastes.

Phenols are like cloves, sort of. Esters can taste like bananas or bubblegum. (I have a Belgian that tastes like like Hubba Bubba). Sometimes those flavors "belong" there- like in the Belgian I mentioned. Hefeweizen has flavors of bananas and cloves, as part of the yeast character. But they have no place in an American amber.

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Old 12-29-2011, 03:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teromous

What techniques did they tell you, that were wrong?
They gave a really weird technique for all grain brewing. They said nothing of sparking or layering but instructed that you keep pouring your wort through the grains five or six times and then top off with water to reach the desired gravity.

I followed palmer's book instead and asked James @ basicbrewing.com and both said it was not a recommended technique.

I have also found ants in the LHBS grains and they told me that pale malt was pilsner malt . . . As they said pilsner malt doesn't exist.

Stuff like that.
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:18 PM   #9
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Wow, which LHBS are you going to?

I can kind of see recirculating the wort through the grains but the whole pilsner doesn't exist thing is weird.

Fortunately, Google says you have 4-5 LHBSs to choose from. I'd find a new one.

Edit: I spoke too soon, looks like you have two plus Keg Connection in San Marcos. Go to the other one if you need advise.

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I had no problems whatsoever getting my pee to ferment.
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:39 PM   #10
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Sometimes LHBS employees remind me of cocky record store employees (think High Fidelity) that assume you know nothing, then pull out random "facts" to lord over you, whether or not they're true, like their job alone somehow validates whatever they say.

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