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Old 10-12-2012, 04:33 AM   #1
Devin
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Default Is it me, or is it.....?

I just recently started brewing. I think my first batch was February of this year. I have been doing a lot of research in the area and was starting to wonder if I have a "sub-standard" palate. Reading all of these descriptions of taste notes, I often didn't feel the same. Turns out I can't really describe what I am "tasting" very well.

Tonight I noticed something else that just adds to the confusion for me. I had a blip in my brew pipeline, so I went to the store tonight to get some brew. I decided on a couple of options - Marble Brewing's IPA and a 4-pack of Myrcenary from Odell's.

I love both Marble and Odell's brews - they make some phenomenal beers. However, I hadn't had these brews in a while. I started tonight out with some Myrcenary, which I used to describe as a bit "syrupy", but delightfully floral in the hops department. Tonight it tasted a bit drier than I remember, but the floral goodness was still there. Next up, I tried a Marble IPA, which I used to think of as a nice, dry IPA with good aroma. One taste and my immediate reaction was - holy malty, batman!!!!

So either my palate is very wacked, or I caught a weird batch of Marble IPA. Or, maybe I am just drunk and should have put this in the drunken ramblings section.....



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Old 10-12-2012, 04:39 AM   #2
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You should send the remaining beers to me; I'll let you know which of your impressions was right



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Old 10-12-2012, 10:05 AM   #3
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I have found my perceptions of beer have changed radically over the last 20 months since I started home brewing. I think there are 2 reasons. First, I make beer recipes like I cook: gotta get a real feel for the raw ingredients to see how they'll go together, which now helps me identify those ingredients in other's beers. Second, learning to become a BJCP judge has forced me to really focus hard on breaking down and comparing the many elements of each beer.

Maybe part of this is happening for you?

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Old 10-12-2012, 10:19 AM   #4
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I think so. When I started brewing,I was used to all the different things I added to my wine recipes. So I figured beer was roughly the same line if thinking. But as I started tasting craft beers during my "field research",I found I def didn't like IPA's,bitters were too malty,& the pale ales tasted like weak IPA's.
After brewing & gaining experience,I wound up brewing these ales I wasn't completely fond of. Now I look forward to my fresh brewed versions. Brewed an IPA with 6oz of hops that was pretty darn good. I got comfortable recombining extracts,hops,dif sugars,etc to make some good ales.
But now I'm fermenting my 1st partial mash pale. No blow off,but it is working. The taste at 2 days is unbelievable. Fresher,of course,but cleaner & the hops already have a well defined character. Unlike extracts,where flavors are green & quite muddled/bitter till it has had time to condition & further define flavor & aroma characteristics.
It's interesting to look back & see where we were vs where we are now. What a difference home brewing makes. I think it's the biggest reason craft beers are so popular.
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:05 PM   #5
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I know that I have become more observant of the commercial beers that I drink. If I find something that I like, I find myself trying to figure out what it is in particular that I like about it so that I can try to replicate it. I am not very good at that part yet, but it is fun trying!

Pirate: How does one become a BJCP judge?

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Old 10-12-2012, 03:11 PM   #6
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Two things are probably going on there - one, you're becoming much more observant of what you're tasting, and much more aware of what's going on. And two, you're starting to realize that some of the smaller crafter breweries are a little less consistent than you may have believed previously. I know there's one here in CT that's super inconsistent - I've had a couple of fantastic brews from them, but most of what I've had from them are mediocre to average - and that's all within the same handful of varieties.

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Old 10-12-2012, 03:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 69Bronc View Post
I know that I have become more observant of the commercial beers that I drink. If I find something that I like, I find myself trying to figure out what it is in particular that I like about it so that I can try to replicate it. I am not very good at that part yet, but it is fun trying!

Pirate: How does one become a BJCP judge?
Here's a start http://www.bjcp.org/examcenter.php
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:13 PM   #8
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I have definitely experienced the same thing since I began brewing and my palate is still learning. Little things I would have never noticed before stick out like a sore thumb. I used to hate hoppy beers and now they are my absolute favorite. I have gone a little overboard and now have almost 5 lbs of hops in my freezer

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Old 10-12-2012, 03:19 PM   #9
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It is true that people taste things different sometimes. And they may also be more sensitive to flavors or less sensitive to flavors. And your tastes change as you get older and as you experience tastes.

For me, I got used to the bitterness of hops. I don't like tart or sour things. I would eat candy bars as a kid, but sweetened coconut would make me gag later in life. I can tolerate it a bit now.

I had concerns over my tasting abilities and took a tasting seminar at a homebrewing function one time. The first flavor introduced was green apple. I picked up on it right away. My fears were gone! Then I picked out exactly ZERO of the remaining flavors. I brought my rediscovered fears to the presenter who said that he chose the green apple flavor first because it is considered to be the most difficult to pick out and he didn't want to use it later when everyone's tasters were wore out.

So it would seem I have a sensitivity to that flavor. I don't get much effect from butter or garlic. I can taste them if they are strong enough, but I've NEVER had either of them taste overwhelming or more than just noticeable.

I asked the presenter how he would recommend I get better at tasting and he said to just continue experimenting with the spiking kits if I can, and to also just practice tasting. Drinking beer with the intent on concentrating on what I can taste and trying to find a description for it. Doing this with the company of others can sometimes help you discover flavors that you couldn't put a name to, or didn't even realize you were tasting.

As far as becoming a judge, anyone with a small bit of studying can start on the path to being a judge. There are many levels and at the very least you should find some competitions near you and volunteer to help, even if it's just being a steward. From there you can take an online test to get a low level certification and start the real work of learning all of the styles by heart and preparing yourself for the difficult task of taking the tasting test and essays. It's been a while since I looked into this. It ended up being more work than I thought I could handle at the time. I decided to just work competitions as I could find them and continue to practice tasting. At some point I do plan on studying up and taking the test, but it will probably wait until the tests become more available and closer. They are currently hard to get into and usually a good distance away.

If you really are interested in becoming a BJCP judge, then I suggest you go to the BJCP WEBSITE and read up on the process and get started.

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Old 10-12-2012, 03:54 PM   #10
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Thanks for the info, guys.



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