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Old 09-19-2012, 07:38 PM   #1
rs3902
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Default Palate Training

I wanted to start a discussion on the topic. Does anyone have any good resources, tips, or advice on palate training as it applies to beer specifically? I don't think I'm seriously lacking in any particular way, but I feel like if I gained some knowledge/training/understanding, it would improve my brewing and overall enhance my love for beer!

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Old 09-19-2012, 07:44 PM   #2
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I'd start here
http://www.bjcp.org/index.php

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Old 09-19-2012, 07:54 PM   #3
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Ive come to the conclusion that BJCP would ruin beer for me, not make it better. As far as training your palette, eat and drink things with ingredients that you know and try and pick out the individual ingredient flavors and understand what they taste like. Cooking is a great activity to train your palette, if you are doing it right you are always tasting along the way and seeing how the flavors change and homogenize through the course of the dish. Dont forget to work on your nose too, taste and smell are very closely linked.

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Old 09-19-2012, 07:56 PM   #4
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I´ve worked in restaurants a lot and started in wine tasting actually until I got tired of the snob and started with beer, the first advice that I can give you is train your nose first, forget about smoking and forget that you are smelling a beer, train your nose by smelling everything around, for wine there is even a few kits with essences that help you. Don´t be afraid of pointing aromas or flavours if you percive them NOBODY can tell that what your picking up it´s wrong or rigth. The easier aromas to pick up are the one that you been familiar with (specially the ones that you were exposed to since you were a little kid) and to start do not try to taste more than 3 or 4 beers after that it can get really confusing if you are not trained. Have a copy of the wheel of aromas and flavours on hand a keep tasting beers.
Easier thing it´s to percieve dryness or sweetness bu sure of that first, the are some excercices with glasses of water and differents amounts of sugar (same thing with citrics flavours differente glasses of water with different amounts of lemon juice for instance).
Remember there is some things that you have to have so previous notions: dyacetil is something that most homebrewers that I know can´t pick up in small doses, tannins on the other hand are easy (some dusty mouthfeel in your gums), just read read read and taste taste taste.

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Old 09-19-2012, 08:10 PM   #5
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Take tasting notes. Drink maybe 3 different beers a week, and take notes on everything you see, smell, taste, and feel. Writing it down makes you commit to it, and will help commit your palate to memory. Taste LOTS! Just not all at once, as previously noted.

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Old 09-19-2012, 08:18 PM   #6
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I am very interested in training my palate as well. One thing I'm doing is doing a bunch of small batches of beer with just slightly different ingredients. The first is that I am currently fermenting 6 one gallon batches that use the same grains but each batch is hopped with only a single variety. I hope to work on distinguishing what hops varieties contribute what kinds of flavors to a beer. I have a lot of batches to make-- something like 15 varieties that I want to try-- and then I will work on a similar project with grains.

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Old 09-19-2012, 08:25 PM   #7
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Firstly, understand there is a difference between drinking beer and tasting beer.

I've just started my journey with the BJCP program and I've found that judging 3 beers (a light, a medium, and a dark -- in this order) and filling out the BJCP sheet while having the guidelines on an iPad has really sharpened my palate and expanded my knowledge of different styles. Use the AHA's Commercial Calibration tool to pick out great beers to taste.

Now after tasting all three beers, of course I go back and drink them all.

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Old 09-19-2012, 08:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uziyahu View Post
I am very interested in training my palate as well. One thing I'm doing is doing a bunch of small batches of beer with just slightly different ingredients. The first is that I am currently fermenting 6 one gallon batches that use the same grains but each batch is hopped with only a single variety. I hope to work on distinguishing what hops varieties contribute what kinds of flavors to a beer. I have a lot of batches to make-- something like 15 varieties that I want to try-- and then I will work on a similar project with grains.
Brewing Smash beer help you a lot, there is a few breweries that also make single hop series so you can get familiar with hops caracther
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:41 PM   #9
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There's a lot of good advice here to get you going on the right track. Remember to try to break down the layers of flavors your getting, many are subtle and are secondary to the more dominant flavors on the palate. Like the floral and citrusy flavors in habeneros. Don't drink your beer too fast, as it warms up the flavors of the malts open up more. And one thing that's tricky I've noticed in beer...certain ingredients contribute flavors that don't taste the same as they do alone or not in beer. Like maple syrup.

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Old 09-19-2012, 11:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Obliviousbrew View Post
Brewing Smash beer help you a lot, there is a few breweries that also make single hop series so you can get familiar with hops caracther
+1 for this. Once you brew up a bunch of different sMasH you could try brewing a 5 gal batch of beer, splitting it into 2 2.5 gal batches and then pitch different yeasts into wort. or maybe split the batches use the same yeast but ferment at different temperatures. Basically I think the goal is to do as many different permutations while still only altering one variable from the control.
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