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Old 07-06-2013, 01:03 AM   #1
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Default SWMBO Flavor Translator Needed

Thought I would share a story and thoughts from tonight....

I was out to dinner tonight with SWMBO having a local craft beer that she was enjoying. I asked what she liked about it compared to what I currently have on tap and she stated it wasn't as "strong". I asked her to detail a bit more what she meant by "strong", and she stated that I am "supposed to know what she means". Furthermore, she suggested that we should have an SWMBO flavor translator that will help us identify what they are attempting to describe when telling us what they like and don't like about our home brews.

In this case, "Strong" = "Bitter" = She doesn't like high IBU with Cascades.

So, the first entry for my "SWMBO Flavor Translator Database" is Strong = Bitter.

Hope this helps someone else root cause SWMBO flavor translating. Please share any of your own experiences that may help the rest of us.

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Old 07-06-2013, 10:36 AM   #2
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Under that definition many of my male friends are SWMBO. Hard to put a gender reference to beer taste. Many gals love the bitter beers and many guys don't. Maybe being more specific and saying this is the dictionary for your SWMBO would be better. Just sayin....

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Old 07-06-2013, 11:00 AM   #3
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Or perhaps go the other way and make it a generalized dictionary for all who are unfamiliar with how to describe the beer drinking experience. With that in mind, it's my experience that strong = dark. For example, my BMC drinking relatives on dark beer: "I don't like dark beer, it's too strong." I'm not entirely sure what they mean by that since I am about 95% sure they've never even tried a dark beer. Actually that reminds me of another one. Dark = any shade darker than BMC.


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Old 07-06-2013, 11:55 AM   #4
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I laughed yesterday at my spouse. I put an IPA on tap, after not having an American IPA on for a few weeks.

Nearly flat, and still pretty warm, he poured a glass and said, "Ah! I've NEEDED hops." I said something like "Well, there is an English IPA on tap, and there are lots of hops in that" but he sucked down a warm uncarbonated beer pretty quickly anyway.

He is really good at critiquing beers, and he'd probably be a better judge than I am, but he doesn't know the right terminology. He can describe flavors very well, but doesn't label them "right".

He has become a hophead over the last few years, though, so no matter what beer style it is, and no matter how hoppy it is, he'll always say, "This beer could use more hops!"

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Old 07-06-2013, 12:17 PM   #5
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Yeah I would take strong as meaning high abv or at least those beers where you really taste the alcohol. I don't think I've ever heard the strong == bitter.

And dark, lol, yeah. Pretty much if it isn't yellow, it's dark. And the majority of people instantly relate dark with Guinness. When people say that, I try to get them a Yazoo Dos Perros ( . It pours almost black like Guinness so people jump on the "I don't like dark beers" wagon real fast. You explain to them the style and that the chocolate malt makes it dark and after a few sips they see a little shimmer of the light.

Someone out there really needs to make a good, nay, great info-graphic titled "When you say hoppy, you really mean..."

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Old 07-06-2013, 12:48 PM   #6
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My wife and I used to live in Asheville, NC before we got married. Whenever we go to a pub/restaurant or I buy a 6 pack I have her take a taste. She only likes the beers that "taste like Asheville." I have deciphered this to mean "Citra Hops." Due to one of my favorite breweries in Asheville (Asheville Pizza and Brewing Co.) and one of my favorite beers (Shiva IPA) I believe uses Citra. She also really enjoys Zombiedust and Alpha King from Three Floyds and always says they taste like "Asheville."

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Old 07-06-2013, 12:59 PM   #7
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Mine used "hot garbage" to describe DH 60 min..... anyone got something this translate to?

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Old 07-06-2013, 01:04 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by hoppedup75 View Post
Mine used "hot garbage" to describe DH 60 min..... anyone got something this translate to?
Alcohol and Simcoe. That's how I describe most earthy hops, "garbage." If they're tasting the alcohol, they're picking up on the "hot." Unless it's a pepper beer. That'd be "really hot garbage."
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Old 07-06-2013, 01:43 PM   #9
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Aside from a few exceptions, my wife dislikes hoppy beers. Besides the actual bitterness, she has always said she can't stand them because they're "too thick". I couldn't figure out what this meant for the longest time because she'd describe the lightest pale ale to the biggest DIPA that way. I cam to the conclusion that it means she hates the oily, resinous mouthfeel that you find in beers like DFH 90 min, Hopslam and well, Resin. She's just come to associate that texture with all APAs and IPAs.

On a related note: when I made a Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous clone a couple of years ago and let her try it, made her standard bitter beer face and told me, "it's disgusting, but it tastes like an IPA." I knew I had done something right.

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Old 07-06-2013, 02:07 PM   #10
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This thread points out the need for a common vocabulary, and the difficulty of describing a flavor.

‘Strong’ could be just about anything. Generally I find it means “too much of something in there that I don’t like”. BJCP style guide for all the American Lagers says “Strong flavors are a fault.”

Try comparing it to other beers.
Is it strong like Guinness or barleywine? Malt. Caramel roast chocolate.
Is it strong like APA or AIPA? Hops. Citrus resin spice
Is it strong like Belgians? Esters. Clove fruit banana

Flavors are best described in terms of other flavors. Notice all the adjectives above apply to food.

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