Originally Posted by scoots
I am looking for (cheap) ideas to refine my hop (and later grain) palate. I have already found 2 micro brew IPA that are single hopped. That gave me a really nice chance to sample Cascade and Centennial. Would preparing 1 gallon batches be best, or should I continue to look for single hop IPAs?
What about grains? Is there a good way to get to know the flavor of different grains?
I have been working on this too, and so far I've been exploring differences between hops that are similar or are used in similar beers - for example, summit, amarillo, centennial and cascade all have citrus characteristics, but are subtly different from eachother (not so subtly in AA's though), while williamette, Fuggles and East Kent Goldings are all somewhat earthy, floral english style hops, but again with smaller differences between them......
The best way to sample different hops (and grains...and yeast) is just to try different beer styles. My first big brewing obsession was with english style ales, and I got to know the characteristics of the different hops and grains usually asociated with those styles (both similarities and differences).... lately I have been exploring (and enjoying) wheat and rye beers....and I have to keep a stock of american pales, ambers and IPA's at all times, so those have been intermittently brewed throughout my other explorations, giving me a chance to discover that, for example, I really like amarillo and summit as much or more than centennial and cascade, the more popular widespread hops.
In short, just explore and take a few chances on styles you've never tried...you'll learn faster.