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Old 06-02-2010, 02:13 PM   #1
MilwaukeeBrewGuy
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Default Further Developing one's palate

I would like to be able to better pick out subtle flavors in beer. I have had many different styles of different beer but I was just wondering what tips you all could give on picking out these different flavors.

I think it would help refine our brewing techniques if we can actually pick out these subtle flavors that we may be missing.


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Old 06-02-2010, 02:21 PM   #2
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Find a BJCP class and take it. You don't necessarily have to go through all the way to taking the exam if you don't want to be a judge. But you'll be doing a lot of guided tastings with experienced judges who will point stuff out. They even do a section on off flavors where the take a base beer (I think miller) and add certain things to it to mimic common off flavors.

Info, here- http://www.bjcp.org/index.php


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Old 06-02-2010, 02:27 PM   #3
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great tip Revvy. Looking for classes now. I wonder how much they cost.
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Old 06-02-2010, 02:32 PM   #4
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If you want to play mad scientist, here is a list of how the BJCP recommends on doctoring beers to taste off flavors

guideline for doctoring beer

If at all possible, I HIGHLY recommend finding some sort of brew club. The club I joined in Cleveland had several National and Grand Master level judges. When I did the BJCP study group with them, it was like having a beer tasting Sensei. For me at least, I had to be told "that is oxidation" etc.

You can also order a kit that is a little more encompassing than the beer voodoo in the BJCP study guide. I think its through Seibel and costs around $120 for AHA members. If you organize a BJCP study group, prove you have a group meeting every week and have an exam scheduled, the BJCP will send you one for free.

No matter which way you go, you should only doctor light american lagers. We used Bud Light because thats what is available. I think they use Bud at Seibel. Miller High Life is a good one too. Basically, it should be as bland and flavorless as possible to let the off flavor "shine through".

Another thing you can do is buy commercial beers with known off flavors.

acetaldehyde - budweiser
oxidation - Anchor Steam (if you are on the East Coast), most imported Belgian beers, especially Duvel (unfortunately).
diacetyl - Red Hook beers (or so I'm told - I can't taste or smell diacetyl)
sour - lambics/flanders red (not an off flavor in these beers, but it will teach you what the flavor is)


I'm sure there are others can chime in with commercial beers that exhibit certain off flavors too.
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Old 06-02-2010, 02:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edcculus View Post


I'm sure there are others can chime in with commercial beers that exhibit certain off flavors too.
LOL, if you ca manage to find some two hearted from these batches, then you can taste lacot.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/two-...-bells-180610/
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Old 06-02-2010, 02:37 PM   #6
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Go to Discount Liquor on Oklahoma Ave. every week and pick out different beers every time (literally a different beer every time you drink one). Then force yourself to either discus the beer while sharing it with someone else, or physically write a review of it. I find that writing the review out forces you to really consider the flavors and define them.

While I value the BJCP and I think it is a good tool and resource, it will not develop your palate. Only a lot of drinking and consideration of what you like and don't like and why will do that. You should be able to drink any style of beer and determine if it is a good beer or not regardless of whether you like it, even if you don't know all the guidelines.

Living in Milwaukee is a great resource because you have easy access to a massive amount of beer.
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Old 06-02-2010, 02:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by MilwaukeeBrewGuy View Post
great tip Revvy. Looking for classes now. I wonder how much they cost.
I paid $40 for the whole study group. It was just to cover the cost of beer. We tasted 8-10 beers ever session. (Not whole beers) They aren't really official classes per say. You don't look up a BJCP class and register for it. For example, when I was in Cleveland last year, about 20 people decided they wanted to take the exam. One of the judges in the club went through the steps to register a date for our exam and head up a study group. Anyone could come even if they didn't want to take the exam. I think we had ~30 people and met every week. I can never find it, but there is an outline on the BJCP site that suggests what a study course should cover every week. It includes a technical topic and a range of styles to taste.
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Old 06-02-2010, 02:42 PM   #8
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Actually, in Milwaukee you can look up a BJCP class and take it. Check out the Beer Barons, they'll have your hook up.
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Old 06-02-2010, 02:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Boerderij_Kabouter View Post
Actually, in Milwaukee you can look up a BJCP class and take it. Check out the Beer Barons, they'll have your hook up.
Just emailed them 5 minutes ago.

Every one of these tips are awesome. Thanks for helping a brother out. Until i get into a class, I think i will buy some High Life and doctor it up a little.
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Old 06-02-2010, 02:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Actually, in Milwaukee you can look up a BJCP class and take it. Check out the Beer Barons, they'll have your hook up.
hey, thats awesome! I just kind of assumed the classes weren't that readily available

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boerderij_Kabouter View Post

While I value the BJCP and I think it is a good tool and resource, it will not develop your palate.
So tasting 8-10 beers every week for 2 months straight and spending ~10 min discussing every part of the beer with an extremely experienced judge, and several professional brewers isn't good enough?

What I liked about the group I participated in is that I tasted a LOT of beer with minimal investment. We tasted ~2-4 oz samples and usually got a little more once everyone got a sample. I would have spent a whole lot more than $40 if I bought all those beers on my own, and I wouldn't have gained the knowledge I got from some very experienced people.


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