Bitterness perception at cold temperatures - Home Brew Forums
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:45 PM   #1
silvery37
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I keep my kegged homebrew around 38 degrees. If it is something that is supposed to be served warmer I just let it warm up in the glass. I have noticed that at cold temperatures the only taste that really comes through is the hop bitterness. As a brew warms this bitterness really fades and the other flavors start to come out.

Is this something that was common knowledge to everyone else and I just learned it?

 
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:39 PM   #2
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Unfortunately it's not common knowledge enough. Which is why people still insist on freezing mugs, or serving glasses as cold as possible. The cold beer definately has a more surpressed flavor at colder temperatures than warmer ones.
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:57 PM   #3
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The aroma and flavor oils don't have much of a chance to come out of the beer if it is too cold. I run my kegger 50-55F.
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Old 09-08-2012, 12:56 AM   #4
silvery37
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I thought I was making bad beer for a while because they all just tasted bitter. What is interesting is that the bitterness seems to fade as the beer warms. I guess its the other flavors becoming apparent and balancing

 
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Old 09-08-2012, 02:21 AM   #5
Jakeintoledo
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I find this to be the case, for sure. all of the beers i brewed taste better at 50 degrees. otherwise it's bitter foamy fizzy garbage.

I'm working on a lager (Oktoberfest) that seems to taste GREAT at lower temps, unlike all my ales. I wonder if this is an ale/lager thing?
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Old 09-08-2012, 02:34 AM   #6
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I love my Pale ales and saisons when they are nice and cold right out of the fridge, but I prefer anything with malt backbone (like ambers, browns, stouts, and quite a few other styles as well) to be in the low 50's. Nothing better than an ice cold saison when you come in from mowing the lawn in 100 degree weather! For me, sometimes it's about refreshment, and not about discerning every little flavor neuonce associated with the individual ingredients. And then again, sometimes it's the opposite. Just depends on the moment, mood, and beer style!
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Old 09-08-2012, 02:34 AM   #7
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Actually, I just tried my Oktoberfest that was lagered for over 12 weeks. Straight out of the fridge, most of the flavor was dominated by hop bitterness and little else. I was a tad disappointed considering that my anticipation of this moment had been building for several months. However, as the beer warmed, the malty sweetness really started to shine and I realized that I had a pretty damn good beer. It just needed to get to the right temperature for the complexity to come through. I'm starting to think that the only beers that should be served as cold as the Rockies are those in which you would prefer to have the flavor masked so they go down like yellow ice water.

 
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