Do people taste differently?

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chato

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I'm wondering how different different peoples' ability to taste is. Here's where I'm coming from:

My neighbor and I both enjoy craft beer and we've started homebrewing. We often compare tasting notes on the beers we try. Recently there have been two times when I was able to discern a flavor that was detrimental to the beers, but in both cases my friend did not pick up those flavors and thought both beers were great.

The two examples are:

1. Stone Enjoy By 2/14/14 - I discerned distinct onion/garlic in the aroma and taste of this beer and rated it somewhat poorly in Beer Advocate. My buddy thought it was great and rated it highly.

2. We brewed an all-Citra Zombie Dust clone. In this one, the aroma is awesome at first - all tropical mango, pineapple, etc, but to me this aroma is replaced by a 'cat piss' aroma after about 5 minutes in the glass. It's not really detrimental but it's definitely there. My buddy does not pick this out at all.

Do we all have different capacity to pick out flavors? Am I a 'super taster'?
 

BargainFittings

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Most definitely there are different levels of sensitivity.
I've judged with guys in my club that can't detect Diacetyl unless the beer is a total butter bomb.

Not sure where you rate on the super scale but it does sound like you can pick up flavors your friend can't.
 

progmac

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i have detected a flavor in a number of IPAs that tastes like gasoline smells. it sort of hits me after the initial drink and hangs at the back of my palate. Maybe it is the same as what people describe as oniony/garlicy. Hopslam doesn't have it. Lagunitas beers do.
 

Scottie61

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In the field of wine tasting there are similar descriptions too, including cat piss aromas, and even in good/expensive wines, too.

Scott
 

Clonefan94

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It's kind of crazy what is appealing to some and hideous to others. I haven't really noticed much in the way of beer drinking and me being overly sensitive to anything in it. But on food, I have certain things I just can't have. Pickles on hamburgers, can't do it. If a pickle even touches the burger, all I taste is pickle. I actually like pickles, but the taste is so overwhelming to me on any sandwich, that I might as well just eat pickle sandwiches. The same goes for green pepper on pizza.
 

SavaShip

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I'm wondering how different different peoples' ability to taste is. Here's where I'm coming from:
...

Do we all have different capacity to pick out flavors? Am I a 'super taster'?
Absolutely! We just had an interesting discussion about this in another part of the forum. There are people who genetically are missing certain tastebuds, specifically the ones that detect PTC, a common attribute of something poisonous. PTC exists in hops, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli. People can react very poorly to this substance. There are test strips you can get to see if you can taste that kind of thing... I just tried some, and it tasted like someone skidded their car tires in my mouth, and I couldn't wipe it out! As a side-effect it is difficult for me to enjoy IPAs, or things over 34 IBU. Only 20-25% of society are insensitive to PTC.

Other factors like the ability to smell would greatly affect the way aromatics like garlic and onion taste. Does your friend have allergies? I can't smell either, so I would likely have a hard time detecting onion and garlic.
 
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chato

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Does your friend have allergies?
I believe he does have allergies. This is very interesting. I found it very strange that the onion/garlic and cat piss flavors could be so clear in my taste profile and that he can't pick them out at all. I feel at a disadvantage since it seems to be the detrimental flavors that I'm tasting. But without having a reference of what someone else is actually tasting, maybe its really a good thing...maybe he's only tasting 1/2 of the great flavors in beer while I'm tasting them all!
 

Kealia

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I would say you taste DIFFERENT things than he does, but not necessarily MORE than he does. I can pick up things my buddy can't, and he can do the same.

We're all sensitive to particular things but I'd be hard pressed to say one person's palette tastes MORE than another in most cases.
 

NickTheGreat

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What if what I taste chocolate as is what you taste garlic as. But you've only known it your way and I've only known it my way.

My dad is color-blind and tries this argument on us sometimes! :drunk:
 

Brewmenn

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Absolutely! We just had an interesting discussion about this in another part of the forum. There are people who genetically are missing certain tastebuds, specifically the ones that detect PTC, a common attribute of something poisonous. PTC exists in hops, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli. People can react very poorly to this substance. There are test strips you can get to see if you can taste that kind of thing... I just tried some, and it tasted like someone skidded their car tires in my mouth, and I couldn't wipe it out! As a side-effect it is difficult for me to enjoy IPAs, or things over 34 IBU. Only 20-25% of society are insensitive to PTC.

Other factors like the ability to smell would greatly affect the way aromatics like garlic and onion taste. Does your friend have allergies? I can't smell either, so I would likely have a hard time detecting onion and garlic.
It all makes sense now. I remember (barely) back in a high school science class the teacher had us taste little strips of paper and documented what we tasted. I tasted nothing while most of the class tasted bitter. That would explain why I like cabbage, broccoli, and IPA's.
 

Brewmenn

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I would say you taste DIFFERENT things than he does, but not necessarily MORE than he does. I can pick up things my buddy can't, and he can do the same.

We're all sensitive to particular things but I'd be hard pressed to say one person's palette tastes MORE than another in most cases.
I think it's both. In some cases it's that some of us can detects flavors that others can not. In other cases it seems that we detect the same thing, but due to things we probably don't fully understand one person may enjoy the flavor while another may think negatively about it.
 

zmanzorro

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This is the first thing that came to mind when I read the thread title ...

May be NSFW

[ame="www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kDUk_BLZzo"]www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kDUk_BLZzo[/ame]
 

Espresso

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Ya, you really want a nice grain fed person, I really don't like how they taste when on a steady junk food diet.
 

Sbarnard80

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It's like all things, some will be able to taste different things and to different degrees. Just like height, weight, hair color, etc. etc.
 

MarcusKillion

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absolutely different . Your taste is directly related to your sense of smell and some people do not have a good one of those . Taste buds are different also . You may have more sensitive ones than others or some people have burned theirs with very hot stuff damaging them . If you have no sense of smell you can not taste at all. Your taste changes every 7 years or so also . kids often find the taste of green veggies like spinach extremely bitter like quinine . this is a condition that i can not remember the name of I had it . It goes away as you get a little older.
I can not pick out the flavors in beer much at all .
 

khawk95

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I have a terrible palate. I can't taste much. However, this also allows me to love extremely strong flavors. Blue cheese, habaneros, IPAs, etc. I enjoy pushing the boundaries of what tastes good. My wife has an extremely good palate. If I'm going to share a beer, I always have her taste test. She will catch the off flavors I can't.


Roed Haus Brewery
 

OaklandHills

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I absolutely think that different people are endowed with different taste bud capabilities with respect to what they like in beer. In other words, they taste different. Me, my wife, and friends have different responses to different beers. One of my friends very consistently prefers less hoppy, less bitter beer. He also does not drink coffee, which I consider to be a bitter drink and prefers regular coca cola, which tastes syrupy sweet to me. Another friend loves anything hoppy, the more bitter the better. He also loves coffee. My wife likes mild pilsners and IPAs but can't tolerate anything dark (i.e., stouts, porters, etc.). So I think there is a consistency there that must come in part from the tasting equipment they have (# of taste buds sensitive to bitterness on their tongue) and partly from personal preference. One of the more interesting things about homebrewing is seeing how different people respond to different styles of beer.

Cheers!
 

BWE

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I think I am as far of a non taster as you can get. I love strong foods with onions, jalapenos, spicy mustard etc. I also love strong beers. It's virtually impossible to give me a beer that's too hoppy. The more the better. Matter of fact one of the first craft beers I tried was a Modus Hopperandi. I think that's how you spell it. Anyway, I loved it. Thought it was one of the best beers I've ever tried. That was years ago and I've branch way way out and now go for Belgians quit often. But to answer the question, YES, people can taste things way way differently.
 

MarcusKillion

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I think I am as far of a non taster as you can get. I love strong foods with onions, jalapenos, spicy mustard etc. I also love strong beers. It's virtually impossible to give me a beer that's too hoppy. The more the better. Matter of fact one of the first craft beers I tried was a Modus Hopperandi. I think that's how you spell it. Anyway, I loved it. Thought it was one of the best beers I've ever tried. That was years ago and I've branch way way out and now go for Belgians quit often. But to answer the question, YES, people can taste things way way differently.
ahhh modus hopperandi Onion peppers mustard salsa etc yum yum
 

jpsmithny

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I love onions,garlic, peppers of all kinds.

I love Mexican food also BUT I really can not stand the taste of cilantro.
 
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