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Looking for a Hops Sampler

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rono73

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I'm still pretty new at this, so bear with me...

I'd really like to start creating my own recipes, but without having already brewed dozens of batches already, I'm not sure of the different flavorings given by different varieties of hops. I was wondering if anyone out there has seen anything that lets you brew and taste a small quantity of beer, so that you can experiment with different flavorings?

I guess what I'm looking for is a chemistry set for brewers. Reading the descirption of what a variety of hops is supposed to taste like isn't enough for me. Thanks.
 

Janx

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You know that reminds me of an idea I've had to make like hard candies that taste like different hops and beer qualities, like diacetyl so people could get a feel for them. It's probably really hard to do, but wouldn't it be cool to have like hop-flavored jelly bellies? In all different varieites. Maybe its just me.

You could also make scratch and sniff stickers with hop varieties, infections, etc.
 

Dude

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Man. Great ideas.
Sometimes I wish I had the money to create these little inventions.
I ran across a website or a book that had real-world descriptions of what off-tastes smelled and tasted like--I'll see if I can find that again.
 

Dude

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I found that resource I was talking about--where you can add certain things to beers to imitate off flavors. First off, the resource is "Radical Brewing" by Randy Mosher. GREAT BOOK.

He mentions 12 common off-flavors and aromas:
Acetaldehyde
Acetic
Cheesy
Chlorophenol
Diacetyl
Di-methyl Sulfide
Oxidization
Goaty/sweaty
Phenolic
Skunky
Solvent

He describes each one in detail, but in some cases he suggests a sample of a certain "ingredient" to add to replicate the aroma or off-flavor. I've included some common ones. These are not directly quoted, I've abridged them to save this post from being 347 pages long. :D

ALSO--he emphazizes the samples that are spiked should be sniffed only, NOT CONSUMED!

1. Acetaldehyde-Common chemical recognizant of green apples, sometimes indicating an infection. Smash a green apple jolly rancher candy and soak it in a little water overnight. Add to a sample beer.
2. Acetic- A vinegary aroma caused by infection--use a couple of teaspoons of distilled vinegar in a sample of beer.
3. Diacetyl- Produced by yeast if temp becomes too warm in fermentation. Some beers it can be desirable in low concentrations, but it is generally regarded as a defect if it sticks out too much. one to four drops (or 1/8 tsp.) of butter flavor extract (used for baking) to a sample beer.
4. Di-methyl sulfide- A vegetal aroma that results from a weak boil,or a slow yeast start. Add juice from canned corn to a sample of light beer.
5. Oxidized-A papery, wet cardboard aroma, the result of overaged beer, enhanced by overexposure to air during the brewing process. No recommendation on what to add to a sample of beer, other than finding the oldest dust covered beer you can find, and smelling it. I'm convinced this is what I had in my first Brown Ale batch. I think the wort got oxidized and it had that cardboard smell to it.
6. Phenolic-Indicator of wild yeast infection, and smells like an electrical fire. He suggests smelly a burned circuit board for an example. Don't dunk it in beer, just smell it!
7. Skunky- Result of light hitting dissolved hop compounds. He suggest setting a European beer in the sun for an hour, chill and serve. I say just buy a Corona.
8. Solvent- Esters produced by yeast at higher temps, which contribute floral or fruity notes to ales. Put a few drops of nail polish remover (non-perfumed kind) in a beer. Smell.

Anyway, I found these intersting, and it would be a cool experiment to do with your brewing buddies someday.
 
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Being new to the hobby (five batches of mini-mash experience) I really want to be able to identify (in order to correct) any off flavors in my brews.
The one quality of my beer that I would like to identify which has been noticable in the three of the five batches that I have consumed so far, is what I would describe as 'bitter'. Of course, I'm sure hops addition is the answer most will give (and very well may be the culprit) I haven't made any real bitter recipes. It's just a very slight aftertaste type bitter and I have much experimenting to do to figure all this out. I think my next batch, I will add my 'bittering' hops at 30 mins vice the whole 60 mins as most recipes call for. This sound o.k. to you 'old timers'? It may at least help me identify what in my process gives me this quality. Other things I was thinking... lower the fermentation temps below the typical 68-70 I get in my house, longer bottle conditioning or maybe I'm getting hot side aeration from my 'rolling boil'. Chime in if you have anyting to offer (and not quite on the topic of the thread, but these threads do tend to mutate).

Thanks all....
 
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