Off flavors??

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jonbomb

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I have been on this site for about a month or so now. I have noticed every day I do see alot of the same posts. This does not bother me. There is something I have noticed that does sorta bother me not in an angry way but a non understanding.

Every day I see a new thread about off flavor. Bandaid, sour, undescribable bitter, I have seen smokey flavors all kinds of stuff. I am just curious I have brewed a bunch of extract brews and I have never tasted any of these. Is it because maybe my pallete isn't noticing them or maybe these flavors are all just people "wanting" there to be something wrong with there beer.

I also understand the flavors like rubber and bandaid are very distinct and thats very understandable due to infections. But some of these off flavors I am reading just don't seem like they are that easily to catch in your beer. Maybe it's me being a retarted but if I have never noticed any of these yet and I am around 10 batches in and I do extract and I don't do full boild how is it that I do not taste the off so called "twangy or tangy" flavor a lot of people say they taste when doing partial boils.

I really hope this doesn't jinx me and my new heffe doesn't turn out tasting like "bleach" :drunk:
 

JJL

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Don't feel like you are alone. The only "off flavor" I've experienced is diacetyl when I was doing a lager. And that was after primary fermentation and before lagering. So, it was kind of expected. I just did a D-rest before lagering to clean it up.

Personally, I think it has a lot to do with new brewer nerves. I don't think that it is your palate. I think it is more the new brewer palate that is hyper-sensitive to every little thing. I'll admit, I was the same way for my first few batches.

I look at it this way, if you are paying attention to proper sanitation, proper fermentation temps, and proper storage conditions, you should be able to avoid most off flavor issues.

Just my opinion.
 

JefeTheVol

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Also, most people dont need help with off flavors, only the select few who get them post looking for advice. Because most brewers dont report every brew that goes just fine, only the the brews with off flavors get reported on the board. I would say that most of the beer that gets brewed works out ok for the brewer and the brewer doesnt need advice from the board. Sort of a statistical anomaly of sorts.
-Jefe-
 

Yooper

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I think alot of us brewers have "ugly baby syndrome". You know, the people who think that their baby is the most beautiful baby in the world, and don't see how unattractive that kid really is.

Same with some brewers. The beer DOES have off-flavors, but since it's their baby, they don't taste it and love it and think it's a great beer. They think it's great, and that's the wonderful thing about brewing.

But I've tasted some of these "ugly baby" beers. I've had some bad homebrew that the brewer thinks is fantastic. One guy asked me what I thought, "honestly". Well, it was awful. I didn't want to slam it, so I tried to be diplomatic and not say much that was negative. But I mentioned just a slight phenolic taste. He replied, "Oh, yeah, that. I noticed it too, a bit". But it certainly didn't bother him a bit, and since he loved the beer, that was the important thing.

If you want to know honestly how your beer stacks up, enter a sanctioned BJCP competition. They are listed on the BJCP website, and you'll get back honest scoresheets and feedback. You have to have thick skin, or to really want to know how to improve your beer, to do it. But it's the best way to see if anything is "off" and you've simply not tasted it.
 

TotemWolf

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If I did my math right this weekend will be batch 125 for me. I have yet to get 'off flavors,' and only 2 batches ever had a problem with any kind of infection. Those two were fermented on the same batch of yeast and the were just really extra foamy, but not gushers. Oh yeah, I did have one bottle that was a gusher. I'd say that's pretty good odds against. And I'm not saying a extra good. In fact my results are probably the norm.

If you sanitize right, it's nothing to worry about.
 

TotemWolf

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+1 on entering a contest. Dial in a recipe and try it. You learn a lot.

As for tasting off flavors, I had a friend that brew just to make beer. All his beers had a twang. Some were oxidized and other astringent. Nothing that would make spit it out in front of him, but the good either. But then he was just after the beer/alcohol.
 

Homercidal

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I had thought for a little while that my beers were "ok", but I could never pinpoint the exact reason why it tasted different. Brewing different beers each time did not help.

Anyway, I decided to start entering competitions, because I wanted some feedback to help me figure out these flavors. I did pretty good in the comps and it's helped to some degree, although I still could not pinpoint exact flavor problems.

This past month I attended a sensory evaluation seminar in Grand Rapids and got to sample some spiked beers. I got the first one right - Acetaldehyde. After that, I really had a hard time nailing down those off flavors. I couldn't even guess Diacetyl! And most others said it was pretty strong.

I think that some people are better, or more sensitive tasters, and they will notice the off flavors more than the average. Others are less sensitive and may need to be trained carefully in order to pick out some of the flaws.

Also remember that generally these off flavors are very mild and in competitions will often be noted even if barely detectable by the judges. But also remember that judges are human and may be great tasters, or not. In the latter case, they may only be "imagining" certain off flavors, or are mistaking interference from outside contributors, rather than from the beer itself.

Bottom line is that if you like your beer, RDWHAHB! But if you are concerned about possible off flavors, or just want some honest feedback about your beer, then get thee to a competition!

Chances are you are just fine, but you may get some information that could help you tweak a pretty good beer into "WOW" category.
 

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