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Pouring an IPA Effects Hop Flavor/Aroma?

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dantheman13

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I'm just going to though this out there. There is no science or side by side experimentation here, this is just an observation. Does the method of which you pour an IPA effect the way the hop profile tastes and smells? In particular if an IPA is poured vigorously versus gently, will it effect the flavor of the IPA?

I've been drinking craft beer for a a few years now, and if I was pinned down I might say that IPA's are my favorite style of beer. I've always noticed that the same craft IPA might be better one day than it is the next. Of course, this is probably always accounted for due to age. However, I swear that I have had a great IPA one day and really enjoyed the hop flavor and aroma, and less than a week later the beer doesn't do it for me as much. I've always put this to my mood or the fluctuating state of my pallet.

Tonight I am drinking my own Simcoe IPA. I poured the first half of my 22oz into my tulip. I have to be very gentle with pouring my homebrews because I bottle ferment. Still, I had a nice 1.5 finger head on this first pour. Eventually, as usual, the hop aroma and flavor dissipates as I sipped this first pour over a good hour or so. On the second pour, I poured it even more gentle to where there was no head on it at all. When I do this, it seems to be a slightly different beer. The hop aroma and flavor seem more smooth and pronounced. I can't smell the breadiness of the malt as much, but the beer smells so fresh (presumably from the hop aroma).

So, my thought it... and again, this is probably wrong but I am throwing it out there anyway... does good head formation from a moderate pour release the volatile compounds of hops to such an extent that the human pallet can detect it? If so, then if the IPA is poured more gently, do those compounds more readily remain in the beer as it is consumed?

Anyone else experienced this, or have information on it elsewhere? I could be totally off base, and there are probably other reasons why I am making these observations (psychological, pallet mood, etc).
 

FromZwolle

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my first thought is thus: the pour affects carbonation and most of the delicate aroma is brought out by the release of co2. so, a more gentle pour means more co2 is able to carry out the lovely hop aromas longer than if it were a vigorous pour. since smell is a sense that is tangled up with taste, i imagine that this would affect your overall perception of flavor as well.

i could be wrong, but i see this as one of the main factors in the change/discrepancies between two of the same beers.
 

Pommy

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The pour definately makes a difference. I had an English bitter which would taste completely different when poured quickly to a slow pour. I dont know the science but there is a clear difference.
 

dnslater

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Another thought, beer/wine, etc..... can taste very different based on what you ate or drank previously. The same beer can taste different if you eat different things prior to drinking.
 

IffyG

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I poured the first half of my 22oz into my tulip. I have to be very gentle with pouring my homebrews because I bottle ferment. Still, I had a nice 1.5 finger head on this first pour. Eventually, as usual, the hop aroma and flavor dissipates as I sipped this first pour over a good hour or so. On the second pour, I poured it even more gentle to where there was no head on it at all. When I do this, it seems to be a slightly different beer. The hop aroma and flavor seem more smooth and pronounced. I can't smell the breadiness of the malt as much, but the beer smells so fresh (presumably from the hop aroma).
I'm guessing the pour itself had less of an effect than letting it sit unopened (and losing CO2) between the pours did.
 

unionrdr

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I've noticed no appreciable difference with my English bitter due to slow or aggressive pour. English bitters are traditionally low carbonation to start with. Almost perceived as flat. So it doesn't alter perception at only 1.3 volumes,the maximum carbonation for an ordinary bitter according to BJCP guidelines.
But my IPA had the upside down snow storm with a full rich head,even when poured a bit more slowly. Even with 2 weeks in the fridge,carbonated to pale ale levels. The thick head brought out nice aromas,& provided a bit of creaminess to the swallow when some foam was drank with the ale itself. The flavor was virtually the same,just less aroma with it when the head went down to 1/8-1/4" or so.
 
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dantheman13

dantheman13

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I'm guessing the pour itself had less of an effect than letting it sit unopened (and losing CO2) between the pours did.
I never thought of that. Good point. Perhaps the slow removal of the CO2 in the 22oz bottle allowed more of the hop aroma/flavor to remain in the beer.
 
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