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Thanks,The Beer Hawk Team.
While some so-called off-flavours can be appropriate in certain styles others are not and may kill a little bit of your soul. Here's a quick guide to the most common off-flavours.
Off flavours in beer are, for the most part, self-explanatory...they are flavours in your beer that just taste a little off. These unpleasant tastes or smells in flawed beer typically comes from a mistake in the brewing, bottling/canning, storing or even serving processes. It's also important to know that some flavours that may seem off or unpleasant actually do serve a purpose in certain beer styles, and just because you might not enjoy particular flavours (such as bitterness, chocolate, or pine), doesn't mean that the flavours are "off." While brewers try their best to brew a perfect batch every time, sometimes mistakes happen along the way. Below is a list of some common off-flavours and what they taste like:
Appropriate in small amounts in pale ales and stouts, it tastes like butter, butterscotch, or buttered popcorn. This flavour is welcomed in some wine styles, but should rarely be present in beer. It's never any good in most lagers and would be a sign of improper brewing techniques. Reasons for this off flavour:
Expected in some pale lagers like American lights, Dimethyl Sulphide tastes like cooked corn or tomato sauce, oysters, or cabbage. Proper brewing will make sure this compound evaporates out of your beer. Reasons for this off flavour:
Low amounts of this compound are ok in beers like a Biere de Garde but if anything else tastes like green apples or paint then acetaldehyde is present. Reasons for this off-flavour in beer:
Very bitter IPAs can have a hint of cheese but beers that taste like stale cheese or sweaty socks have high levels of isovaleric acid. With time, this off flavour could mellow out but might not completely disappear. Reasons for this off flavour:
No beers should ever taste like mouthwash, antiseptic or plasters. Reasons for this off flavour:
If your beer tastes like baby puke then it contains butyric acid, an off flavour that is never appropriate. Kettle sours are commonly prone to this nasty flavour because sour mashing is an ideal environment for this infection to grow. Reasons for this off flavour:
Oxidation presents itself as tasting like wet cardboard or paper, or tastes and smells stale or like an old book. Otherwise, this flavour should not be present. If your English Old Ale has a hint of sherry-like oxidation, that's acceptable. Reasons for this off flavour:
Classic ales from Burton-on-Trent can have a sulfur-like character from hydrogen sulfide that is known as Burton Snatch. Smells of rotten eggs or sewage are unappealing but go away quickly after serving.Reasons for this off flavour:
When beers in green or clear bottles are put in contact with sun or fluorescent light, a photochemical reaction with the hops takes place and it tastes like burned rubber or skunk. To avoid this off-flavour, be sure to store green or clear bottles in a cool place. When you're drinking beer from a glass, keep it out of direct sunlight whenever possible, especially if it's a heavily hopped beer such as an IPA. Avoiding this off flavour is one of the many benefits of canned beer.
If you're not drinking a lambic, gueuze or other purposely-sour beers with wild yeast strains then you shouldn't taste vinegar in high concentrations, which would be indicative of an acetobacter infection.Reasons for this off flavour:
This isn't a list of all possible off flavours in beer, but it's certainly some of the most common flavours you might encounter on your beer journey. Luckily, most commercial beers and craft beers brewed in large batches are void of these flavours. You're more likely to come across some of these off flavours when sampling your mate's first batch of homebrew or an experimental brew gone wrong. On the plus side, being able to detect some of these flavours is one of the first steps to becoming a bonafide beer snob! Cheers!
Every year, Beer Hawk releases a lineup of limited edition craft beer mixed cases for the holiday season. This year's lineup of festive Christmas beer gifts is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face.
Remember the childhood excitement of opening a new door on your advent calendar every day in the run up to Christmas? It gave each day a little sparkle of festive magic, even though those tiny chocolates behind the doors were always a bit rubbish. How would you like to recapture that childhood magic, but with bottles of delicious beer instead of powdery chocolate? Sounds amazing, right? In that case, you need to get your hands on our Craft Beer Advent Calendar.
Pairing beer and food together isn’t all rules and science. That would make for a terribly boring dinner party! Instead, it’s the art of taking a good beer, some good food and partnering them together to make something even better. It’s the adventure of discovering what works, what doesn’t and what you like. It’s you taking a bite, taking a sip and then declaring your undying love for that imperial stout and chocolate cake.
Barrel-ageing beers is not a new thing, but it is getting more and more popular, and has probably never been as inventive. Adrian Tierney-Jones explores the new wave of ageing beer in wood
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