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"Our abilities are not as good as we think"

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Not me i am hopeless ... I know good from bad ... or what i like from don't like ... since I have started temp control I can tell a clean taste profile from a funky (for want of a better expression)  tasting one ... and now that I use hops I can taste the hops ... but I have no idea why the funky taste funky ... I guess it is Phenol, Esters, Diacetyl,  acetaldehyde etc etc etc but what they taste like individually  I have no idea ... 

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I'm certainly no expert though there are however some off-flavours that I seem to be every sensitive to though e.g. 'bandaid'-like phenols!  🤮    I've also experienced the presence of diacetyl and acetaldehyde in beers post-fermentation.   

As for desired flavours in beer I think it would only be under close A/B scrutiny that I would be able to identify certain ones with certainty.   E.g. the differences between various ale yeast strains - I'm not overly aware of any obvious difference to be honest, though I suspect I could probably pick it with a side-by side comparison.  Same with like malts and hops. 

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If you are interested in developing your knowledge and fine-tuning your palate, the BJCP course could be of interest.  I am likely to sign up to one in 2020 as my local club will be offering spots.  I need to apply though, and these spots are sought-after and fill up.  So will do some stewarding at this year's NSW and possibly national HB comp to get some experience and credentials.

 

not for everyone, but certainly it interests me

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Stewarding at a comp is worth it whether you intend to train up as a judge or not. 

Many judges will happily suggest stewards sample an outstanding beer or a flawed example to show clearly what off flavours taste / feel / smell like. 

One definite upside to BJCP training is a better and broader understanding of beer styles and a vocabulary to express why it's a good,  great or poor example of the style. 

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I was hoping to steward at the recent awards here but couldn’t get the time off😞

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1 hour ago, joolbag said:

If you are interested in developing your knowledge and fine-tuning your palate, the BJCP course could be of interest. 

You perhaps missed one of the key points  - they found their BJCP judges performed no better in blind tests to anybody else when it came to correctly identifying various flavours.    😎 

54 minutes ago, Mark D Pirate said:

One definite upside to BJCP training is a better and broader understanding of beer styles and a vocabulary to express why it's a good,  great or poor example of the style. 

That did seem to be the conclusion drawn in a previous related article:

"While it might be easy to assume a person who has invested the time and energy to become a BJCP judge has an extraordinary palate, these results appear to suggest they possess tasting abilities similar to, well… everybody else. Rather, what seems more plausible is BJCP judges are perhaps better at describing what they’re experiencing than others..."

INVESTIGATING THE BAD PALATES ARGUMENT | A GRAPHICAL LOOK AT XBMT PERFORMANCE BASED ON EXPERIENCE LEVEL

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Judges are just people too , any assertion that the course/exam will improve your palate are false. 

It will however help you learn how to pick through the layers and describe flavours,  flaws and grade it accordingly to a standardised guideline .

In most comps there's a maximum 7 points difference between all judges on a table ( usually 2-3 naturally ) the conversation afterwards can get quite animated .

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I just had my DNA tested through 23andMe. For extra $$ you can get a health report as well, which I opted for. There are several gene variations involved in tasting: ability to detect bitterness, the smell of asparagus pee, soapy notes in cilantro, or a preference for salty vs sweet. I found it quite interesting.

Only 56% of the population can taste bitterness from organosulfur thioureas. The report mentioned the bitterness of cruciferous vegetables as an example, but I wonder how it relates to the bitterness of hops? Anyone know if the 4MMP molecule in some hops (Simcoe, Summit, Apollo, Topaz, Mosaic, Cascades) is an organosulfur thiourea? I think it might be....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenylthiocarbamide

Apparently you need at least one functioning copy of the allele that codes for bitter in the TAS2R38 gene in order to detect bitter. I have two copies. I wonder if this gene explains why I prefer APAs to XXIPAs? I bet those dudes at BrewDog don't have any! 😆

Would be interesting to poll BCJP judges on whether they smoke, and how much coffee or tea they drink, all of which can affect your threshold for detecting PTC, even if you have the alleles. I would hazard to guess that most American BCJP judges are heavy coffee drinkers.....Another tidbit from my 23andMe result is that I am a fast metabolizer of caffeine. Fast metabolizers tend to be heavy coffee drinkers, which I am. LOL!

Another interesting thing is that super tasters, who have 2X as many tastebuds as other people, and compromise about 25% of the population, generally dislike alcohol, because it tastes bitter to them. So the most sensitive tasters are unlikely to be beer drinkers! Apparently you can check the number of your taste buds by painting your tongue with blue food colouring and getting a buddy to count the number tastebuds in a small area: https://io9.gizmodo.com/25-of-the-population-are-supertasters-are-you-one-of-5671331

Cheers,

Christina.

Edited by ChristinaS1
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