Tasting Beers, side by side

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Megary, Feb 15, 2020 at 1:25 AM.

  1. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2019
    Messages:
    177
    Likes Received:
    446
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Just thought I'd share a weird experience (for me anyway).

    I just tapped a Brown Ale I made with a little cherry wood smoked malt. The beer came out very good, even if the smokiness wasn't as forward as I was hoping. Still, a nice beer. Next time I'll just up the smoked malt.

    But....the strange thing is that after I had a glass of mine I decided to pop open one of my favorites, a Sam Smith's Nut Brown Ale...just to compare. I wasn't trying to see which I liked better (please, I love SSNBA!) but I was curious if I could pick out any subtle flavors that a Classic of the style had that mine didn't. Maybe a certain flavor might show up in the SS that I could use going forward. And boy howdy!! Did I ever get a licorice taste from SS!! It was a taste that I don't ever remember being so pronounced. Yes, there was that great nutty flavor, but I was surprised by how much the licorice dominated.

    Now to be fair, a smoked brown ale and a nut brown ale may only be second cousins, but I'm convinced that if I hadn't first tried mine (which was more toffee/malty) and just had the Sam Smiths, that licorice taste would not have stood out as much to me. Where does that licorice come from anyway???

    I've got an Irish Stout in the fermenter. I can't wait to do a side-by-side with Guinness or Murphy's.
     
    Ward Chillington likes this.
  2. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Messages:
    3,073
    Likes Received:
    2,080
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    It's likely that they use a version of Porternine to achieve some of the color. That's basically black-cooked syrup that can give an impression of licorice. They may actually include a little licorice in the recipe. Very likely it's just a taste-bud thing whereby you've created a contrast by having the other beer first. Like when you taste a lemon and then something that's not necessarily very sweet but it tastes more sweet than it otherwise would. Some combination of the smoke and malt may have set up a contrast that made you taste more licorice than is there (if any actually is).
    Try the Sam Smith again after something like a plain lager and see if your impression is different.
    Very interesting stuff.
     
  3. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2019
    Messages:
    177
    Likes Received:
    446
    Trophy Points:
    63
    I agree with this. I doubt they use licorice, but I was just surprised that licorice was without question the very first thing I noticed when I tried the SS.

    A fun exercise.
     
  4. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Messages:
    3,073
    Likes Received:
    2,080
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    It's not unheard of that licorice would be an actual ingredient, but it can come from a lot of the dark crystal malts along with the dark fruit - raisin, plum, prune - flavors. Licorice as a flavor note is mentioned in many descriptions of the Samuel Smith and is mentioned in the BJCP style guidelines.
     
  5. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2018
    Messages:
    585
    Likes Received:
    725
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    South Central Pennsylvania
    Dig me the side by sides! I used to love the taste of Yuengling's Porter.....now, it's meh! I think a lot of this has to do with freshness of our own stuff.
     
    Megary likes this.
  6. Hopfunk

    Hopfunk New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2019
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Orcutt, California
    Not sure where you live, but if you ever make it to San Diego, CA I’d recommend a trip to white labs. They do side by side comparisons with their yeast. They brew a wort for specific style, then split the batch so you can see and taste the differences. Coolest experience with beer that I’ve had recently. The pale ales and IPAs were so different.
     
    thunderwagn, Trialben and Megary like this.
  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    7,928
    Likes Received:
    4,744
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    White Labs has a taproom in Boulder, Colorado as well, if you make it here.
     

Share This Page

arrow_white