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Blinded by Science: Sensorineural Analysis, Part Four

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June 18, 2015 by fhsteinbart


Here we see an assistant pouring up a batch of triangle test beers. Notice the labeling on the cups.

Here we see an assistant pouring up a batch of triangle test beers. Notice the labeling on the cups.

For the past several weeks I’ve been discussing off flavors, their causes, and amelioration. Today I’m going to show you how you can buy all the supplies you will need to make your own off flavor kit. You can buy almost all of the products listed below at your neighborhood grocery store, and in the past I found that you can put one of these kits together for between $50 and $75, depending on locale. Just a word of caution, some of these products are for aroma only, and should not be consumed, so read carefully what is on the label of all the listed products below.

Acetaldehyde (green apple, solvent, paint) – germinating barley or 
green apple flavor

Acetic (vinegar, sour) –  Heinz distilled white vinegar

Alcohol (fusel, solventy) – Brandy heads (distillation by-products; 
be careful) 8ml into 355ml

Astringent – 1% alum / water solution

Bitter – Sigma-Aldrich Caffeine (FCC) 1g/L or use hop isoalpha extract

Brown sugar – C&H brown sugar, 8g into 40ml light beer, mix

Chlorophenol (antiseptic) – Chloroseptic throat spray, non-flavored

Citrus – Lemon zest, Langers Ruby Red GF Juice, 0.25g and 6.5ml into 
12oz beer, respectively

Coffee/Roasted – Tully’s Roasted ground coffee, 1.3g into 50ml water, 
boil, filter, 7ml of filtrate into 12oz beer.

Diacetyl (butter) – McCormick’s Imitation Butter Flavor

DMS (corn, canned veggies) – canned creamed corn or black olives

Ethyl acetate (solvent) – Fingernail polish remover, on cotton ball 
in jar.  Do not add to beer (and/or drink)!

Floral/Geraniol – rose petals

Hoppy – hop tea

Isoamyl acetate (banana) – Durkee imitation banana flavor

Isovaleric (cheesy, sweatsock) – Aged hops in jar

Lemon – McCormick Pure Lemon Extract, lemon zest

Lightstruck/skunky – Bottled Corona, leave out in sun for awhile 
(or  not, there’s plenty already).

Lychee – Cho canned Lychee, 4ml syrup in 50ml beer

Malt character – Grapenuts, malt extract (liquid or dry)

Dark malt / burnt – burnt toast, chocolate malt (extract chocolate 
malt by steeping 100g in 150ml boiling water, filter)

Meaty/brothy – Marmite, Vegemite, Knorr’s Beef Bullion

Meaty/soy sauce – Kikkoman Soy Sauce

Molasses – Aunt Patty's Molasses or Muddy Pond Sorghum

Onion/garlic – McCormick’s Dehydrated Onion or Garlic Bits

Orange – Durkee Orange Extract

Oxidized/aged – Packaged beer, 3 days at 114F or 10 days at 100F 
(this will likely give papery flavors, especially if it is light beer;
 find older, colder beer for other oxidized flavors)

Papery – Wet cardboard

Eugenol (spicy) – Non-brand whole cloves
Stale fruit – dampened dried pineapple

Sulfury – burnt rubber band in jar, Ogilve Home Perm solution 
(might be hard to find, newer versions have modified aroma)

Sweet – Splenda, 1packet in 100ml H2O, then 2ml into 12oz beer.

Vanilla – Imitation vanilla flavor

Vinous/winy – Dry sherry, port

Vegetable, cooked – Cooked cabbage water

Vegetative – canned green beans and green olives, 10ml bean juice, 
5ml olive juice into 12oz beer

Yeasty – Red Star Active Dry Yeast, 1g  into 10ml H2O, set aside for 
10 minutes, 8g of mixture into 12oz beer (crown – will foam), mix well.
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