Our Off Flavor Tasting Course

We held our first Off Flavor Tasting Course in the Cellar’s cellar on Wednesday evening. We thought you might want to see what it was all about. If you missed it, not to worry: we’ll be holding another session on May 1 (which is almost sold out!), as well as a couple of dates TBD in June and September.

The class was 90 minutes, during which we taste tested six different off flavors added to the same beer, a standard light lager that we sell in-store.

We started with six jugs of spiked beer…


Study materials are important, so we provided some packets of information that allowed students to match perceived aromas with potential off flavors. Attendees ranged from industry folks working at breweries and distributors to those just looking to learn more about beer.


Then we set to smelling and tasting each of the six separate samples. Science is fun, yo!


Next, we took some time to think about what aromas and flavors we were picking up before going over each one as a group.


We tested the following off flavors: Acetaldehyde, Isoamyl acetate, Diacetyl, DMS, Trans-2nonenal, and Infected. And we won’t kid you: it’s difficult! Everyone in the room had to sniff repeatedly and compare notes, and even our resident Beer Geeks were challenged.

No doubt you’ve had a beer at some point that had one of these characteristics, which can come from improper storage, dirty draft lines, and more, but if you weren’t aware of it at the time you probably had no idea there was something wrong with it. Overall, though, this class a great way to familiarize yourself with the attributes of a potentially off-tasting beer, whether you’re studying for the Cicerone exam or just looking to be a better-educated beer drinker. Consider joining us for the next one!


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