Need help identifying a flavour in my pale ales

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I want to identify a flavour I have had in a few of my pale ales (half

What I don't know:

My palate and my ability to describe flavours is poor in the extreme, so
I know I am not helping myself by not being able to compare it to something.

I can't really identify the flavour from the descriptions in various
books/ web sites (eg, although I'll admit I don't know
what horse sweat smells or tastes like.

What I do know:

I know from extensive research :-) in England and Scotland (and here in
New Zealand) that this isn't a flavour that is normally present in pale
ales.  However, I have found this flavour in many Belgian ales -
although from slightly less extensive research :-(

The flavour was not present when the beer was very young (only two weeks
after bottling), but has developed after the four - six weeks point.

Any help appreciated.


Re: Need help identifying a flavour in my pale ales

nz"> says...
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Ummmm... send a few bottles over this way.  I'll be glad to "taste it
out" for you.

Belgians?  Is it banana-like?  Best word for it I can think of.

enjoy and don't sweat it.


Re: Need help identifying a flavour in my pale ales

jrprice wrote:
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Love to get your opinion, but for the price of shipping a couple of
bottles of my poor attempts, you could get a couple of crates of decent
real ale in the UK :-)

Can't say it struck me as particularly "banana-like", but I'll crack
another one tonight and check it out.

I am enjoying the brews, but it isn't quite the taste I was after - more
experiments are called for.  If I can identify the taste and the cause,
I'll try a belgian-style ale soon, as winter is not too far away here.
Speaking of which, we are having a warm autumn here, and the temperature
in the basement where I store the bottles hasn't been below 18 deg C (65
deg F?) yet.

Would refrigerating the bottles to a lower temp make a difference to the
taste as they mature?


Re: Need help identifying a flavour in my pale ales

On Sat, 30 Apr 2005 12:11:00 +1200, Robert Fraser <"rf at paradise net
nz"> said in

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A lot of the taste is due to the hops - different varieties give
different tastes.

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Only if you haven't been refrigerating it before drinking it.  (And
beer *is* organic - it can spoil if left at that temperature for a few

Re: Need help identifying a flavour in my pale ales

"Robert Fraser" <"rf at paradise net nz"> wrote in message
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-- -- --
If you can taste it you can usually smell it. Half fill a glass with beer
and swill it around a bit. Get your nose well into the glass and take a good
long whiff. This will help concentrate the aroma and you may well identify
the taste easier. For some off-ish flavours produced from yeasty
by-products, which are quite often the cause of unusual flavours they are
(1) ketones - comes through as diacetyl and smells like butterscotch candy
(2) Esters - some strong smells here and easily identified such as amyl
acetate, producing smells and tastes resembling bubblegum, bananas,
pineapples etc. (3) phenolics which can come from hops and malt also,
producing a somewhat spicy overtone.
Hops can produce more than bitterness.Each hop variety has a unique flavour
profile. If boiled for 60mins., most flavours are lost leaving only the
bitterness though, even then there is harsh bitter, spicy bitter etc. Hops
added late is another story and if overdone can overide the other tastes in
the beer and completely dominate.
Maybe you could come back to this thread and explain further, the tastes
you've been experiencing.
Steve W.

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