The other day I was talking with a homebrewing pal about a beer that another homebrewer made. This beer had some serious cigar texture and flavors, a little tobacco-y and also I could taste some graininess. When I say graininess I mean a grainy texture, a little chalky I suppose, as if the grain was floating around in the beer. My pal suggested that the graininess is a type of off-flavor and the cigar texture could be as well. I said, “But I really don’t mind tasting the graininess in this beer.” It seemed to compliment the other qualities in the beer, plus I can remember tasting a few commercial beers quite recently where I could taste some graininess. In one of my beer books, graininess is an off-flavor caused by poor grain crushing, over-sparging, or even too high of a pH in the mash. This got us to talking briefly about what exactly is an off-flavor and when they are appropriate?
Now, I’d be curious to know what you all think? Ever had a beer that has off-flavors that you didn’t mind? Obviously sourness and vegetable off-flavors can come in handy at times, but what about some of the others? What do you think?
I’ll end this post with one more story. For some reason I’ve been blessed with the ability to detect diacetyl at very low levels. At times my friends have a hard time picking out the popcorn butter flavor, but it stands out to me like a sore thumb. A few months ago I was drinking a red ale from Twisted Pine and that thing tasted like a buttery mess to me, beyond normal, but my friends still couldn’t pick it out. I emailed Twisted Pine and they said they allow a certain small level of diacetyl into that particular beer. That’s very intriguing to me that a brewery allows for it, almost as if it is supposed to contribute to the flavor or something. Hopefully it’s not due to laziness, I doubt that’s the case with Twisted Pine.
Anyway, please share with me, some of your examples of off-flavors gone right…I’m curious to know…