Back in mid-March, Matt and I took the Cicerone Off-Flavor course at their Chicago-based Certification Program offices. I’d previously only read about the six off-flavors we studied that day (there are more than six–it was a brief course), and I will say that you truly can’t know what they taste like…well…until you taste them!
I took the class to further my skills in off-flavor identification as a home brewer and general enjoyer of beer. In my opinion the class was well worth taking, whether you plan on seeking Cicerone certification at any level or not. Since taking it, I’ve been able to identify two of the six flavors in the wild: 1) a skunky (lightstruck) red ale served to my hubs at an unnamed airport, and 2) a butterscotch-y (Diacetyl) bottle of home brew that was shared with me. Yeesh.
Anywhoozles, in an attempt to engrain what I learned into my memory (or at least have a visual reminder) I created the following illustration of the six off flavors, as I experienced them. In the drawing, I’ve called them by their official, “science-y” name, but followed that up with common terms that describe how each flavor might taste/smell. Each flavor can manifest differently based on the taster and the nature of the contamination, so these drawings only reflect my personal experience of the flavors we studied.
Cheers, and enjoy!
p.s. WHO ELSE has two thumbs and is super excited for the Oak Park Microbrew Review this weekend!? (THIS GAL!)