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Dumb (?) questions about certain qualities of beer

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by FEUO, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. FEUO

    FEUO Initiate (0) Ontario (Canada) Jul 24, 2012

    As I learn more about what I really like I find myself wondering about what generates those certain qualities that I like.

    For example, I know what Brett is and what tastes and aromas generate from its use.

    But brews like Zombie Dust have an amazing bready quality complimenting the hops. What is it?
    Is is a certain malt? Yeast? Anyone know?

    Then there are the double IPAs that even while fresh are really sweet and syrupy. Hopslam uses honey, that I know. But what are other big IPAs (90min) using to compliment the bomb?
    johzac likes this.
  2. jklinck

    jklinck Savant (255) Washington Jul 23, 2007

    The syrupy aroma/flavor is crystal malt possibly coupled with a higher finishing gravity than most ipa's. The bready quality in ZD is probably coming from a malt like Marris Otter, Victory or Munich. I've never had ZD so I can't give a more specific malt answer. Different yeast strains can accentuate or diminish certain aromas/flavors so the yeast used ZD most likely is having some effect on the malt perception.
    Mothergoose03 and RyanLigeia like this.
  3. Nothing is dumb about asking questions, how else does one learn? If anything, it's very smart.
  4. FEUO

    FEUO Initiate (0) Ontario (Canada) Jul 24, 2012

    Thanks for a little confidence boost. BA can be an unruly place at times. :p
    Just assumed I'd be getting more smartass responses than helpful ones. I guess those folks haven't woken up yet. ;)
  5. Festigio

    Festigio Zealot (85) Illinois Jan 17, 2013

    In the case of 90 minute the way it's hopped in the brewing process helps cut down the "hop bomb" quality. As in they add the hops slowly throughout the entire process of the boil instead of in large lumps. That and the sugars/yeast strains they use tend tools their stronger beers really sweet
  6. Yeast will ferment out all of the simple sugars found in honey, so adding it to a beer will actually dry it out rather than making it sweeter. Not sure about the malt bill for Hopslam, but I'm guessing the sweetness comes from a combination of crystal/other specialty malts.

    Great idea for a useful and educational thread.
  7. 2beerdogs

    2beerdogs Champion (765) California Jan 31, 2005

    "BA can be an unruly place at times. :p
    Just assumed I'd be getting more smartass responses than helpful ones. I guess those folks haven't woken up yet. ;)"
    ^^^^
    Boy Howdy. However, I think you'll find even a few smartass responses will be outweighed by some really effectice responses from some knowledgable, well thought out BA's.
  8. drtth

    drtth Champion (860) Pennsylvania Nov 25, 2007

    It takes time to learn a lot of this. For example in Hopslam the sweetness does not come from the honey. The honey sugar ferments out and the sweetness you pick up comes from the sugars provided by the malt. The honey flavors are the residual non-fermentables that started out in the honey. But the beer actually has less sweetness in it than it would if malts were used to provide enough sugars to get the yeast to produce that 10% ABV. (As a general rule to beef up the ABV you need to beef up the sugars. Many DIPAs use more malt and then also more hops to get the flavor profile.)

    I'd suggest you go buy a copy of Randy Mosher's Tasting Beer and a copy of Garret Olivers's The Brewmaster's Table. Both great ways to learn about a whole bunch of beer related stuff.
    Mebuzzard, SatlyMalty and FEUO like this.
  9. Little piece of relevant information: milk stouts, or any "milk" beer for that matter, use lactose sugar to create a degree of sweetness in the finished beer. This sweet character remains because yeast can not digest lactose.
    Mebuzzard and FEUO like this.
  10. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Advocate (595) Colorado Jan 20, 2012

    Look into homebrewing. Even if you don't actuall brew yourself, a lot of answers, if not all, can be found in the ingredients used and the process itself. I know more about commercial beer and the qualities I like in those beers because of the time and effort I have put into trying to replecate those attributes in my own beers.
  11. mecummins

    mecummins Savant (425) Illinois Nov 16, 2012

    Completely agree. I'm pretty well versed in oenology, so I already know how to find certain flavors and profiles in what I drink. But by doing some home brewing I understand the beer process so much better. Try reading "How to Brew" to get started. I think there is still a free on-line edition that you can download (search in the homebrew forum and I'm sure that you'll find a link for it.)
  12. I think you will find the smart ass responses are new and far between here.
    Unless you ask really stupid question.
    (Your question wasn't stupid at all)
    Brunite and FEUO like this.
  13. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Advocate (595) Colorado Jan 20, 2012

    I started with charlie p's joy of homebrewing, moved to palmer's how to brew, and am now absorbing evvery bit of info I can. I'm only six batches in, but what I have learned already and am able to apply to my knowledge of tastes, smells, and textures of commercial examples is amazing. I still get blindsided though, just found out modus hoperandi is brewed with base pale, red wheat malt, and 120l crystal. I neverwould have guessed either. So much more to learn and experiment with.
  14. sukwonee

    sukwonee Advocate (540) Washington Dec 13, 2011

    Interesting. Learned something new today. Thanks!

    Do other types of stouts use lactose sugar too? I swear some stouts (like Bitches Brew) tastes like lactose sugar.
  15. FEUO

    FEUO Initiate (0) Ontario (Canada) Jul 24, 2012

    Smokey nose.
    How is this accomplished? Barrels?
    I was having a Topless Wytch yesterday and was wondering.
  16. Smokey nose - may be due to the usage of smoked malts in the mash.

    As others have said, look into homebrewing if you really want to know where the flavors in beer come from.
    In the mean time you can also stop into your local homebrewing shop and ask about ingrediants - they will probably let you smell and taste the grains which is a great start knowing the flavor differentce between a base barley malt like pilsner or maris otter and a wheat malt will give you a good start for that bready character. Then ask about hops and you should be able to smell a bunch of different varieties to get an idea of what they are and connect them to the beers that use them.
    Find a local homebrew club, they will pobably have somebody brewing every week and most homebrewers love to have people stop over during a brew and then you can really get a feel for the process and the ingrediants.
  17. Smoke generally comes from the type of malt used. Oftentimes a brewer will use malts that are smoked over different types of woods to give it that smoky flavor. You can also pick up smokiness from non-smoked malt, particularly with a bit of age on the beer. Another way you can pick up smoke is from certain types of spirit barrels, but this is not often the case.
  18. tectactoe

    tectactoe Champion (750) Michigan Mar 20, 2012

    At a local bottle shop by my house (which also sells homebrew stuff), the manager showed me a bin of their "smoked" malt and told me to take a few and taste. I crunched up some in my mouth and hot damn, they tasted like liquid smoke. Pretty interesting stuff. I just got into homebrewing myself, and even after one time, you start to see where some of the flavors come from.
  19. FEUO

    FEUO Initiate (0) Ontario (Canada) Jul 24, 2012

    Thanks for all the suggestions about homebrewing resources.
    Where I live there are no homebrew supply stores and I know no one who homebrews.

    I will pick up a book, but in the meantime I would still like to use the neverending resources available to me here at BA. :)
  20. Brunite

    Brunite Savant (420) Illinois Sep 21, 2009

    If you have not...check out the Homebrew section here. Here is a link to get started: http://beeradvocate.com/community/threads/im-looking-for-a-solid-homebrewing-book-or-two.63256/
    Charlie Papazian's book is considered to be the beginner's Bible to many. It is the place I started. Also...despite not having a shop in your area; there are many online place to buy supplies from that are very reasonable and have great resource info.

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