Have big beers wrecked your palate?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by ColinStClaire, Jan 6, 2013.

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  1. ColinStClaire

    ColinStClaire Initiate (0) Jul 31, 2012 Washington

    I've found that with my increased desire for big, robust beers, lighter beers (ambers, browns, etc.) aren't as enjoyable as they once were, which is kind of a bummer when you're at a party or a restaurant and they don't have anything flavorful enough. Anyone else experience this?
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  2. JamesMN

    JamesMN Initiate (0) Jul 12, 2012 Minnesota

    Yes. After getting into double IPAs and barleywines everything else tastes a little watery. I try to have realistic expectations now when trying something less than about 7%.
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  3. JamesMN

    JamesMN Initiate (0) Jul 12, 2012 Minnesota

    Although I wouldn't say my palate has been "wrecked". More like it is even more developed.
  4. acevenom

    acevenom Initiate (0) Oct 7, 2011 Louisiana

    I can honestly say it does not. Big beers are nice, but so are milder styles. They're all good to me, so it's just a matter of appreciating what is there and what the beer is doing well rather than faulting it for not being something else completely.
  5. mikeburd1128

    mikeburd1128 Zealot (514) Oct 28, 2011 New Jersey

    Sounds to me like you just prefer bigger beers. No big deal.
  6. BrewStew58

    BrewStew58 Initiate (0) Mar 29, 2011 New York

    Yea, I can't drink anything under 7.5 lol
    OneBeertoRTA likes this.
  7. Ataraxia

    Ataraxia Initiate (106) Sep 20, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    In complete agreement; I also don't have any regrets. Imperial stouts/porters, along with barleywines and quads are pretty much my main focus.

    This was a key part of my opinion in that thread discussing whether "lighter/lower abv beers will be the next big thing", where I expressed a bit of disdain for <5% beers and some people jumped me for it. (To be fair, I should have been a little more clear on the fact that I don't completely ignore those beers, I see abv as another trait for consideration before buying)
    RyanLigeia likes this.
  8. pjs234

    pjs234 Zealot (544) Jun 29, 2008 Connecticut

    The only noticeable pallet wrecking that I have received was from Heady Topper. After having a lot of heady, I found other hoppy ipa's (and 2xIPA) to be very tame. The best example where I noticed it was when I had a fresh Smuttynose Big A IPA and I thought something was wrong with it due to its lack of hoppiness. I am hoping that once i clear out my remaining supply of headys, that my pallet will regain its hop sensitivity.

    I have not noticed it impacting my enjoyment of other styles though...
  9. BeastLU

    BeastLU Disciple (326) Dec 20, 2012 Virginia

    I'm a lover of huge beers, but I don't want to get to the point where I have to go to a specifically craft bar with 80 taps to be able to enjoy myself. Love Sundays at bars to much to not be able to enjoy a simple IPA. They usually have DF 60 and Clipper City Loose Cannon at my local sports bar. Unfortunately by great craft beer bar is to pretentious to has TVs.
  10. Tomhet

    Tomhet Initiate (0) Dec 20, 2010 Illinois

    I honestly think it varies from beer to beer, but approaching a given style with a particular mindset is of the utmost importance. For instance, when I'm drinking a RIS or Imperial IPA, I'm mentally preparing my palate in a totally different manner than if I'm approaching an APA, pilsener, or the like.
    JxExM likes this.
  11. mixed_master7

    mixed_master7 Initiate (0) May 16, 2012 Florida

    Usually dont drink stouts or porters unless they are "imperial", as they taste alot more watered down after drinking so many big beers as of late. Obviously don't drink an IPA after a higher IBU DIPA, as that tends to be the case as well.
  12. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (5,761) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Wrecked palate? Nothing a a glass or 2 of water can't fix.
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  13. gshak

    gshak Zealot (527) Feb 20, 2011 Texas

    After several hundred imperial stouts, double ipas, barleywines and stuff...i've now gone back to the style that started it all - pale ales. Once my current stash of 140+ imperials are through, I doubt seeking out imperial anything...except for the odd occasion. These are just too many calories and alcohol for me....
    t8000shx likes this.
  14. BradtheGreat7

    BradtheGreat7 Defender (621) Jul 22, 2011 Ohio

    Hmm I can't say I don't enjoy beers under 7.0%. I don't think I could go without an Edmund Fitzgerald or founders porter or even a good German craft Hefeweissbier. Like a g.schneider & sohn or a weihenstephan. But I can say after becoming accustomed to Dreadnaught as my go to brew some breweries smaller beers do seem less flavorful. This isn't the case with all brewers in my eyes though. Like I said the fitzgerald and founders porter still deliver big robust porter flavor as well as many other brewers' smaller offerings. I think this is the reason why brews like Zombie Dust are so desired. Zombie dust is classified as an apa and probably in reality it's an ipa, but the gushing flavor punch it delivers is remarkable for someone who drinks massive beers week in and week out. It's like a 6.4% version of Dreadnaught throwing the same notes you get out of top shelf double IPAs. Alpha king is another fairly small hoppy beer that delivers big flavor. I'm not trying to be someone that harps FFF and Founders as some people may think both of them are overhyped, but for me quality doesn't have to come from some shaggy bearded geek brewing in his basement(discription based solely on a relative of mine who is a major home brewer lol). But for me quality is breweries like 3F and Founders who are major reasons why the home brewers are doing what they're doing. Quality beer has been there all along and it doesn't always have to be a massive abv%. Zombie dust is a tribute to that. Don't get me wrong long live the big flavor giants, but long live the brewers who can do big while still allowing us to drink a few instead of just that single bomber
    JimSmetana likes this.
  15. JamesShoemaker

    JamesShoemaker Initiate (0) Sep 21, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    I was worried about this very thing. I returned to some old faithfuls recently to see how they hold up against my palate's penchant for higher ABV beers. Luckily, one of them (New Glarus Moon Man at a sessionable 5%) totally held its own. Two Hearted was watery, wheaty, and so much less flavorful than I remembered. Sigh.
    nickapalooza86 likes this.
  16. taez555

    taez555 Poo-Bah (1,588) Dec 9, 2002 Massachusetts

    No, but 7% ABV has defintely become my session beer starting point.
  17. devlishdamsel

    devlishdamsel Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2009 Washington

    Yes. A lot of lagers and Pilsners taste like canned corn to me now.
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  18. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2010 Oklahoma

    Definitely not. Keeping monster brews in check will help me appreciate them much more. I do not try to drink hop bombs and high gravity brews exclusively for several reasons. One is that I don't usually want to get smashed and I want to remember those expensive and elusive experiences. Another (kind of related to the first) is that I don't want the same thing throughout a single session. I need a change up. Probably the best reason though is that I spend enough as it is. I can't afford a fridge full of nothing but $24 4-packs and and corked bottles.
  19. CelticAleMan

    CelticAleMan Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2010 California

    No. I go through phases. This summer I got really tired of really big beers (especially sweet ones) and started enjoying fresh, quality pilsners. Now that the weather is cooler, I am liking sweeter beers a little more, but not as much as last winter. I tend to go overboard on things, burn out, and then move onto other things. Ultimately, I cycle back around, albeit not necessarily with the same fervor.

    Right now, I am going crazy on Sucks. Not exaggerating here, but I am probably on my 7th or 8th sixer since it arrived here 10+ days ago. I have shared some of those with others, but it is still pretty ridiculous. I am on vacation til tomorrow so I have had a lot of free time to be drinking. :slight_smile:
  20. TheSSG

    TheSSG Champion (850) Jul 27, 2008 Illinois

    Well, being 20 minutes from Wisconsin, I am glad to say that I have not experience this...but quite the opposite.

    If anything, I get fatigued from big biers.
    I spent two years living out west (Tucson), so I was inundated with hoppy biers in EVERY category (hoppy bocks are horrid, btw).
    Moving back to the Midwest (my home), I was afraid this was going to be a problem, but New Glarus just slapped me back into line this last year with their Blonde (German Pils) and their Laughing Fox (Kristalweizen). I was REALLY negative towards them when I arrived; "They took the sissy route for their menu," "they're selling to the lowest common denominator," etc. I was HARSH about the fact that their lineup had NO big biers.
    But then....I was floored. Blonde helped me to appreciate a style I've ALWAYS neglected. Laughing Fox helped me expand my deep love of weizens.
    Right now, I'm having a Point "Burly Brown" that is helping me appreciate a style I've always "hated."

    I think the problem for the OP may actually be regional.
    Out West, I had a HARD time appreciating really balanced, malty, lighter brews like I'd cut my teeth on back home.
    But, then Lakefront starting distributing their Bock and Oktoberfest in Arizona...and wow. I realized how much I'd forgotten I love smooth lagers. When EVERYONE around you is brewing hop bombs and always living by "more is better," it's hard to remember that "less is more" (interestingly, Mies van der Rohe has moved to Chicago...hmmmm).

    When I was trying regional lagers, I was ALWAYS disappointed. There's just something about Wisconsin (Minnesota or Pennsylvania, too) traditional brewing that NAILS the "light" lagers like no one else can.
    For me, the past 6 months or so have been a reprioritization, and a re-honing of my palate on quality lagers.

    I think too often, we bier geeks pretend our palates are too "refined" for light brews, but I've discovered it's MUCH harder to notice and appreciate restraint and refinement. When we can't catch everything that's going on in a nice, smooth lager, it's not because we're so sophisticated; we're just acclimated to the little bubble we've pushed ourselves into.
    Anyone can hop bomb a brew, but it's mastery to give you enough hops to restrain the malt, but have everything in balance.
    There was an interesting quote I once saw about the Prairie; it was the idea that, while it isn't as obviously stunning and overt as a snow-capped mountain range, if you look close enough and work hard enough, you can discover a beautiful complexity of life that is rivaled nowhere on earth.
    I think that's applicable to a lot of traditional Midwest lagers, too.

    P.S. FWIW, Full Sails lagers are some of those "light" brews from the West I fell in love with, and I never got tired of.
    JxExM, Kristenagrady, LeRose and 2 others like this.
  21. GardenWaters

    GardenWaters Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2012 Illinois

    Palate Wrecker! Well, not really, but a phenomenal brew none the less.
    Lantern likes this.
  22. nickapalooza86

    nickapalooza86 Initiate (0) Feb 23, 2010 Wisconsin

    Well as I sit here drinking a NG Coffee Stout right after a Bells Expidition I can honestly say no.... Maybe I am spoiled by NG and the fact that Dan can pack 9% worth of flavor in 4-6. But like an earlier poster said, I drink NG Moon Man all the time after big beers and it never fails to amaze me. I do not think there is a beer that has been ruined for me because of ABV since I have been into craft for the last 6 years. All my old favorites have remained so... NG Moon Man, Two Hearted, Ale Asylum Hopalicious, NG Two Women, NB Ranger, All NG Fruit Beers, Big Sky IPA, Lagunitas Pale, Left Hand Milk Stout and really The examples of small beers I loved at first and still love the same if not more go on and on... I love me some BCBS, CW BBBW and other big beers but the smaller beers are where all the best beers fall imo... I love me some Pales, Browns and IPA's!
  23. Mandark

    Mandark Initiate (0) Apr 8, 2008 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    It takes a lot of skill to brew a really flavorful, low ABV ale or lager, without using extreme amounts of any particular ingredient to the detriment of others. It's also possible for anyone used to drinking only amped up, imperial versions of beers to eventually come to appreciate such excellence. You just need to drink more variety, more often. I love big beers, but not exclusively.
  24. Providence

    Providence Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    I'm the opposite. I drank so many big beers over the years that I have little interest in them. 8% is big to me now. Give me nice sessionable czech pils, pale ales, esbs, oatmeal stouts, altbiers, cream ales and bocks I am a happy, happy man.
  25. TStron

    TStron Initiate (0) Mar 31, 2010 Minnesota

    I love big beers. I love the complexity a huge imperial stout can provide. But after drinking so many of them and of varying styles I can say I've started to appreciate the skill in making a very sessionable amber, pale ale, or pilsner. It makes me think of how Musashi's painting of a shrike on a dead branch is such a master piece not because it has a ton of crazy, realistic detail but because he did so much with so few strokes of the brush. That leaves little room for error. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kobokumeigekizu.jpg Sorry if that got a little snobbish but that piece is recognized for that quality and i think its an appropriate analogy.
    JxExM likes this.
  26. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,446) Mar 18, 2010 California

    Not at all. I can still appreciate "normal" beers whenever I want.
  27. lsummers

    lsummers Initiate (0) Jun 21, 2010 California

    I actually got into big beers (IPA's specifically) and drank nothing but last summer. Then I got some sort of stomach flu to the point where I couldn't drink a beer for a few weeks. I wanted to start safe and had a pilsner, of which I used to consider to flavorless for me. I found out I love it! The flavor is there it's almost like I wasn't paying attention to it. Now I love trying different pilsners and pale ales, I still love the big ones too. But if I have a few big ones in a row It is hard to taste the pilsners. I save those for when I take a couple days off, and then have my first beer again.
  28. Svendozen

    Svendozen Initiate (0) Dec 3, 2012 New Hampshire

    I think this is a psychosomatic problem. I think that you mentally prepare yourself for the brew you are about to partake in. Unless you have had a few beers before hand, and then you step on to something new...then what's the problem? Clense the palate! Don't drink a Ruination and then expect to enjoy a couple of Newcastles. Feed me a steak everyday for a month...and sooner or later I'm going to want a hotdog.
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  29. Svendozen

    Svendozen Initiate (0) Dec 3, 2012 New Hampshire

    What's more for me....is that magical first sip. It's hard to reproduce. I remember my first drink of Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout. No Sammy Smith Oatmeal Stout has ever tasted like that first one. Kind of like opening the same present over and over. Heheh
  30. OneBeertoRTA

    OneBeertoRTA Devotee (497) Jan 2, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    outside of lambics I can't recall the last beer under 5.9% I've had.

    That's why you start off the night with a beast and then finish with some Torpedo, Celebration, Furious or other reasonably priced selections.
  31. yankinoz

    yankinoz Initiate (0) Jan 6, 2013 Australia

    Dear Monster Beer Drinkers,

    When you come in from hard exercise under a blazing sun, when sweat trickles off your shoes and your legs are full of lactic acid, do you replenish your bodily fluids with a thick black beer of 11 abv and 110 IBUs, start off with water or something else soft, or switch to a cold pilsener?
  32. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2010 Oklahoma

    I don't always work hard under a blazing sun, but when I do I prefer H-dos-O.
    beerborn likes this.
  33. Hoppsbabo

    Hoppsbabo Champion (826) Jan 29, 2012 United Kingdom (England)

    Only when drinking at home. In pubs I like my beers to 3.5-5% therefore if I start drinking in the afternoon I can carry on until last orders.
  34. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,526) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Never thought about it, but rarely do Lagers or Pale Ale's internist me, at least normal PA's. Brews like ZD and Burning River, Troegs PA, and a few other brews obviously are pretty hoppy for the stated style.
  35. rjniles

    rjniles Initiate (145) Aug 30, 2012 South Carolina

    Definitely, I pretty much only drink IPAs or barleywines. When I go to a party or event that only has the standard BMC lineup, I drink a glass of wine. The only marco that I can drink with is Yuengling Lager.
  36. koflaherty

    koflaherty Initiate (194) Nov 11, 2009 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I'm not sure if 'palate wrecking' is really the right term, but since I've gotten more involved in BA, I've been more focused on bigger beers and I think it has hurt my appreciation for lighter bodied beers that I've always enjoyed. Someone said in one of the GABF threads that BA tends to measure on the 'hedonism' scale versus the scale to style and it's clear that bigger beers generate higher reviews and more attention. I'm guilty of that myself and lately I've tried to pull back and appreciate pales, cream ales, and (lower ABV) porters but it's hard for me to forget the deliciousness of the bigger DIPAs and imperials.
  37. YogiBeer

    YogiBeer Initiate (0) May 10, 2012 Illinois

    Yesterday, chronological order:

    BCBS Coffee, Weihen Pils on draft, Allagash Yakuza, Murda'd Out Stout, Cantillon classic, Half Acre special bitter.... definitely loved the lighter styles just as much. Also, I'm probably forgetting some. There is just a time and a place for huge palate bombs, and a time and a place for lighter, more nuanced styles.
  38. ColinStClaire

    ColinStClaire Initiate (0) Jul 31, 2012 Washington

    This all came up when I had a Fat Tire the other night and it wasn't doing anything for me. Maybe I just don't specifically enjoy Fat Tire anymore, but I remember LOVING amber ales. When I moved onto Celebration and Obsidian Stout later that night, the thought came to me that maybe these big(ger) beers have just made me expect way too much. Kinda like listening to Opeth then expecting Nickleback to sound good. It could just be me. I've always liked BIG video games, epic and long music and movies, rich food, now huge beers.
    However, I could drink HUB lager allllllll day! Czech pilsners here I come!
  39. fox227

    fox227 Initiate (0) Nov 19, 2010 California

    There is room for me for all differing strengths of beers, but if I'm only having one, I prefer it to be something in the strong range. I would never kill a four pack of Old Rasputin in a session - two at the most.
  40. fujindemon74

    fujindemon74 Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2012 Pennsylvania

    I like well crafted, flavorful beer.
    Doesn't have to be BIG and no, my palate hasn't been wrecked even though I gravitate toward BIG beers.

    Recently I've had my first Half Acre Daisy Cutter (5.2%abv) & Flying Dog Gonzo (9.2%abv), and both were fantastic. In fact, I had them in the same session, in that order, and it was marvelous.
    huysmans likes this.
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