Poor sense of smell...

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Cenosillicaphobe, Jan 25, 2013.

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  1. Cenosillicaphobe

    Cenosillicaphobe Initiate (0) Jul 24, 2011 Maine

    I don't really do reviews because my nose, for whatever reason, is essentially useless. I read all of the descriptions of aromas in reviews, and I wish I could experience these things. I pick up on the occasional aroma, but they are few and fleeting. I'm sure this detracts from my enjoyment of beer, among other things, yet I enjoy it still. I guess I don't pick up on certain intricacies and nuances, but I still really love a great brew...just in a different way. Anybody else have this issue at all?
  2. atoulouk

    atoulouk Aspirant (268) Apr 25, 2011 Indiana
    Beer Trader

    I have bad allergies and sinus issues in general. From about September until April my nose is partially if not totally clogged. I use a prescription nose spray every morning when I wake up that is supposed to help my sinuses and it does if I use it regularly, but I typically will use a fast acting nasal spray about 15 minutes before I crack a beer so that I can enjoy the smells.
    jplopez21 likes this.
  3. JCaweinstein

    JCaweinstein Disciple (376) Dec 30, 2010 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    I too have a poor sense of smell. There are some things that have helped though. If I'm having a beer that I'm going to review or something that's really good I let it warm to just below room temp. This seems to help a little. I also stick my nose right up to the to the top of the beer, often getting it wet. Also take out all of the spices in your cabinet or anything in your kitchen with an aroma and give it a go. Pass your glass to anyone who well take it and see what they say, my wife and daughter are good at this and help me look for aromas. These are some things that have helped me, I hope this helps you.
  4. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (740) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    I'd see a doctor and hope it is correctable due to something like a sinus problem...problem teeth can factor in sometimes.

    Don't believe everyone else either...there's a lot of "The Emperor's New Clothes" syndrome going on when you get more than 2 beer aficianados together : )
  5. gshak

    gshak Zealot (527) Feb 20, 2011 Texas

    So you're saying that you cannot tell apart the danky, resiny, earthy, herbally, oniony, garlicy, piney, floral, citrusy, tropical fruity (papaya, guava, pineapple, kiwi, strawberry, blackberry, blueberry..well nvm), bready, biscuity qualities in a beer?
    All jokes and sarcasm aside, it also depends on how fresh the beer is, and how well it was stored before it got into your hands. Maybe it isn't you....and maybe it's just the beer. While some reviewers may have pulled in some aspect of the beer that isn't always obvious to others, you'll just have to go with what your heart and brain tells you about the beer you're holding. Of course, there are some that will merely parrot away those words that they've heard another say in the hopes of looking knowledgeable, but that is a separate discussion...
  6. Cenosillicaphobe

    Cenosillicaphobe Initiate (0) Jul 24, 2011 Maine

    Funny thing is...I'll think I can smell a beer still sitting in its bottles i the bag...Founders Imperial Stout last night for example...could have sworn I was experiencing some serious roasty, chocolaty goodness, right there in the store. Then I get it home...put it in the glass...sniff...nose in the head...nuthin'. Still tastes amazing though.

    Thanks for the replies...perhaps I will talk to my doctor...not sure why I haven't done so previously.
  7. klinger

    klinger Initiate (154) Oct 9, 2012 Ohio

    I have had that problem. It's starting to get better, but I usually have my wife (who has great sense of smell) smell it for me, tell me what she smells and then I go, "oh, yeah".
  8. squirrely2005

    squirrely2005 Initiate (0) Aug 26, 2011 Texas

    I've been thinking about this the last few weeks. My nose isn't that great. I can smell stuff to an extent but I can't pick out specific flavors like vanilla, cinnamon, banana, etc or even taste them really. I love the beer I drink but never had understood these specific smells and tastes.
  9. squirrely2005

    squirrely2005 Initiate (0) Aug 26, 2011 Texas

    God I wish my gf didn't have the sense of smell she does. Everyday comin home from work(we work together) she asks in the same spot if I farted and everyday I say no. Every. Single. Day. Most annoying thing ever.
  10. jplopez21

    jplopez21 Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Good idea, I think I'm about to start doing that.
  11. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2013 New York

    Can you smell vagina?

    This is not a troll post so please don't delete. It's a serious question.
  12. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (3,732) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    only when i have a cold
  13. Cenosillicaphobe

    Cenosillicaphobe Initiate (0) Jul 24, 2011 Maine

    I pick up on something...though it's difficult to quantify my perceptions as opposed to those of others...I love that smell.
  14. kingofhop

    kingofhop Initiate (0) May 9, 2010 Oklahoma

    As a young pitcher, my nose was broken by a returned fastball that I didn't see coming. My sense of smell has been impaired ever since. My sense of taste was not affected, thankfully, but I do wish I could experience the smell of beer, better.
  15. stealth

    stealth Zealot (508) Dec 16, 2011 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Are you missing out on the horse blanket? That would be a shame.
    JxExM likes this.
  16. MammaGoose

    MammaGoose Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2013 Wyoming

    I kind of dove head first into the world of craft beer. I was immediately and inexplicably enthusiastic about it. But, I was totally ignorant and unpracticed. I would read the reviews and see descriptions like "a nose of biscuits...maybe waffles" or "has an overwhelming smell of pine." I'd sniff the beer that was being reviewed, and I would smell beer. Maybe I could detect generic hops or tell the difference between a porter versus a pale. But I couldn't smell the difference between biscuits or waffles, that sounded ridiculous!

    Total beer appreciation definitely takes practice. I'd definitely still consider myself a newb, but I've come a long ways. I would practice by looking at, smelling, and tasting a beer while I was reading the reviews. I'd try to pick out what others experienced. I also started taking my own notes and really trying beers with the purpose of picking out certain aromas and flavors. Another activity a couple of my friends and I did was blindfold ourselves and try to identify certain smells of actual things. If you were blindfolded and somebody held up a bowl of raisins, would you be able to identify it as raisins? It's harder than you'd think. It's a familiar smell, of course, and when we look at a bowl of raisins, we know what they'll smell like. But it's harder to identify by smell alone. I'm still not great at it, but I've gotten better.

    So (unless you have a specific sinus-affecting condition), perhaps your nose isn't impaired, it's just unpracticed. We're generally sight-reliant critters. We depend mostly on our eyes to give us primary feedback. We can look at a beer and rattle off 10 things about it...the color, the size of the head, the color of the foam, the carbonation rising, the lacing, etc. But we aren't used to assessing and categorizing things by our nose. Same with tasting, but perhaps to a lesser extent.

    All of that said, I still read some reviews and think it's a little bit overly ridiculous. I still can't smell the difference between a biscuity beer and a waffley beer.
    PaulQuinn likes this.
  17. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (521) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    I'm in the same boat. Luckily, my wife has an incredibly sensitive nose, so I rely on her for detecting some of the more subtle flavors in beer.
  18. antilite

    antilite Initiate (159) Jan 1, 2012 Florida

    The only styles I can really pick up on the aromas are IPA's with the fruity hops. Especially Celebration, where the nutmeg and parsley really dominate.
  19. Nectar

    Nectar Initiate (0) Jan 17, 2013 New Jersey

    I really feel that MammaGoose nailed it. I was the same when when I started enjoying beer. If you can see it, its easy to associate the smell with the item. It takes practice to get a nose of liquid, and pick out fruits, grains, etc etc etc.

    " A nose of mango, not papaya like I expected." I heard that at my first tasting, it blew my mind at the time. Know what I could best describe it as at the time? "Fruit"
  20. loafinaround

    loafinaround Aspirant (296) Jul 16, 2011 New York

    could be due to inflamed sinuses (allergies), congestion, or the opposite: dry sinuses.

    in order for olfactory receptors to detect aromas, the food particles must first dissolve in mucus. W/O mucus, you sense nothing. wonder if a warm mist humidifier in your bedroom might help.
  21. jrnyc

    jrnyc Meyvn (1,277) Mar 21, 2010 New York
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    That sucks. Glad I dont have this. I spend as much time smelling the beer as I do drinking it.
    JxExM likes this.
  22. Flashy

    Flashy Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2003 Vermont

    I will never forget seeing a group of beer drinkers sniffing beer (1989- 1990?) at a brew festival and commenting on the smells and me telling my buddies "the wine snobs are here- look out." Maybe they were right, but.....
  23. DrLasers

    DrLasers Initiate (160) Apr 18, 2011 California

    Have you tried a Neti Pot? [​IMG]
  24. stealth

    stealth Zealot (508) Dec 16, 2011 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    In case you need an animated example of the neti pot:
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