On Monday April 14th, 2008 we had the last Boulder Beer “Beer Appreciation Class” until the fall.  Boohoo!  Their calendars are packed, no doubt because we’re in Beer Festival season, which pretty much runs spring, summer and fall. 

The last class was very interesting – Professional Beer Tasting!  Every week the brewers get together and have a professional tasting panel for the beers they will be distributing in the upcoming week.  The beers are always tasted unfiltered as this will show the flaws most profoundly.  Because the beers are unfiltered, there are still options for correcting any flaws that are found, even if it means slowly blending the batch into many following batches.

Each brewer fills out a sheet with the following categories:

Brand, Brew Number, Fermenter, Comments.

Aroma – Fruity, Solvent, Citrus, Banana, Hop, Spicey, Yeasty, Malty, Roasted, Oxidized.

Flavor – Bitternes, Astringency, Sweetness, Malty, Roasted, Fruity, Citrus, Hop, Grainy, Worty, Alcoholic, Mouthfeel.

Clarity – (rate on a scale of 1 – 10)

Off Flavors & Aromas – DMS, Sulfur, Cardboard, Musty Cellar, Diacetyl, Acidic/Tart, Metallic, Acetaldehyde, other

DMS – sulfur, eggs.  Sulfur – matches.  Card board – like chewing paper.  Diacetyl – Popcorn butter, butterscotch, corn, vegetal.  Acetaldehyde – Green apples, wet grass, hay.

We got to try rating beers based on a 10 point scale, then compare them to the professional brewers ratings.  “Expired” Hazed and Infused – high oxidation characteristics.  Rolling Rock – very strong DMS.  Heineken – again, strong oxidation.  Porter – high roasted malt character.  Buffalo Gold and SingleTrack were just to train us how to do a tasting and to callibrate our taste buds!  We were also able to compare and contrast Unfiltered Hazed with “Clean” Hazed from the bright tank.  Yum!

I found my numbers were consistently lower then the brewers.  I should have been a little more assertive with what I was tasting.  It was a fun night!  Can’t wait for the classes to start up again. 🙂