My Cicerone/AROXA Off–Flavor Tasting Kit Experience

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Receiving this off-flavor kit was fantastic.  I am a recently certified BJCP Mead judge and as a part of the judging process we give feedback to the brewers and meadmakers on any flaws in their products.  I was especially interested in this kit to help improve my knowledge of common off-flavors and how to talk about them both at work and in competition feedback.  The kit comes with off flavor additives for six of the most common off-flavors in beer; three caused in production/fermentation and three caused in storage/handling.  The kit also came with an online seminar to explain the tasting process for beers and each off flavor spike.  The brewing/fermenting off flavors featured are DMS (dimethyl sulfide), diacetyl, and acetaldehyde.   For storage and handling, the kit covers trans-2-noneal (oxidation), lightstruck, and infection.

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                I worked through the kit with a wonderful group of ladies I work with at HopCat Detroit.  We used a kölsch style beer for our control and spiked beers.  We went through each spike stopping to discuss what we smelled and tasted; this was great as each person might perceive the flavor a little differently or be more or less sensitive to it than another.  Talking through experiences and using some common descriptive words builds a reference for each participant, to then tie the industry word to the flavor.

This kit is an excellent introduction to familiarizing oneself with these common off flavors and is perfect for homebrewers, competition judges, industry professionals, or the enthusiastic consumer. Thank you again to Fermenta for awarding this opportunity and for their support in expanding my knowledge of all things fermented.

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By: Debbie A. Leggett

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