Last month the Sonoma Beerocrats meeting was all about the funk. 24 unique flavors of it. Byron Burch, Sonoma Beerocrat founder and 1986 Homebrewer of the year, led the club through the Siebel Institute Sensory Training kit. The kits are comprised of small vials that you add to a neutral beer then taste.
Over the course of a couple of hours we tasted through all the vials distinguishing off flavors and talking about the root causes. Some of the flavors like Butyric and Isovaleric Acid were beyond gross while others like Vanilla and Spicy were flavors that we have sought to include in our beers. Eryn and I only tasted one off-flavor (grainy) that we could identify in one of our batches.
Overall it was a great experience that we both learned a ton from. If you ever get a chance to do a sensory tasting jump on it. Being able to distinguish these flavors and defects will help you to become a better brewer. At the end of the evening Eryn and I agreed it was events like this that made us want to join the Beerocrats and why homebrewers should get involved with their local clubs. Thanks to the Beerocrats Steering Committee! We look forward to much more learning in the future.