24 Bad Beers

Yesterday was my final class in preparation for the Beer Judge Certification Program Exam. I have less than two weeks until my knowledge of beer and tasting/judging ability will be put to the test.

Since much of the job of a beer judge is to recognize, indentify and articulate what is wrong with beer, yesterday’s class was devoted to off-flavors. Jackie and Alberta Rager doctored samples of Bud Light (chosen for its lack of flavor) with chemicals provided by the Siebel Institute to three times the normal detectable levels. So, in a nutshell, I spent yesterday afternoon drinking Bud Light that was not only bad, but three times as bad as it needed to be.

The flavors ranged from butyric (rancid butter) to papery (like chewing up paper to make spit wads in grade school) and earthy (smelled and tasted like the container of nightcrawlers you’d buy at a bait shop). In order of tasting, we tried butyric, mercaptan, ethyl acetate, indole, grainy, caprylic, papery, infection, diacetyl, acetaldehyde, DMS, lactic, metallic, earthy, isoamyl acetate, geraniol, spicy, ethyl hexanoate, acetic, hefeweizen, vanilla, bitter, and almond. While not all of these flavors are flaws, all can be if they are inappropriate to the style of beer being targeted. But, really, most of them are always bad, and spending an afternoon intentionally drinking one after the other is grueling.

I never thought I would complain about a Sunday afternoon spent drinking beer . . .

3 Responses to “24 Bad Beers”

  1. GMC70 says:

    ". . Bud Light (chosen for its lack of flavor)"

    So you start with a bad beer, and doctor it, to get – yup – bad beer. What a surprise.

    I must commend your dedication, Dan, and willingness to take one for the good of beer lovers everywhere. Sometimes, one must suffer for the greater good . . .


  2. Anonymous says:

    Beer, like most things, should be chosen to coincide with the environment.

    On a sunny day at the lake, Bud Light would be my drink of choice. (Especially if I intend to drink more than 2 or 3)

    Happy hour at my favorite brew pub would likely result in a hefeweizen being my primary choice.

    I like a stout with my steak.

    Drink like nobody is judging you or your choice.

  3. Austin Hungerford says:

    Crazy thing! The 1st time and every time after I noticed bud light had a dull banana flavor and even commented on it. I was a Becks drinker at the time. I was researching distillation tonight and was reading on byproducts like amylalchohol. Tastes like bananas, and I remembered my opinion on bud light. Nice work! I prefer skunky or citrus over dull banana any day.

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