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Thread: Caramel aroma in ESB

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011

    Caramel aroma in ESB

    So yesterday I had a brewer from another brewery stop by and try a couple of my beers. When I poured him one of my ESB's he smelled it a couple times and then said it was a bad beer. I asked why and he said he was smelling caramel which he said was an indicator of a bad beer. Reading the BCJP style guidelines for ESB, it says "Medium to medium-high malt aroma, often with a low to moderately strong caramel component".

    I hadn't heard of caramel aroma being an indicator of off beer. Has anyone else?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Fayetteville, AR
    He's probably mistaking the caramel for the butterscotch/toffee aroma characteristic of diacetyl or another similar compound 2,3 pentanedione that smells somewhat like honey. These are a result of the yeast being taken off the beer too early. Both compounds are metabolized by yeast late in fermentation and especially during conditioning. Look up the term "vicinal diketones" of "VDK's" and read everything you can about them. I suggest any works by Lewis and/or Bamforth.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Wow, what a cowinkidink- just tasted a buddies ESB today at this brewery and almost fell into the same trap. It was when i noticed that there was NO Viscous Diacetyl "slippery" feeling i knew it was not D. e.g. Redhook ESB

    The Toffee or Raisiny aroma in high L Crystal Malts can fool you if you go only on the Aroma- use as many senses as you can when you taste.
    Last edited by Jephro; 08-23-2011 at 05:11 PM.
    Jeff Byrne

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