At the confluence of my homebrewing and BJCP study group work, I found that I needed to deepen my knowledge of raw ingredients. Because hops are de rigueur pretty much all the time, I feel like I’ve gotten fairly well-acquainted with a number of varietals. And I spent most of my 2016 brew sessions experimenting with different yeast strains, so I was doing at least OK there. But try as I might, I haven’t been able to take malts and “make them stick”.
It seemed to me that there was only one way to really solve this problem.
To do what I always do when I want to know more about a subject: to go deep, and take notes.
If I was going to get cozy with malts, I was going to need to focus on specific raw ingredients — I was going to need to smell and taste one at a time, to fully experience each aroma and flavor. To put names with faces.
So I went down to my LHBS with a fistful of plastic baggies and started dropping in (approximate) one ounce scoops until each one had a sample that I could take home. Then I took them all home and chewed up a generous pinch of each.
Here’s how they broke down for me.