Medicinal – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Beer Tasting Notes Glossary

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What is Medicinal Flavor in Beer?

Medicinal flavor in beer refers to off-flavors that give the beer a taste reminiscent of medicine or chemicals. These flavors can range from a slight hint of antiseptic to a strong taste of cough syrup. Medicinal flavors are considered undesirable in beer and can greatly impact the overall enjoyment of the beverage.

How is Medicinal Flavor in Beer Perceived?

Medicinal flavors in beer are typically perceived as harsh, sharp, and unpleasant. They can be described as tasting like band-aids, iodine, or even plastic. These flavors can linger on the palate and leave a lingering aftertaste that is off-putting to most beer drinkers.

What Causes Medicinal Flavors in Beer?

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of medicinal flavors in beer. One common cause is the presence of certain chemical compounds such as chlorophenols, which can be formed when chlorine in water reacts with phenols in malt. Infection by wild yeast or bacteria can also lead to medicinal flavors, as can poor sanitation practices during brewing.

How to Identify and Describe Medicinal Flavors in Beer?

Medicinal flavors in beer can be identified by their distinct taste and aroma. When describing these flavors, it is important to use terms that convey the medicinal nature of the off-flavor, such as “antiseptic,” “band-aid,” or “iodine.” These flavors can be quite potent, so they are often easy to detect even in small quantities.

How to Prevent or Minimize Medicinal Flavors in Beer?

Preventing medicinal flavors in beer starts with good brewing practices. Proper sanitation is key to preventing infection by wild yeast or bacteria, which can lead to off-flavors. Using high-quality ingredients and carefully controlling fermentation temperatures can also help minimize the risk of developing medicinal flavors in beer.

What Beer Styles are Prone to Medicinal Flavors?

Certain beer styles are more prone to developing medicinal flavors than others. For example, light lagers and pilsners are more susceptible to medicinal flavors due to their delicate flavor profiles. Additionally, beers that are heavily hopped or aged for long periods of time may also be at risk for developing medicinal off-flavors. It is important for brewers to be aware of the potential for these flavors in certain beer styles and take steps to prevent their development.