How to Taste – Phenolic Taints

Phenolic Taints

Phenolic flavours are a major impact taint generally imparted by the external contamination of beer either through raw materials or packaging. Whilst these flavours don’t appear in beer often they are still a significant taint and expensive to correct.

How to taste – Phenolic Taints

Unlike some of the stronger taints such as earthy or musty flavours phenolic based ones can be more subtile. These flavours also become more recognisable after people have become more exposed to them. Tasters generally gain senstivty to lower concentrations of these flavours during training.

To taste for these flavours swirl the glass to release the odour. Take short sniffs while holding the beer near to the nose. As both flavours are chemically in nature they are distinct to detect.

Some technical tasters who initially seem unable to taste the flavour may get better at detecting them over the course of their training.

What do These Flavours Indicate?

There are two types of phenolic taints, Chlorophenol and Bromophenol. Chlorophenol is a chemical flavour with a antiseptic or chlorinated taste to it. This is imparted from chlorinated water which has contaminated brewing raw materials or packaging. Bromophenol is a inky or an old electric fire taste imparted via contaminated packaging  that has been recycled or treated with fire retardents.