Monday, May 4, 2009

a coriander and orange peel experiment

It has been over a week since I bottled the witbier so I thought I'd check it out. It's carbonating at the expected pace. The flavor, however, is unimproved.

It occurred to me that I could perform a small experiment to learn more about the nature of the flavors I don't like. I chewed a few coriander seeds (common used as a breath sweetener and digestive aid) and found the flavor citrusy and pleasant. I chewed a small piece of the sweet orange peel and did find it initially sweet, in a cloying sort of way, then becoming bitter, but still not nasty. Then I ground some coriander and boiled it for 15 or 20 minutes along with orange peel, just as was done when brewing.

The resultant tea was rather nice, actually. I can certainly identify those flavors in the beer, but unless it's only in combination with the rest of the brew that something awful happens (and that would be a surprise) I think it's pretty safe to say that neither the coriander nor the orange peel nor their boiling is the source of the offputting qualities of the beer. It may be that the complexity they add makes it harder to isolate the true nature of the bad taste.

I looked back at my notes from the day I brewed it, and I neither recorded nor do I recall anything unpleasant when tasting. So I'm now fairly convinced that it developed as the result of some kind of mishandling. Still, I'm in no rush to try again, just on the off chance that it turns out exactly the same way. That would suck monumentally. Maybe once I'm well-recovered from this trauma and my sad memories have faded I'll be more inclined to give it another go.

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