From the Ministry of Enlightenment – November 2016

By Wendy Aaronson & Mike Reinitz, Co-Ministers of Enlightenment

At the October meeting, attendees had a chance to determine the level at which they could smell and taste diacetyl.  We used Michelob Ultra as the control beer and McCormick Imitation Butter flavor as the source of diacetyl.  We emptied two bottles of beer into a pitcher and added the butter flavor – 0.0 ml, 0.1 ml, 0.25 ml, 1.0 ml, 1.5 ml, and 2.0 ml.  There was supposed to be a caramel syrup sample, but one of us can’t follow recipes and ended up with a sugary mess.  Participants did not know the quantities of diacetyl in the samples.  Surprisingly, folks were more likely to smell diacetyl at a lower level than taste.  Only 1 person could smell diacetyl at the 0.1 ml level and just begin to taste it.  An overwhelming majority could smell diacetyl at the 0.1 ml level, but were not able to taste it until the 0.25 ml level.  This was a fun exercise that we created on the fly to help folks discover their threshold and think about how they can train their palette to be more sensitive.  It got Wendy thinking about developing a more controlled experiment to further understand sensory analysis of beer.

November Meeting – It’s REAL ALE!!!  Don’t miss the fun.  Tom and Andy will kick off the festivities at noon with a discussion about the flavor and mouthfeel of a perfect pint.

January Meeting – Brad Smith of BeerSmith will give a presentation at the January meeting.  Details will follow in a future post.

To Be Scheduled – Quick Soured Beers – Dave and Becky Pyle make awesome award-winning lambics, but it takes time and dedication.  Kettle Souring was frequently discussed at HomebrewCon 2016.  It seems simple.  After you mash, lauter, and sparge, you cool the wort to about 100-110F and pitch lactobacillus.  After reaching your desired sourness, you boil the wort.  Seems simple and controlled.  If you have tried this, let us know.  We will schedule something for the February meeting.

Mike is retiring as Minister of Enlightenment and Wendy will happily retire if a person or team has fresh ideas to enlighten the membership.  She is also available  to be a part of an enlightenment team.  If you’re interested in being an officer & planning fun, educational events for BURP, find Wendy or Mike at Real Ale to ask them about it!

As always, if you have suggestions for future education activities, please email us at