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<strong>The Disgruntled Chemist</strong>


Blind Beer Challenge

This is a report of a blind taste test that I did with todd (from the comments) and a couple of other UCI grad students over a meal of pizza (from Ameci's) and wings (homemade by me) on Saturday afternoon. Everything in plain text was written at the time; my comments this morning are in italics. The pictures are still on my roommate's camera, and I will get them from him sometime soon.

3 beers enter. One beer wins.

Here's the deal: I have three pewter mugs full of beer. One has Budweiser from a 24 ounce tallboy, one has Mother Lager from Magic Hat Brewing in Vermont, and one has Warsteiner. I'm going to drink them one-by-one and see which one is the best. The three mugs will be known as the Coors mug (left), the Brussels mug (center) and the German mug (far right, from some bar in Germany) [this will make more sense when I get the pictures off my roommate's camera. Until then, use your imagination]. Coors mug first:

The aroma is bready and a little sour. As for the taste, I don't like it, frankly. There's a certain amount of skunkiness, that sourness again, and a little bit of malt. No hops to speak of, and no aftertaste either. I am not a fan.

Next up is the Brussels mug. The aroma is almost sweet, and maybe a little floral if I look for it. Not much to it; I can't find any hops. The taste is much smoother than the beer in the Coors mug; it's definitely not coming out and punching me in the mouth the same way. There is a bit of sweet, light malt out front and a very little bit of hops behind, but there's just not a lot going on, and compared to the beer in the Coors mug that's a very good thing. No aftertaste here either.

Finally, we come to the German mug. It smells a lot like the first one, with that same little bit of sourness. The flavor is not as strong as the one in the Coors mug but it tastes similar, and definitely has more total flavor than the one in the Brussels mug. The sour taste isn't as prominent, but there is the malt out front and the lack of aftertaste. There's a little bit of hops, but not so I can really tell what they're supposed to taste like. Overall decent, but I'm not digging the flavor too much.

Rankings: Brussels mug, German mug, Coors mug.

Identities, best one on the left: Bud, Magic Hat Mother Lager, Warsteiner

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Insert your own outraged gasp here.

So the Bud won. If I have to take one lesson away from this blind taste test, it's that I should never listen to my commenters that I just shouldn't drink lagers (and I usually don't), but if I'm going to I shouldn't waste my money - I should just have a Bud. Your mileage may vary.

As a scientist, I have to try and explain such an unexpected result. I can come up with three possible explanations:

1. I simply do not like lagers. True, I gave the Mother Lager a rating of 7 a while ago, but I also classified it as 'watery'. Lack of lager flavor may be a good thing for me, considering that I ranked the beers here in order of descending amount of flavor.

2. The fact that I gorged myself on wine, rum and cigars the night before may have destroyed my affection for booze. I think I can discount this one, because I drank (and enjoyed) a Stone Pale Ale immediately after the blind taste test.

3. I am not a good judge of what makes a good beer, and I should stop beer blogging.

You can leave your theories and mockery in the comments.



Beer Blogging - Cerveza Sol

I just got back from my softball game (we lost because we can't hit worth a damn), and it's really hot in Southern California right now (75 °F at 9:30 at night?), so I need a refreshing beer. Maybe a lager...something Mexican...hmmmm.

Looks refreshing all right; basically, it looks exactly like Corona, maybe a very little bit darker. Smells like Corona too - just like your basic lager, with maybe a little extra hops and a little sweeter. Nothing special. There's really no head to be seen; a little bit showed up when I first poured it, but in the time it took to pick up my camera it had disappeared.

Now for the taste. I have to say that looks can be deceiving, because this tastes nothing like Corona. First of all, it's far tastier without the help of lime (of which I had none in the fridge). Corona without lime is not worth drinking, but this beer is surprisingly flavorful. It starts out with a sweetness that's almost fruity, and finishes with a little bit of bitterness (more bitterness would help, but I wasn't expecting much, so it was a nice surprise). The overall impression is pretty drinkable, especially on a hot night like tonight. It's certainly nothing special, but it's a well-put-together beer.

Rating: 6/10. Sol is a good beer to drink a few of on a warm summer night. If you're looking for something that's complex or flavorful, get an actual German lager. But if you like Corona or the American macrobrews, this one might be for you (especially if you don't have limes handy).



Beer Blogging - Miller High Life

This weekend is off to a great start. I went to the Angels game last night (they beat the White Sox, 5-1), played some softball with friends this morning, and now I'm eating a wonderful sandwich for lunch on a beautiful, sunny, warm day. I need to start out with a lighter beer today. Let's see what's in the fridge...

When did I buy that? I don't really remember. But hey, what the hell? I've never had it before, so it's time to try the Champagne of Beers.

Poured into a glass, I have to say that it does kind of look like champagne, actually, if a little darker - looks like a typical lager, with that light golden color. There sure are a lot of bubbles. It actually smells pretty decent, with a light bready aroma that could have a little more character. It's not as bad as, say, Budweiser or MGD, though, so there's that.

From the smell, I was expecting something with at least a little bit of guts. This is not the case upon tasting, however. Miller High Life is a watery, thin beer. The very first thing you notice upon sipping this beer is, well, that it's wet. Really, no flavor comes across at first. After a second I started to taste the bready malt that came through in the aroma, followed by some very weak hop bitterness. This beer is not about flavor, it's about being as bland and inoffensive as possible. This is not the Champagne of Beers.

Rating: 4/10. If you don't like beer, this is the beer for you.

Wow, I can see why they compare it to champagne, at least in one way: I am burping like a champ from all this carbonation. Something to keep in mind if you're going to be drinking this.