Brewer's Blog

Flavour Training Course Info

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One of the most important things I learned at brewing school was to identify flavours in beer and be able to competently speak about them and get what I tasted across to others.

A few years after I finished my schooling, these same flavour training courses came in handy as I wrote my BJCP exam while living and brewing in Regina.

We're running a Flavour Training Seminar here at the brewery on February 21st, 2011 thru to February 24th, 2011 at 7pm - 9pm each night. During the four night course, we'll tackle 24 different flavours in beer, using a sample spiking kit that replicates the abuses that beer can be subjected to.

The cost is $60 + taxes per person and the class size is limited to 20 people total.

We'll taste the beers, discuss the samples, go over where the flavours tasted might be appropriate, and go into some solutions regarding the avoidance of off flavours in beer.

If you'd like to sign up, drop into the brewery and pay for your spot - Vanessa will have a sign up sheet so we know who's reserved their seat by paying. You can also reserve by phone by speaking with Vanessa and giving her your VISA or Mastercard numbers.

If there's enough interest, we'll also run a course on March 7th - 10th, 2011

  1. Why do I want to train my palette to pick out off flavours in beer? Simply put, an educated palette raises the bar for everyone when it comes to beer. You can help spread the word for good beer everywhere.
  2. $60? That's a lotta scratch - why is the course so expensive? To cover the cost of the beer we need to use to do the spiked sampling, the kit to do the spiking, as well as the course handouts, and some palette cleansing breads/crackers and such, not to mention my time for the course prep and teaching. How much do you think accepting bad beer will cost you over your lifetime?
  3. I've got too much going on that week, why don't you run the course on ______ date? Read above - we'll be having another course in March to accommodate more people. If there's enough interest after that, we'll even run another course in late March.
  4. If I train my palette to pick out all these off flavours, then how am I ever going to enjoy my ______ beer again? You probably won't look at beer the same again after this course, but it pays to have the knowledge to know the difference between good and bad beer.
  5. I once got served a beer at a pub that tasted "funny", how can this course help me avoid this? If you've been trained, you can pick out dirty beer lines, bad glass washing techniques, and old, stale draft, etc. You'll learn how to send the beer back and make suggestions as to where the problem might stem from, without sounding like a jerk.
  6. I brew my own beer at home. Will this help me improve my homebrewing skills? Knowing why your beer tastes the way it does is the first step towards improving your brewing skills. We started as homebrewers and know the value in being our own worst critics. You can brew world class beer at home but sometimes it helps to have a little push in the right direction first.
Any other questions regarding the course can be posted here or sent to
Hope to see you there,
David Rudge,
Half Pints Brewing Company
EDIT: FAQ #7 - Why don't you offer the course over 4 weeks? 4 days in a row is too hard to block out - c'mon man I'm busy!
You'll find that tasting the beers gets easier after the first night and you become almost hyper sensitive to faults. With a week off in between, the learning is more difficult. 4 nights in a row hammers home the learning and makes you a better taster.
FAQ #8 So why not just do the whole course in one night? Pallete fatigue sets in and you can't taste much after 6-10 small samples. Ever try to drink a St. James Pale Ale after having 6 Little Scrappers? Same deal.

January 20, 2010 UPDATE: There's been plenty of interest in the February course so we've added a second session in March

March 7th - 10th from 7pm - 9pm each night we'll be running the Flavour Training Course again.  Same details as above, call Vanessa at our front desk (832-7468) or stop by to register.