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L-R: Extract, Kit, All-Grain After the inconclusive previous rounds of testing for Kit v Extract v All-Grain (round 1; round 2), it was decided to have a third round, for the purpose of answering such crucially important questions as:
1) Can you tell the difference between them?
2) Which tastes nicest?
3) Do old kits taste different to new kits?
4) Do beards really help?
 
In order to make it completely bullet-proof we went for a beer where off-flavours had nowhere to hide: a light lager-like ale. What could possibly go wrong?
 
Well, quite a lot apparently. For example some people who were supposed to brew cancelled and 
a) binned their brew
b) kept very quiet and hoped no-one asked about their beer
c) claimed it was so good that they drank every last drop.
 
Fortunately, no-one's dog drank their homework! Still, never mind, surely that was an end to the madness... not quite; some numpty gave people the wrong beer for part of the taste test - they got a hacked kit instead of an unhacked kit [editor's and kit-brewer's note: it probably didn't make any significant difference].
 
The Beers
  • Extract: Brewed by Brian_C
  • Fresh Kit: Cooper's Australian Lager + 1 kg table sugar. Brewed by TheBeerNut
  • Hacked Kit: Cooper's Australian Lager + DME and hops. Brewed by IrishParty Ale
  • Non-Temp Control AG: Brewed by Saruman
  • Old Kit: Young's Lager. Some months out of date. Brewed by Irish Party Ale
  • Temp Control AG: Brewed by SBillings
  • Trappist AG: Accidentally warm-fermented blonde ale. Brewed by SBillings
 
So on to the outputs; I've put them in 2 tables thusly:
  Extract Fresh Kit Hacked Kit Non-Temp Control AG Old Kit Temp Control AG Trappist AG Score
BaconSarnie Kit AG Kit AG Kit AG Extract 4/7
Brian_C Extract AG AG Kit Kit Kit AG 3/7
Irish Party Ale Extract Kit Hacked Kit AG Old Kit AG Trappist AG 7/7
Irokie AG AG Hacked Kit Extract Old Kit AG Kit 3/7
Microgirl Extract AG Kit Kit Kit AG AG 5/7
MrsBeerNut Kit AG AG Kit Kit Extract AG 2/7
Rossa AG Kit Hacked Kit Extract Old Kit AG AG 5/7
Saruman Extract Kit Hacked Kit AG Kit AG Trappist AG 7/7
SBillings Kit AG Extract Kit Kit AG AG 3/7
TheBeerNut Temp Control AG Fresh Kit Extract Non-Temp Control AG Old Kit Hacked Kit Trappist AG

4/7

 

Rating (1 is best):
  Extract Fresh Kit Hacked Kit

Non-Temp Control AG

Old Kit Temp Control AG Trappist AG
BaconSarnie 5 1 6 3 7 2 4
Brian_C 4 3 1 6 7 5 2
Elizabeth 2 3 7 6 4 1 5
Irish Party Ale 1 5 2 3 7 4 7
Irokie 1 5 4 6 7 2 3
MrsBeerNut 2 3 1 7 6 5 4
OtherHalbe 4 1 7 6 3 5 2
Rossa 4 6 1 2 7 3 5
Saruman 4 5 6 1 7 3 2
TheBeerNut 1 6 3 7 5 4 2
Overall 1 =4 =4 6 7 2 3
 
Conclusions 
1) Can you tell the difference between them? No. Most people spotted the old kit beer, but apart from that random selection would have been as effective. 
 
2) Which tastes nicest? The Extract takes the prize! Well done Brian. Before you throw in the studies for a life on the high hops however, a word of caution; the results are pretty mixed, with only the kit beer being consistent (in getting bad results) the spread of results means that we can't really claim the results are definitive.
 
3) Do old kits taste different to new kits? Yes. Completely. The old kit beer was the most recognisible and was the only beer to garner a sufficiently 'different' score to be statistically significant.
 
4) Do beards help? Unless Saruman had a fake "Monty Python's Life of Brian" beard in his pocket, I'm afraid we have to say 'no' to this one.
 
Finally, the one thing that certainly didn't go wrong was the hospitality on display from our host TheBeerNut. Hats off for his top notch glassware, pork pies, scotch eggs, cheese, bread and bonhomie.
 
Sunday, February 10, 2019 TheBeerNut News 1933
While the Irish brewing scene hasn't grown as much in the last twelve months as it has in recent years, the task of picking a best beer from the hundred or so operational breweries has not got any easier. In this the eighth edition of the competition, 73 different beers received a preference from a Beoir member, cutting across styles, strengths and county of origin. As always, every beer brewed on the island and available in the previous year was eligible and voting was open to current Beoir members. When all the counting up was complete, three winning beers and a winning brewery were selected. And they were:
Sunday, August 05, 2018 TheBeerNut Reviews 3302
Veteran beer writer Tim Webb has been publishing a guide to Belgian beer and pubs since 1992. This and the previous edition in 2014 were co-edited by the Europe-based American writer Joe Stange. A short essay by Webb at the front of the book charts the origin of the guide and announces his retirement from it. That means the next one will have a different feel to the current edition, because this is not simply a list of Belgian pubs and breweries, but rather a series of personal observations. This unusual approach really captures the idiosyncracies of Belgium's beer culture.

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