Kit vs. Extract vs. All-grain Brewing
Monday, March 27, 2017
   
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Kit vs. Extract vs. All-grain Brewing

Velly Intelesting, I assure you Experiment: To compare the flavour profiles generated from different brewing methods
The premise for this experiment is to investigate the link between how beers rate in flavour when produced in three different methods
a) Kit beer, where hopped liquid extract is fermented (brewing by numbers)
b) Extract beer, where Dried Malt Extract (DME) is boiled with hops and then fermented (brewing with the training wheels on)
c) All-Grain beer, where malt is extracted from grain, before being boiled with hops and fermented ("proper" brewing).

Question
Which method of making beer produces the highest rated beer in a blind taste test? 

Hypotheses
H1) Kit beers dont taste as nice as Extract or All-Grain, therefore the kit beer will score worst on the blind taste test.
H2) Liquid Malt Extract will ozygenate in the can over time, leading to off flavours. These flavours are readily recognisable, so a Kit beer will be easy to identify if it has been left on the shelf for an extended period of time.
H3) The Extract and All-Grain beers are produced in a similar way and will be more difficult to differientiate than the Kit beer.
H4) Having a beard will make you a better beer nerd

Experimental Design
Dependent Variables:
a) How each beer ranked
b) How easy it was to differentiate between the 3 types of beer

Beer PackIndependent Variables
a) Beer production location and environmental factors
b) Number of participants
c) Location of experiment (except for Halite)
d) There's no accounting for taste

Materials
1. "Beer Packs", consisting of 3 full beer bottles clearly labeled Experiment I, II and III respectively.
2. Glasses of various shapes and sizes from which to sample the beer.
3. Feedback sheets for each beer experiment number.
4. Pens.
5. Mugs (Participants).

Beer PackProcedure
1. Pass out the "Beer Packs", glasses, pens and feedback sheets to the Mugs.
2. Allow the Mugs to marinate in the experiments for as long as they feel necessary.
3. Respond to any comments or thoughts on the beer tasting with "Really, that's interesting". Extra kudos can be earned for doing so in the manner of a Freudian psychoanalyst
4. Collect the completed sheets, and hold onto them for the purposes of future bribery / extortion
5. Ensure a safe drinking area is available throughout the experiment.

Result

   I
 II  III
 A_Friend_In_Mead AG Extract
Kit
 Bog_Myrtle Extract AG Kit
 Brian_C AG
Extract Kit
 Elizabeth Extract
AG
Kit
 Halite Extract
AG
Kit
 MrsBeerNut AG
Extract
Kit
 Saruman AG
Extract
Kit
 SBillings AG
Extract
Kit
 TheBeerNut AG
Extract
Kit
 Actual Kit
Extract
AG


Analysis
None of the participants correctly identified the Kit beer. The percentage chance of not identifying the Kit beer once in nine attempts using a random selection method are 0.026012. This result is therefore significant at the the 5% interval. In other words a blindfolded hobo has a better chance of hitting the kit beer with his empty can of Tesco Premium Lager*.
 
6 of the 9 participants identified the Extract beer. The percentage chance of correctly identifying the Extract six or more times in nine attempts using random selection are 0.042422. This result is therefore significant at the the 5% interval.

None of the participants correctly identified the All-Grain beer. The percentage chance of not identifying the All-Grain beer once in nine attempts using a random selection method are 0.026012. This result is therefore significant at the the 5% interval. Think blind hobo...

Mugs Suicide PactExperimental Error / Changes to Experiment
1. The Kit beer was "hacked" by adding dry hops into primary (as were the other two). This may have affected the outcome of the experiment.
2. The brewer used hop bags for the first time for this experiment. This led to the All-Grain and Extract beers being under-hopped.
3. The brewer has far more experience making Kit beers than Extract or All-Grain. This may have affected the quality of those two beers.
4. More Mugs should be tested to ensure a fair sample size was achieved / sufficient Mugs were embarrassed

Conclusion
H1) The Kit beer will score worst: PROVEN FALSE. The Kit beer scored best in show as voted by Mugs.
H2) A Kit beer should be easy to identify: NOT PROVEN. This may be because the kits do not oxidise, or because this Kit was fresh (and didn't have time to oxidise). Further experimentation is required with a Kit that has been sufficiently aged.
H3) Extract and All-Grain are more difficult to differentiate: PROVEN FALSE. A statistically significant proportion correctly identified the Extract, while no-one identified the All-Grain.
H4) Beards help: PROVEN TRUE. 50% of the bearded population spotted the Kit**, which is a lot better than the non-bearded average!

Overall, it was deemed a striking success because:
a) we all had a few beers and a nice chat
b) Leinster won the rugby
3) it gave us some good ideas for more experiments
- we got to drink more beer while discussing this
- getting to talk about beer and drink it at the same time is great
F) it dispelled some preconceptions about whether or not kit beer was bad, and created some preconceptions about how bad I am at making all-grain
9) beer is the real winner
I) love you guys! 

Summary
Random selection has been proven to be better at identifying Kit beer than Mugs at the 95% significance level.

Application
This results of this experiment can be used to:
1) endlessly trash-talk all the Mugs who took the test. They can't tell the difference between a Kit and All-Grain beer. In the immortal words of Nelson from The Simpsons, "Ha-ha".
2) endlessly trash-talk the brewer who made All-Grain beer so badly that it was impossible to tell it from Kit beer. See quote (above) from Nelson.
3) take this opportunity to organise a rematch with myself producing the kit beer, TBN producing the extract and SBillings producing the all-grain.
4) give us all something to talk about while enjoying a beer ('cos that's in short supply).


Footnotes
* He's a classy hobo
** Admittedly, the only one who spotted the kit was the brewer

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