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Whenever I've had Belgians, I've tasted something metallic, especially in the aftertaste. It was especially strong in Lost Abbey's Judgment Day, a quadrupel. I thought it was something unique to me because no one knew what I was talking about, but today a friend said the same thing ("metallic", without me suggesting anything). What in the brewing process causes this taste?

In case it helps, I also taste it in Killian's Irish Red.

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    Could be many things, water, yeast, oxidation, your body chemistry, etc. Since you are tasting in Belgian beers I would wager it is the yeast being used that is imparting a metallic taste for you. – Wayne In Yak Mar 23 '15 at 0:36
  • I taste a lot of Belgian beers, and drank Killian's in the past (long time ago), but I just don't get the metallic taste. Maybe you found another person with similar palette to you? Which other Belgians taste this way? – Pepi Mar 23 '15 at 13:38
  • Actually, every Belgian I've ever had tasted this way, from Chimay to St. Bernardus—that's primarily how I identified Belgians by taste, and I thought it was "the thing" about Belgians people liked... Perhaps it is just body chemistry, like cilantro tasting like soap for some people... – Andrew Cheong Mar 24 '15 at 1:46
  • The funny thing is that Belgium makes a huge variety of beers, with different yeasts and processes. Maybe they all use similar malt and water, but I'd really expect there to be exceptions. Do any beers beside Killian's do this? Do you eat similar foods when tasting these? – Pepi Mar 26 '15 at 11:14
  • I guess I'm talking about dubbels, tripels, quadrupels, like Chimay and St. Bernardus... but come to think of it, Delirium Tremens has the metallic taste as well (I remember, because it was one of the first beers I didn't like, for that reason). You're right, it does sound odd. But I'm pretty sure if you blindfolded me and gave me a mix of tasters, I would pick out the Belgians by that metallic taste—the metallic taste might even be the characteristic that makes me think, "Oh, it's a Belgian." Maybe the characteristic Belgian taste just tastes "metallic" to my body. – Andrew Cheong Mar 26 '15 at 11:31
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Common causes for a metallic taste are dissolved metals such as iron or copper, either from the water supply or brewing equipment, or due to the oxidation of fat molecules which can bind with metals.

Personally though, I find that I can regularly taste metal in the finish of any of a variety of beers that are over-chilled. I don't recall Belgians being particularly an issue (but I love Belgians and am probably more likely to ensure they're properly temp'ed before drinking) but when served too cold, I can almost guarantee that I'm going to get a strong taste of cold steel right at the end of many brown ales, red ales, and stouts among others, and that it will generally disappear as the beer warms.

  • Interesting—I've usually had Belgians served at breweries / tasting rooms so I assume they're temped okay, but I'll note this and do some experimenting, thanks. – Andrew Cheong Mar 24 '15 at 1:47
  • @AndrewCheong It may be that it's something else in that case, and it just hasn't been my experience. – Xander Mar 24 '15 at 1:53

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