Beginner's guide for beer tasting
Appearance of the beer
Aroma of the beer
Taste of the beer
When getting to the actual tasting part, don’t be too shy. Beer is meant to be consumed in large swallows, so take a good mouthful, but don’t swallow it instantly. You should focus on different parts of the taste; initial, mouth feel and finish, which can be really different from each other. Initial is the first impression, the feel of the carbonation and sweetness of the beer, and the first bite of hops. Mouthful, or the mid-taste, is often described by the presence of features related to malts and hops. Is the beer sweet or dry, do the malts dominate the taste? Or is it bitter, and can you taste the nuances brought by hops? Also, you can describe the flavors that you can recognize – some fruit maybe, or overall juiciness, citrus fruits or maybe coffee, chocolate? These vary a lot between different beers and styles of course, but there are some typical flavors for each beer style. You could also analyze the viscosity of the beer, is it thick or thin, and the balance between malts and hops. Finish is the aftertaste you’ll have left after swallowing the beer; long lasting or quickly vanishing, bitter or malty, some specific flavor present…?
More tips for beer tasting
When tasting beer, you should pay attention to the recommended serving temperature of the beer. This can vary a lot between different beers, and temperature can really have a big effect on the taste of the beer. Beer tasting should not be done together with eating, since food can and will affect on how you experience the taste and flavors of the beer. Between each beer, it’s recommended to neutralize you palate with some water. If you taste several beers in a row, it is advisable to start from the lightest and leave the strongest beers last. Also, always use a clean glass for each beer. Furthermore – don’t try to rate too many beers at once, and keep the portions small. Otherwise, your ability to stay objective can suffer – it’s an alcohol drink after all.
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