- Much has been written about wine tasting, and that technique
and vocabulary apply quite nicely to beer, as well. Of course, beer is a more complex
beverage and its evaluation covers some additional ground, but the concepts are the same.
The biggest change most drinkers must undergo is warming up their beer. Ice cold beer
numbs the taste buds and doesn't allow the beer to develop its full flavor potential. In
general, pale beer is best served at cooler temperatures than dark beer, and lagers cooler
than ales. Start with 40-50F (5-10C) for the cooler beers and 50-60F (10-15C) for the
- Beer should be
evaluated using four senses: sight, smell, taste, feel. Always drink beer from a clear
glass to fully appreciate it. Look at it and note the color and clarity. Hold it up to a
light if necessary. Take a good sniff from the glass to get the aroma or bouquet. Taste
it, swishing it around in your mouth, and notice its body and flavors. After swallowing,
notice any aftertaste or finish.
- You should be noticing things like:
- Was it golden, amber, black?
- Clear or cloudy?
- Did it smell sweet, malty, flowery, alcoholic?
- Did it taste bitter, sweet, tart, smooth, roasty?
- Did it feel "thick" or "thin" as you
swished it around?
- Did it leave a buttery taste, nutty, fruity?
- With additional experience and some reading you will begin to
develop not only a sense of what you enjoy, but what marks a truly good beer from a bland
or mediocre one.
- Also, it is usually a good idea to try a beer more than once.
Get it from different sources, try it when your in a different mood or setting, wait for a
full moon, whatever. Many factors will affect your overall perception, so be flexible. Be
aware, as well, that tasting many beers at once is not a good idea. The taste buds begin
to tire and send confusing impressions.
Borrowed from the faq in the newsgroup: rec.food.drink.beer.
written by John A. Lock.
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