How To Taste Beer

Everyone can learn how to taste beer. You will need:

A large wine glass

A plastic spoon

A white piece of paper or napkin

Your chosen beer

All 5 of your senses

Remember, we are not judging the beer, this is simply to determine how the beer looks, smells, feels and tastes in order to create an overall impression, nothing more and nothing less.

Open your beer & pour.

Appearance Hold your wine glass up to the light in front of your white piece of paper/napkin & look for the colour, clarity, foam and carbonation of your beer.

The Foam Grab your plastic spoon (metal spoons give you a distorted effect) and taste some of the foam. You will taste quite an intense bitter/dry flavour: this is different for each one & is the best way to taste the hops in your beer. Now have a sip through the foam & you will discover both the sweet & the bitter flavours, which now are better balanced. See why beer should be served with a head, even if it is small one?

Aroma Now put your nose in the glass (not an easy feat for a Squirrel) & sniff up all the smells of the beer. To make it easier, put your hand on top of your glass to close it off & swirl it around whilst bringing it up to your nose, then release all the aromatics by lifting up your hand. Between 60 to 80% of your taste is determined by your nose, so try to identify what you can smell. Even if you think the beer smells likes sweaty socks, it could still taste great!

Texture Take a sip of your beer (finally) and let it roll over your tongue before swallowing it. This is not yet about the taste or the flavour but about feeling the strength, body and texture of the beer.

Palate Now we come to the finale. We take another sip whilst sucking in air, or in other words, we slurp our beer. The more noise you make the better (I don’t care what Mamma Squirrel says). Try to identify the taste of the beer eg. sweet, bitter, sour, spicy or fruit (salt is rarely present in the taste of the beer). This is not about right or wrong but about what you personally can taste – never be afraid to say what that may be, however strange it might sound. Work out a taste story: what can you taste first, second & then what can you taste at the finish? Now try to translate this into flavour. See if you can identify the taste of the beer in relation to things you have stored in your flavour memory bank. If it makes sense to you, then it works & those references will help you to appreciate the beer.

Now on to the next beer. Remember, there’s no need to spit!

 

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