The basics of beer tasting

As one of the most consumed alcoholic beverages, beer is always present at celebrations.

However, most of us are used to drinking it with no regard for its complexity. Beer tasting is a practice that will allow you to explore every aspect of any brew. The rules apply in the same order as a wine tasting: look, smell, and taste.

What to look for while beer tasting

  • Flavors and aromatics: The notes and tastes that you will find in a beer tasting are as diverse as the styles. The map of flavors can include florals, pepper, citrus, raisin, chocolate, pine, grass, toffee, banana, nuts, biscuit, coffee, cloves, tropical fruits, and so on.
  • Mouthfeel: This is the feeling you have in your mouth when you drink a beer. Here you will test texture, carbonation, ABV, and temperature.
The basics of beer tasting
The basics of beer tasting

Beer tasting essentials

Choose the beer types

For your beer tasting, you have two options. The first is that you choose completely different styles so you can appreciate the variations with more intensity. Or you could pick a few of the same kind and do more rigorous analysis.

Use the correct glasses for the beer tasting

To explore the notes and textures of each beer, you should use a suitable style of beer glass. The aromas and flavors will be released more easily and you will have a powerful beer tasting experience.

Check the temperature

Every type of beer has its own serving temperature. The reason: If you drink it too cold or too hot, it will affect the carbonation and bitterness. Before you begin the tasting, just take the beer out of the fridge and let it rest for 15 minutes. Then you will get the best aromas, flavors, and textures. Lagers are best consumed at 40-45ºF, whereas ales taste better at around 50ºF.

Drink them in order

The only rule here is to start the beer tasting (See also: Beer festivals) with lighter varieties like lagers and end with the ones that have a heavier body or bolder flavors like stouts. This way, you will avoid beers overpowering each other.

Cleanse the palate in between

To taste the ingredients of each variety, you need to cleanse your palate every time you try a new beer. Just take a sip of water and swirl it around your mouth. Then spit the water out and you will be ready for the next one.

Pour it right

The way you pour the beer into the glass will determine the amount of foam you get. This is an important part of the tasting because if you do it the wrong way, you will end up with just gas. So, to get the right beer head, tilt the glass 45º and start pouring the drink. When the glass is half full, hold it straight up to pour the rest. An inch and a half of foam is enough to enjoy the brew.

Enjoy the flavor in your mouth

To intensify the mouthfeel, chew the beer in your mouth, the same way you would do with wine. That is how you will unfold the texture that comes from the frothy head and the body. And after you swallow, you will experience the flavors differently.

Beer tasting is now available in different breweries as well as at beer festivals. But if you follow these steps you can make your own event at home and enjoy every aspect of your favorite varieties.

References

Willson, E. (2020, August 20). Beer Tasting Guide: 10 Must-Know Essentials. Mass Brew Bros.
Retrieved from HERE

Vinepair staff. (n.d.). Tasting Beer in Depth: Flavors, Aromatics & Mouthfeel. Vinepair..
Retrieved from HERE