Develop Your Beer Palate

Posted by BeerMaven | Beer, Beer Brands, Microbrew Beer, Microbrewery | Posted on December 29th

Beer is an acquired taste and because this is so, there is a massive variety of styles and sub-styles that appeal to a wide variety of beer drinkers. When you first embark on your microbrew exploration quest, you will need to discover some things for yourself. Over time, your tastes in beer may change as your palate develops, but you may not want to jump full force into an imperial stout if all you have been drinking to this point is macro brewed pilsners.

To brew any beer, a brewer follows a pretty elementary process, but it is the ingredients that the brewer uses that change the quality, taste, appearance and alcohol content of the final product. Pilsners such as Miller Genuine Draft or Coors, for example, fit into the lager category of the beer realm as a sub-style that is generally very crisp, bland and tame. This is because the yeast required to make this style of beer requires a lower temperature to ferment than the yeast that is used to make ales.

Ales are brewed at higher temperatures, using yeast that ferments on top of the beer as opposed to the lager yeast that ferments at the bottom. This results in a greater variety of flavors that can tickle the palate and brings out more of the sugars from the malt in the brewing process. Different malts and hops provide many more options to the brewer when making ales, which is why the grand majority of beer sub-styles fall under the ale distinction.

Many different types of ale exist which include brown ales, red ales, pale Ales, India pale ales, Irish ales, American ales, American pale ales, porters, wheat ales, stouts and Imperial stouts. Typically, the darker the beer— the deeper and robust the flavor is. However, darker beers also carry with them a much greater bite, which requires progressing through less aggressive beers and developing a palate before you dive right into them.

Guinness is the perfect example. I think that Guinness tastes like iced black coffee with dark chocolate notes but it leaves a very bitter kick that hits the back of my throat. Many novice beer drinkers simply are not ready for something so strong and busy, which is why Guinness gets such mixed reviews. My personal suggestion is to work your way through brown and red Ales and into the pale ale before you plunge into the world of porters, stouts and Imperial Stouts.

If you would like to develop your tastes for darker beers, you can join an ale club that specifically focuses on ales. Until then you may want to work your way into a nice microbrew that offers lagers and pilsners just to get used to new flavors before you jump in too deep.

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