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The Art of Beer Tasting

Not all beers are made equal, which is why tasting beer properly is key to finding your favorite beer. Below are tips on how to properly taste beer and find which beers speak to your senses.

Let It Pour

In beer tasting, the way you pour the beer from the bottle to the glass is very important. When pouring, let the beverage gently run down the side of the glass. The speed of pouring must depend on the head that is forming. There are some beers which have visible yeast at the bottom of the bottle which is meant to be consumed. In this case, stop pouring when there is only a bit of beer left on the bottle. The remaining liquid must be swirled to get the yeast before pouring the rest.

Key Aspects to Consider

In beer tasting, the beverage will be evaluated based on the several aspects:

  1. Appearance

    Shows the ‘health’ of the beer and how it matches the style it was brewed for. There are 3 things to look out for in a beer’s appearance:

    • Color

      Determined by raising the glass to the light. Beer color can range from light yellow (pilsners), to deep chocolate browns (stouts and porters) to pinks and reds (fruit flavored lambics) and almost every other color in between. Even the color of the head should be noted.

    • Carbonation

      A crucial indicator of the quality of the beer. For instance, a good all-malt beer should maintain half of its head for a minute.

    • Turbidity or Cloudiness

      This can tell the drinker if the beer is safe to drink or not. Bottle-conditioned beers are naturally cloudy. If the beer is filtered but it contains floating sediments, it is spoiled and must be thrown out.

  2. Smell

    Helps enhance the flavor of the beer. A beer tester must be careful with each sniff as one’s perception of smell is immediately dulled after just 4 sniffs. The smell of the beer is characterized by:

    • Aroma

      Determined by malt, grain and other fermentation elements. The aromas derived from malt and grain are said to be nutty and sweet. After pouring, one can smell the beer in the glass and discover if the raw ingredients of the beer are revealed by the aroma.

    • Bouquet

      Solely determined by the hops. Words generally used to describe bouquet are herbal, floral, pine, resin and spice.

    • Odor

      Term used to describe the defects in the beer, such as skunkiness from oxidation.

  3. Taste

    most important aspect for evaluating beer, though the most subjective. It is a must for beer tasters to clean their palate with water between different beers. There are three things to note in taste:

    • First Sip

      Initial sensation as beer enters the mouth: bitter, sour, sweet and salty.

    • Mouthfeel

      Texture of the beer and how it feels in the mouth.

    • Finish

      The lingering sensation after the beer has been swallowed. It can be bitter or malty sweet.

    1. Sample Tasting – Anchor Steam

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