Analysing Beer Flavour and Aroma
There are hundred of thousands of different beers available to buy in stores and bars throughout the world. Each one has a unique and different taste however it is obviously something that sometimes is taken for granted, so I have written this article to give you a brief guide on tasting beer, things to look for and how to go about it.
There are lots of resources out on the web for tasting wine and analysing subtle differences and complexities and beer is often overlooked, but at the same time it is arguably more difficult to analyse and critique because there is often more variation from one beer to the next, than inwine.
To begin with let take a look at the correct way to pour various different beers. There are various videos you can check out but one of the best I have come across is here.
Aroma, Appearance and Smell
So hopefully you should now know the best way to pour the drink into the glass. Two things you will be able to analyse straight away are; the colour of the beer and the smell or aroma. As we know smell is a great indicator of flavour and taste. Begin by swirling the beer in the glass. This will agitate and release some of the aroma so you can get a good idea of some of the flavours there. Take a look at the color of the beer, dark ones are often roasty and have toasted or coffee like flavours while lighter beers are often cleaner and have a sharp finish.
So take a sip of beer and hold it in your mouth. As you are probably aware there are different taste receptors on the tongue and by allowing the beer to pass over the tongue you will experience more of the flavours that are present in the beer.
You may also find you have different flavour characteristics for the initial taste, mid and after taste. Try to sum these up and consider whether the flavours are balanced and also if you can associate them with other flavours you know. Sometimes you may note nuttiness, caramel, biscuit or citrus flavours that are intended by the brewer.
Mouthfeel Or Body
Mouth feel may be something you haven’t come across before. The mouthfeel is used to describe the body of the beer and the texture you can pick up from it. Some beers are heavy and have more body or sometimes even cloying whereas you may taste a beer that is very light, dry and crisp.
Also the amount of carbonation in the beer will effect the flavour as well as the mouthfeel. Sometimes if a beer is heavily carbonated it can be harsh but the carbonation will aid the amount of flavour you can detect. Under carbonated beer can seem one dimensional and flat.
One of the hardest things about tasting beer is to try and describe the taste of it to someone else. This is why you have to associate other flavours to the beer. Try tasting beer and identifying these flavours. Common examples to use are different fruits or spices, floral notes and savoury flavours. Next time you have a beer give some of these things some thought and above all enjoy tasting your beers.