Five Steps To Proper Beer Tasting

Posted on December 3rd, 2009

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To fully appreciate all a beer has to offer sometimes you need to do a little more than just drink it. Today we’re going to go over the five steps you should take to get the most out of your beer.

1. LOOK
After pouring your beer into the proper glass, observe the color and look of the beer. Hold it up to a light to get a proper read on its appearance. What colors do you notice? How well can you see through the beer? All of this doesn’t impact too much on a beer’s taste, but it does play a part in the overall experience of a beer.

2. SWIRL & SMELL
Gently swirl your beer around in the glass to agitate it and stir up some foam. Stick your nose right up to the beer and take a deep whiff. What do you smell? Is it hoppy? Sweet? What other flavors and scents are you reminded of? Although we don’t always realize it, smell plays a huge part in what we perceive as taste. Taking time to smell your beer before you drink it will ensure you’re getting as much flavor as possible when you finally taste it.

3. SIP
When you take a sip try to breathe in some air through your mouth in an almost slurping manner. Allowing the air to mix with your beer will further agitate it and ensure the flavors are at their most potent.

4. SWISH & SAVOR
Move the beer around in your mouth. How does it feel? Is it sweet and viscous or thin and watery? As with most things, chances are it’ll be some what of a mix between the two. Notice the various tastes that hit your palate- What do you notice first? What do notice after that? A good beer will not have simply one flavor, but multiple tastes and sensations that will play out in your mouth.

5. SWALLOW
Unlike wine, which can be fully taste without swallowing, beer must be gulped down to be fully appreciated. The part of the tongue best at detecting bitter flavors is at the very back. They only way to get at it is to swallow, the beer will hit the back of your tongue as it rushes down your throat.

You certainly don’t have to do all of this every time with every beer, but when you’re looking to fully appreciate and get to know a beer you might not be familiar with, following these five steps will ensure you get best possible beer experience. Next time you try it with your favorite beer let us know what your drinking by tweeting your beer and adding the ‘#mybeer’ hashtag.

  • Honestly, I've always thought that encouraging people to evaluate the appearance of their beer is kind of wrongheaded. Sure, it's part of the experience, but it's really irrelevant to taste, and most people holding their glasses up to the light wind up looking like pretentious jackasses. I won't argue with the rest; it's obviously true that a nuanced tasting has to be done with more care. But I bristle when reviewers waste time describing how a beer looks (and help me if they breathlessly go on about “lacing”).

  • I see where you're coming from, but a good looking beer is a thing of beauty.

  • I see where you're coming from, but a good looking beer is a thing of beauty.

  • Amatuer Craft Beer Lover

    Only if I were at a proper beer tasting would I hold it up to the light. I think it that it’s important to view these types of qualities, especially in a new beer, selling & knowledge aspect etc…plus this is how master brewers taste beer.