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Evaluating Beer. Terafan Greydragon University of Atlantia 2 December A.S. XXX. Why Evaluate Beer ?? . Quality control and Consistency To be able to describe beer To score and/or judge a competition To define styles To detect problems and improve your own or someone else’s beer.

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evaluating beer

Evaluating Beer

Terafan Greydragon

University of Atlantia

2 December A.S. XXX

why evaluate beer
Why Evaluate Beer ??
  • Quality control and Consistency
  • To be able to describe beer
  • To score and/or judge a competition
  • To define styles
  • To detect problems and improve your own or someone else’s beer
how to evaluate beer
“How to” evaluate beer
  • Beer can be evaluated using the flavor profile as a guide to step through the process
  • The most obvious (and the real bottom line) is the taste.
  • Before that, however, you must train all your senses to notice additional aspects that may help identify certain characteristics
flavor profile
Flavor Profile
  • Appearance (Visual examination)
  • Aroma/Bouquet (Olfactory examination)
  • Taste (In the mouth examination)
  • Overall impression (General quality)
use all six senses
Use all six senses
  • Sight
  • Hearing
  • Smell
  • Taste
  • Touch and feel
  • “Pleasure”
  • Sophisticated equipment can be used to measure, down to the last molecule, the chemical breakdown of your beer
  • Technology may augment, but cannot replace, the objective and subjective findings of a trained evaluator
  • The human senses of taste, smell, sight, hearing, and touch can be trained as effective tools to evaluate beer
  • It all starts with an understanding of what each sense can give you and how they relate to the flavor profile
  • Head space in the bottle
  • Surface deposit inside the bottle neck
  • Gushing
  • Haze
  • ‘Legs’
  • Foam stability/Head retention
  • Clarity
  • Level of carbonation
  • Specific tones for specific levels of CO2
smell aroma bouquet
Smell - (Aroma/Bouquet)
  • Volatiles/Aromatics
    • Diacetyls
    • Phenolic character
    • Esters
  • Aroma from malt, grain, and fermentation
  • Bouquet directly attributable to hops
  • Odor - (Sulfur based compounds/oxidation)
taste perception
Taste Perception

Where we perceive it...

  • Bitterness* - on the back of the tongue
  • Sweetness - on the tip
  • Sourness* - on the sides of the tongue
  • Saltiness - just to rear and sides of tip

*15-20% of Americans confuse sour and bitter


How beer affects the sensation of taste

  • Bitterness - Hops, Tannins, Malt, Minerals
  • Sweetness- Malt, Hops, Esters, Diacetyl
  • Sourness- Carbonation, Contamination
  • Saltiness - Minerals
touch and feel
Touch and Feel
  • Texture - creamy, over/under carbonated
  • Body - full bodied or thin...
  • Astringency - Dry, puckery feeling (Not really a flavor)
  • Others - Oily, menthol-like, burning, etc
  • Overall impression
  • Close your eyes- Is it memorable?
  • Would you want another one?
maximizing flavor perception
Maximizing Flavor Perception
  • Begin with lighter styles and progress to darker, more full bodied beer
  • Don’t smoke or be in a smoky room
  • Do not eat salty or greasy food while tasting
  • Do not wear lipstick or Chapstick
  • Eat french bread or saltless crackers to cleanse palate
  • Use clean glassware
evaluating beer15
Evaluating Beer
  • Appearance
    • Examine bottle for sediment
    • Pour the beer
    • Quickly sniff the beer
    • Examine the beer in the glass
  • Odor
    • Aroma (non-hop odors from raw materials)
    • Bouquet (odor from fermented elements)
    • Hop nose (hop aroma of beer)
evaluating beer cont d
Evaluating Beer - cont’d
  • Taste in the mouth
    • Take a good sip
    • Swirl and slosh around your whole mouth
    • “Swizzle” (suck in air through beer in your mouth)
    • Small sip to check 4 tastes
    • Check Astringency
    • Check after-taste or tail
  • General Quality
    • Memorableness or “come hither appeal”
the taste of beer
The ‘taste’ of beer
  • Hop quality
  • Hop intensity
  • Sweet/dry balance
  • Beer character
  • Aftertaste or tail
  • Body and Palatefullness
  • Flavor balance
  • Becoming a knowledgeable beer drinker takes practice
  • Taste, smell, feel, and look at your product during every step
  • Evaluate the beer as it ages
    • What sulfur characters come and go?
    • Which phenolic characters get worse with age?
    • How does bitterness and diacetyl rise and fall?
the most important thing in learning how to evaluate beer
The most important thing in learning how to evaluate beer....


  • Papazian, Charlie, The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing, Avon Books, New York, 1991
  • Eckhardt, Fred, Essentials of Beer Style, Fred Eckhardt Associates, Portland, OR 1989
  • Jackson, Michael, Simon & Schuster Pocket Guide to Beer, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1993
  • Papazian, Charlie, The Home Brewer’s Companion, Avon Books, New York, 1994
  • Robertson, James D. The Connoisseur’s Guide to Beer, Jameson Books, Ottowa, IL
  • Mosher, Randy, The Brewer’s Companion, Alephenalia Publications, Seattle, WA, 1995