Drinking beer is easy, but evaluating it as you drink requires a little more diligence. Here’s a good step-by-step process to evaluate beer like a pro:

  1. Purposely pour the beer to create at least two fingers depth of head in the glass.

    Creating a decent head also creates a fuller aromatic bouquet.

  2. Experience the beer’s aroma first because aromatics dissipate quickly.

  3. Look at the beer’s color and clarity.

    The color and clarity of beer changes from style to style, so don’t expect all beers to look the same.

  4. When tasting the beer, try to discern the various flavors of the primary ingredients — malt, hops, yeast, and so on. Note fruitiness and warmth (if any).

    In addition, pay attention to whether the beer is sweet, dry, or acidic, as well as where those flavors are experienced (foretaste, midtaste, aftertaste).

  5. Determine the body and texture of the beer.

    The body may be full, medium, or thin; texture may be watery, creamy, chewy, gassy, and so on.

  6. Reflect on the beer.

    After tasting the beer and discerning its various flavors, aromas, and textures, decide whether the various parts of the beer work harmoniously to create an enjoyable beverage.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Marty Nachel is a beer educator, an award-winning homebrewer, a BJCP Certified Beer Judge, on the panel of professional beer judges at the Great American Beer Festival, and a former beer evaluator at the Beverage Testing Institute. He is also the founder and administrator of the Ale-Conner Beer Certification Program.

Steve Ettlinger is the author of seven books, most of which are about food and food-related subjects. His most recent is Twinkie, Deconstructed.

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