Beer Terms Every Beer Lover Needs To Know: How To Describe Beer Like A Pro
A quick and easy reference to the beer terms you need to know when describing a beer. Now you’ll never be at a loss for words and always be part of the beer discussion.
By The Beer Community on Jan. 25, 2017
Are you at a loss for words when discussing beers? We’re going to make it quick and easy, so you can get back to the things you love: beer.
Beer Terms You Need to Know When Talking About Beer:
Body – How does your beer feel?
This is a description of how “heavy” or “thick” the beer feels in your mouth. Beers fall into 3 categories: Light, Medium or Full-bodied. Usually beers under 5% ABV are light, 5-7% are medium-bodied and 8% and up are usually full-bodied. For more details read more about Final Gravity.
Complexity – How Complex are the flavours of your beer?
The complexity of a beer is in its flavours and sensations. If you feel 2 or more taste sensations or flavours on your palate that means the beer is complex. Sensations can include warm, dry, bubbly, etc…
Crisp/Fresh – How carbonated is your beer?
This often relates to the carbonation of a beer. If it feels bubbly or effervescent you can describe it as crisp or fresh.
Dry – Is your beer dry or sweet?
Dryness refers to the lack of sweetness in a beer.
Hoppy/Bitter – Is your beer bitter?
The more bitter a beer is the more hops was used to brew it, so feel free to use the word hoppy to describe it. Learn more about the relationship between hops and bitterness. Beer Tip: If you are unsure if your beer is hoppy or not, the IBU number listed on the side of the can or bottle will tell you. The higher the number, the more bitter your beer will be.
Malty/Sweet – how sweet is your beer?
This sweetness of your beer is caused by the malts used to brew the beer.
Roasty/Toasty – Are their roasted flavours in your beer?
This is caused by the roasting of the grains. Different roasts cause different flavours much like those of roasting coffee beans and as a matter of fact coffee is one of the flavour profiles you might feel.
Practice Talking Like A Beer Pro a.k.a. A Cicerone:
- Read reviews of beers and see how they describe the beers.
- Read the the beer label before you drink it. The description can help you learn what flavours or sensations are present in your brew.
- Participate in tours or classes at your local brewery. Learn from the best and ask lots of questions. Come armed with questions after reading: 5 Questions Brewers Wish You’d Ask on a Brewery Tour.
- Read some articles on JustBeer University.
- And most important TASTE, TASTE and TASTE AWAY!
Now that you know how to speak like a beer professional, learn more about beer below:
Ales vs. Lagers – What’s the Difference?
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What is a Strong Ale?
Strong Ales: where they come from, their appearance, flavour & aroma, palate & mouthfeel, food pairings and serving suggestions are all explained in this Beer Styles 201 article.
A Sobering Thought
While we love beer, we always encourage drinking responsibly. These jarring stats are definitely another layer in the drink responsibly campaign and are great to keep in mind as you delve into the exciting beer world.
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