How To Describe Beer Like a Pro
This article is a quick and easy reference to the words you need for describing beer to your friends. Now you’ll never be at a loss for words and always be part of the beer discussion.
By Shira Kogut on Jan. 25, 2017
At a loss for words when discussing beers you’ve had to your friends? We’ll make it quick and easy, so you can get back to the things you love: beer and your friends.
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.
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…
This often relates to the carbonation of a beer. If it feels bubbly or effervescent you can describe it as crisp or fresh.
Dryness refers to the lack of sweetness in a beer.
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.
This is not sweet like great (although they could be great too!), but sweet like caramel or chocolate. This sweetness is caused by the malts used to brew the 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.
Ways to Practice
- Read reviews of beers and see how they describe the beers.
- Read the sides of the beer before you drink it. The description can help you learn what flavours or sensations you should try to feel out.
- 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 at Just Beer University
- And most important TASTE, TASTE and TASTE AWAY!
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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.