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Beer Basics

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Tasting Beer: Appearance

Evaluating the poured beer's appearance is the first opportunity to assess its quality. We enjoy food and beer, with our eyes before our taste buds.

After the pour, raise the glass and note the beer's color, clarity, and head retention. The color should be appealing and appetizing. The clarity should be appropriate for the style, with darker beers obviously expected to be opaque. Small rising bubbles inside the beer are evidence of carbonation, while the foamy head is a clue to the fullness of body that can be expected.

Note: Homebrewers should inspect the appearance of the first beer of a new batch for potential signs of trouble, such as visible, unexpected particulate.

Tasting Beer: Appearance