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Beer Basics

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Tasting Beer: Flavor

The taste of the beer should be evaluated for malt-hop balance, mouthfeel, body, and aftertaste. Tilt the glass toward your mouth, open your mouth, if not open already, and…well, you can take it from there.

Once the beer is in your mouth, note the flavors and sensations, including their intensity and complexity. Aroma will influence your first taste. Assess the balance between the malt’s sweetness against the hoppy bitterness. Remember the regions of your palate, with sweetness on the front and bitterness in the back, so that sweetness will likely be noticed first. Determine whether the beer seems thin and watery or full in your mouth.

Note the aftertaste, or the finish, of the beer that lingers on your tongue. Tingling may result from carbonation, residual bitterness, or astringency. There may be the alcoholic warmth of especially strong brews.

Tasting Beer: Flavor