Knowing how to taste beer would help you evaluate a beer's taste and flavor and would enable you as well to know what to look for in a beer.
In pouring beer, gently pour it at the side of the glass to minimize the foam. You can judge your speed at pouring based on the head formation. Target two finger heads. For beers that have sediments of yeast visible at the bottom of the bottle that is meant to be drunk with the beer, stop pouring and leave a small amount of beer on the bottle. Swirl the remaining amount of beer before pouring it to lift the yeast.
Observe the appearance of the heads on whether they are thin or dense. Note the head's color which can be white when pilsen and on certain stouts and porters light to medium brown. Examine the beer against the light and note whether it is clear or cloudy in appearance.
Smell the beer on whether it primarily smells of malt or hops. In general, it will smell like hops when it comes to light colored beer and darker colored beer will smell like malt, coffee or roasted chocolate. Ales have a spiciness or fruity flavor smell from the yeasts. Take a few good whiffs or smell of the beer before making your first sip.
During the first sip and as the beer enters your mouth, think about the first sensation that you will feel. You may find it sweet or bitter and the taste can somewhat be complex as you will note a difference of taste between the first and the finish.
Sense the texture of the beer inside your mouth. It can feel dry, thick and chewy or fizzy and thin. A very important characteristic of beer would be its texture.
For the finish, think about the lingering flavors of the beer inside your mouth. It could be bitter as a result of the hops or sweet from the malt.
Varying beers have different styles. It can be different as to whether the yeast should be poured with the beer or left in the bottle or other issues like whether the beer should be cloudy or clear. A few tips would be not to taste new beer with food or right after eating as the flavors of the food can affect your impression on the beer. Drink water to cleanse your palate. Cheese and crackers are good to pair with beer but you have to bear in mind that these can also affect the beer's taste and flavor in your mouth. When tasting a number of beers it is ideal to start with the light colored ones then on to the darker ones.
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