Tasting our beers
A joy to see
y just looking at beer, you find out a whole lot about the beer style:
Blond, amber, brown, white, cherry red, red-brown, etc.
Turbid or not turbid (lambic and white beer are not filtered at the end and always remain somewhat cloudy).
Fine or coarse bubbles, remains stable or goes down quickly, may or may not stick to the glass, has a distinctive colour according to the beer style.
Rising bubbles (carbonic acid gas), medium, strong or not at all sparkling
A joy to smell
Aromas are released simply by rolling the glass and inhaling deeply straightaway. Just like in wine tasting there is a specific jargon to name the different smells of beers. Even though beers may have very divergent smells, a good rule is that beer should have a natural flavour that inspires confidence. Trained beer noses thus distinguish the following three main groups in the aromas:
- Hop aroma and herbs The volatile ingredients from hops and herbs.
- Malt aroma Sweet caramel and honey-like smells.
- Yeast aroma Fruity ester aromas (apple, pear, banana), phenolic aromas (4-vinylguaiacol (VG) or smoked meat aroma) or sulphur components.
When swallowing, the warmed-up aromas rise back into the nose via the throat. It provides an additional taste sensation, mainly by characterising fine olfactory components.
A delight for the taste buds
After having watched and nosed, it is now time to taste.
The taste buds on the tongue have, so to speak, their own speciality and are particularly sensitive to bitter, sour, salt or sweet tastes depending on their location. Therefore, the complex taste of a beer can be unraveled by detecting where it prickles the tongue.
In addition there is an overall "mouth feeling " you perceive not only on the tongue but also on the palate and the cheeks. How does a beer feel in the mouth: tender, dry, "sticky", refreshing, chalk-like, sharp, etc.?
Lastly, it is imperative that the beer has a good, pleasant aftertaste and goes down smoothly. As what can be more annoying than a bad aftertaste and a sticky or sour sensation lingering in the throat?
Acidity (ph) comparison of drinks
From neutral to highly acidic
Water has a neutral taste (neither sweet nor sour). Top- and bottom-fermentation beers are slightly acidic but do not taste sour, because the acidity is offset by the sweet taste of the alcohol. Wine is more acidic but does not taste sour, due to the presence of more alcohol (approximately 10% ABV). Mixed- and spontaneous-fermentation beers are acidic, and they taste sour because the acidity is not fully offset due to the lower alcohol content (approximately 5% ABV). Cola is acidic but does not taste sour because it is highly sweetened.
For real beer lovers we can organise special beer tastings: extended tasting sessions where you can get to know the fine points of our thoroughbred beers even better.
Are you interested in taking part in a fully organised beer tasting at our brewery or at a location of your choice? Feel free to contact us.
More information can be found at www.hopsession.be