Much like wine, beer comes in different styles. Each label placed upon a beer describes its character and origin. Most beers are categorized into two styles, ale or larger. Each style is broken down into regions, such as American or European.
When drinking a beer, especially a crafted one, it doesn’t do to merely take a glug and swallow. Much like wine, doing a proper taste test can aid in sampling all that the beer has to offer. Tasting is a craft you can come to developing in your own individual style but there are a few steps that can get you going.
Steps to Test
- Look- Take a moment to appreciate how the beer looks before you take a sip. Describe the color, head, and consistency of the beer even if it is only to yourself.
- Swirl- Gently swirl your beer in the glass. This action pulls out the aromas, subtle nuances, loosen and stimulate carbonation.
- Smell- After swirling you beer, take two quick sniffs through your nose. Then do so again with your mouth open and then only with your mouth. 90-95% of what you experience will come from your sense of smell. By sniffing after agitating, you can get a better sense of the bouquet of the beer.
- Taste- After all of these steps comes the actual tasting part. Take a sip of beer but do not swallow immediately. Note the consistency of the liquid’s body and breathe out during the tasting. This is called “retro-olfaction”, it releases stimulations at the mouthfeel level. Also try to detect any sweetness, salt, acids, and bitterness in the beer. Try to explain what they are and what they are similar to.
Proper Glassware for Beer
While some beer drinkers may think that beer glassware is more marketing than necessary. This is a common misconception since a glass can make a difference in how one samples their beverage. Keep in mind that when a beer is transferred into a glass the color, aroma, and taste is altered. In the right glass, subtle nuances are more pronounced and you are able to see the true color of the beer. Studies have shown that the proper glass will affect the development and retention of the head. Having a good head on a beer is important because it acts as a net for the volatile of the beer. Volatiles being compounds that evaporate from beer to create its smell such as hops, fermentation, spices, and other additions.
Which Glassware to Use?
There are at least ten different types of glasses to choose from and they are:
- Flute- This glass is mainly used for larger beer and releases volatiles quickly for an intense aroma.
- Goblet- Also known as a chalice, this glass is designed to maintain head
- Mug- Other names for a mug is a seidel or stein and comes in many sizes and shapes. Ale is the beer typically poured into a stein and its benefits is it is easy to drink from and holds a large volume of beer.
- Pilsner- The pilsner glass’ tall and tapered shape showcases the color, clarity, and carbonation of a beer while promoting head retention and enhances volatiles.
- Pint- A pint glass is the standard glass found in most bars because it is cheap, easy to drink out of and to store.
- Snifter- Mainly used to brandy and cognac, a snifter tapered mouths are great for capturing the aromas of strong ales. They are also perfect for swirling and agitating to capture those volatiles.
- Stange- The tall, slender stange is best for delicate beers and amplifying malt and hop nuances. A Tom Collins glass is a great substitute.
- Tulip- Great for ales and IPAs, a tulip glass captures and enhances volatiles while supports foamy heads.
- Weizen- Great for weizenber (wheat beer), this glass is perfect for volume and head while enhancing the banana-like quality found in wheat beer.
- Oversized wine glass- It is becoming a popular practice to serve Belgian Ales in a 22 oz. wine glass. It allows for headspace while the open bowl creates a great nose.
It is recommended by many breweries that beer should be stored in an upright position, whether or not they are sealed with a cap or cork. This will prevent oxidation and a yeast ring from forming within the bottle that cannot be removed.
It should never be in direct contact with light or heat as they can ruin your batch of beer. Beer should be stored in a cool, dry place. Strong beers like dark ales, tripels, and barley wines do best in room temperature. Standards ales such as bitters, IPAs, and stouts are best at cellar temperature. Lighter beers like lagers, pilsners, and wheat beers are best at refrigerated temperatures.
Beer Cooler Online
At Kings Bottle, we understand that one key component of enjoying a beer is that it be at the right temperature. We sell the coolers that protects your beer from the light and heat so you will always have the perfect beer within reach. Check out our coolers online.