Beer Tasting Guidelines back to Homepage

Pouring your beer

In many taprooms, this will be done for you. But, if you buy beer to take home, these tips might help you get the full flavor out of your beer. upon opening the bottle, tip the bottle and allow the beer to pour slowly into the center of the glass, creating a little bit of foam. Then move the stream to the side of the glass and fill the glass. If the head is not forming, move the stream back to the center of the glass.


Hold your glass up to the light and check for clarity, cloudiness or color and match those up with the style of beer you are drinking. Many hefeweizens will be cloudy, while a Pilsner-style beer should be golden and clear. Ports and stouts will retain a dark color and in most cases, you should see very little light through the beer.


Leave a little room at the top of a bowl-shaped beer glass in order to swish the beer around and create more aroma. Whichever way you aerate the beer, you’ll want to have some room to stick your nose down in there and give it a good smell. Look for beer smells like malt, yeast, alcohol and hops. You can also note floral smells as well as resiny and bready smells as well. Many styles have a unique and signature smell.


After completing the steps listed above, taste the beer by taking a small mouthful and breathing in slightly as you taste the beer. This will open up all your senses and let you get a complete picture of what you are tasting. In the proper glass, the beer should hit your tongue denoting bitter and sweet flavors on the parts of your mouth that can discern those tastes. Take a second taste and swish the beer around in your mouth slightly to move the beer across all your flavor sensing areas.

Mouth feel

By tasting beer, you should be able to determine the mouth feel. Some beers have a heavy, almost oily mouth feel to them, while other beers are light and dry and offer very little by way of mouth feel. Becoming familiar with beer styles will help you determine what type of mouth feel is common with each style.


Some beers finish with a sweet, pleasant aftertaste, while other beers finish bitter and even dry. When you taste your beer and swallow it, ask yourself what it leaves behind? What’s the last thing you taste? With a sweeter finish, you’ll end up with a sharper leftover taste impression in the front of your mouth, while with a bitter beer, you’ll taste it more in the back of the mouth. With a dry finish, it will leave very little in the way of taste residue, especially overly sweet tastes. Dry usually denotes the absence of sweet.

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