The Limits of Taste

Beer Smack by | Oct 2015 | Issue #105

As it applies to tasting and reviewing beer, we’ve noticed that far too many people lack the attention span to read or write anything longer than a tweet (140 characters). They react to clickbait headlines without reading, would rather tick beers and move on, and take as fact any information that’s delivered to them immediately in blurb or list format.

It didn’t surprise us then, when we saw a rise in users who truly believe that only taste matters. Appearance, smell and other beer characteristics have been deemed irrelevant. Whether or not they want to admit it, this sort of thinking is lazy, ignorant and no doubt a byproduct of a life ruled by shortcuts and snippets.

So you think it’s only taste that matters? Have a seat; we need to revisit a few things.

Before you take that first sip, you taste with your eyes. Appearance is your first impression of a beer, and will often indicate a slew of quality issues—good and bad. The color, carbonation, head retention, lacing, clarity, cloudiness and turbidity of your beer all matter. Notice them.

Science has proven that 75 to 95 percent of what we taste is actually thanks to our sense of smell. Try holding your nose the next time you taste a beer, and then try it again without. You’ll end up tasting very little or a highly muted version of what could be. So yeah, smell matters.

Mouthfeel (and Body)
Smooth, creamy, crisp, effervescent, flat, astringent, dry, warming, thin, firm, chewy, viscous. How the beer sits and feels on the palate greatly impacts your perception, to the point that it can make or break a beer. Factor these characteristics into your overall impression, too.

Got it? Class dismissed.

Respect Beer.