What's the best sequence when tasting mixed styles?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Mendota, Feb 1, 2017.

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  1. Mendota

    Mendota Initiate (0) Nov 18, 2016 Virginia

    Yo fellow beer fans! I'm sure this subject has been broached before, but as a newbie I couldn't find a thread after an exhaustive research (2min.). To those here that have probably forgotten more than I will know about beers: If I buy a mix six of new to me beers, say a couple IPA's a stout and a pils and intend on trying more than one style, what's my order to appreciate the quality of each?
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  2. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (4,224) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    I try to work simple to complex and light to dark. It can get a lot more involved than that, but those are the two dynamics I usually try and uphold.

    Pils - IPA - Light Stout - Double IPA - Heavy Stout
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  3. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Poo-Bah (1,889) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I'll start heavy and go light or I'll do polar opposites. After a huge roastyness stoat, it brings different things out of an ipa afterwards. I don't have huge sessions anymore but I'll drink stouts first, then ipas. It makes the ipas pop more and feel cleaner after all that sweet roast.
  4. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    ABV a lot of the times is a great indicator of a beers residual sweetness. For my palate, the tongue seems to get coated quite quickly. I tend to follow lowest to highest ABV to a tee 80% of the time
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  5. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Initiate (0) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    hardest to get to easies to get.
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  6. readyski

    readyski Aspirant (270) Jun 4, 2005 California

    I find that a sour can be 'inserted' anywhere in the sequence without any problems
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  7. skleice

    skleice Aspirant (277) Aug 6, 2015 Connecticut

    I also tend to work light to dark or start low ABV and work to higher. I will add that a nice sour is a great way to break up the heavy stuff too.
  8. jcos

    jcos Initiate (0) Nov 23, 2009 Maryland

    If you are too buzzed to appreciate that hard to get beer after a few, save it for another day. Many have made that mistake once or twice.
  9. Jonc

    Jonc Initiate (0) Feb 12, 2007 Missouri

    I agree. I do have a different approach to trying a beer for the first time. I only drink 2-3 beers a day max. At home I normally try just 1 new beer and I make that one my first beer. I might add that I do it on an empty stomach. I don't like the taste of whatever I had to mess with the beer.

    So after a long day of work, I sit down and try the new one. The second is most always a favorite of whatever type I want. I've made the mistake of getting too buzzed to really appreciate a new brew which means I will have to buy it again and maybe find out I spent twice on something not so nice.
  10. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat Poo-Bah (7,739) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland

    In many ways there's really no right answer.

    However, what's probably most beneficial regardless what you do is that when you start switching it up, take a break and let your palate rest (say 15 minutes) for a bit, and then start again :wink:
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  11. KingCobra686

    KingCobra686 Initiate (127) Aug 13, 2014 Connecticut

    Lots of places go by IBU. Its not foolproof, but it usually gives you a stable order in which to drink things.

    In general just drink the lighter flavor things first. If you drink a 12% BA stout and then try drinking a pilsner, you are going to miss all of the flavor in the pilsner for sure.
  12. StoutElk_92

    StoutElk_92 Poo-Bah (3,124) Oct 30, 2015 Massachusetts

    I would go from lightest and least strong to stronger and darker. In your case I would go Pils, APA, IPA, DIPA, Stout. If I didn't really care I would just drink whatever I felt like tasting and having, but if it were a "tasting" I would do lighter beers to stronger and go from pale to darker colors, like yellow to gold-amber-red-brown-dark, and lower abvs before stronger. I like to keep dark beers and sour beers for the end, as I try to avoid palate destruction. Of course it doesn't really matter, as you may like the opposite order that I do, or find some other sequence.
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  13. marquis

    marquis Champion (803) Nov 20, 2005 England

    It is normal to go from weak to strong for obvious reasons.A beer should not be shadowed because your palate has been affected by a previous one.
    Having been a beer judge I can say that it is difficult to do justice to more than three or four at the most.The danger is of judging by first impressions, many beers require a lot more than a couple of ounces to reveal their true selves.It will be fun but don't try to draw any firm conclusions.
  14. BirdsandHops

    BirdsandHops Poo-Bah (2,803) Apr 14, 2008 Oregon

    Honestly, I prefer to mix it up. Especially with sours, which I think should be the palate cleansers. Generally start off lighter, but don't do 4 or 5 IPAs, saisons, or sours in a row. Instead, go light for a couple, then maybe something heavier, then a sour/funky beer, then another hoppy beer/barrel-aged beer, another sour, etc. Sours are great palate cleansers but get kind of tiring doing one after the other. It always bothered me that the biggest, rarest stouts were saved for the end of the night when everyone was already pretty well buzzed. Those are often the beers I'm looking forward to the most and can remember the least.
  15. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (13,089) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    Are you saying that you intend to finish the six in a sitting? If so, then keep in mind that most craft is much stronger than macro - often two to three times the alcohol. With that in mind, and the number of beers, you and your tongue will not discern much after three beers. I'd suggest two or three in a sitting, and select them by color; lights together and darks together.

    Attending a beerfest provides a similar dilemma - and although you are likely to sample a lot of beers, they are typically only three or four ounces each. If you attend a beerfest, it is best to plan your attack, first trying beers that you think you'll like. Also take notes while/if you can - because after a dozen or so, many folks are drinking anything in sight, and it becomes a blur. It is best to drink three or four, then drink some water and wait a bit while your tongue recovers.
  16. Whey2Hoppy

    Whey2Hoppy Initiate (0) Mar 22, 2016 New Jersey

    I think that regardless of ABV, the palate wrecking hop bombs should always come last. I made the mistake of starting off a tasting with Carton's Boat Beer (An extremely hoppy session ale) and although it was >5% ABV, it completely wrecked my palate, and I couldn't really taste anything afterwards. I would generally go light non IPAs, dark ales like stouts/quads, and finish up with the hoppy beers.
    bbtkd likes this.
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