Of all the beer drinkers in the world, there are very few who probably care to really sit down and review/rate a beer. They either like it or they don’t. But for those of us that are really interested in delving deeper into beer itself, there is an official way most beer reviewers rate beer.
What’s that, you may ask? That acronym stands for the following:
While I generally don’t write my reviews out this way, they are definitely things I consider when rating a beer and so I wanted to educate you, dear reader, on what all of this means. Maybe it’ll have you thinking a bit more about the beer you’re drinking next time you’re in your local tavern.
So let’s start with appearance.
Appearance should be straight forward. What does it look like? Light? Dark? Is it cloudy? Carbonated? Everything that has to do with the look of the beer should be noted.
I notice quite a few wine drinkers taking time to smell the wine, but rarely do I see beer drinkers take the time to smell before drinking. So make sure you pause to smell: do you smell the hops? Or the yeast? What about underlying smells such as caramel or cocoa? Does it have a floral aroma? There are so many things that can be noted just by taking time to smell the beer.
Now we come to it – actually drinking the beer! What flavors do you taste? They may be similar to what you smell but make sure you take the time to roll it over your tongue as different areas of your tongue pick up different flavors (sweet, sour, salty, bitter). Is the beer balanced? Does it match the style it is categorized as (ie If “Smoked”is in the name of the beer, do you actually get a smoky flavor?)
This was probably the hardest for me to recognize at first as texture (or mouthfeel) isn’t something I usually associate with liquid. But for me it is recognizing how it feels on the palate. Light or heavy? Smooth or rough? Flat or carbonated? Take the time to really feel the beer before you swallow.
This is probably the most subjective aspect of rating beers. In a few words, would you drink this beer again? Is it something that you could consume pint after pint of, or should it be consumed in small quantities? Or not at all?
I think the most important part of rating or reviewing a beer is to not be influenced by other opinions. If you’re at a table where everyone seems to love a beer that you don’t, don’t assume you should love the beer. Everyone’s experience and palate is different. So stay true to your thoughts and don’t assume that your opinion is invalid if it’s unpopular.
I hope this has been helpful for my fellow novices out there…next time you drink a beer, think about these things I’ve talked about and see if you’re able to pick up on it. If anything, it’ll be a slightly different beer experience for you.