How To: Rate A Beer…

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.


33 Bottles of Beer Journal – A Review

Tasting beer (like wine) can be a bit daunting when you have to review it.  How do you remember the things you smell/taste?  What was your reaction upon first tasting it?  What were the specific characteristics of the beer?  Thanks to my wonderful boyfriend, I have Scout Book’s 33 Bottles of Beer Journals.  You may wonder, “why 33?”  I never thought of it until someone said this weekend, “did they come in a 3 pack?  For 99 bottles of beer?”  *facepalm*  But I digress.

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These sell at Scout Books for $12 (for a 3 pack) which is a decent price.  They are 3.5″ W x 5″ H, which conveniently fits in a back pocket, or even a small handbag.

Below you’ll find the flavor wheel, which allows you to show how present (or not) specific characteristics are in the beer.

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Here is a larger view of where you can state the who/what/when/why/how of the beer you’re tasting.

Tasting notes

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As a novice explorer of the beer world, this has been incredibly helpful for me to remember the beers I’ve tasted.  I also love the stars rating area which helps me quantify how I really feel about the beer.  Some of the more technical aspects (OG, TG) I don’t use because they’re not important to me, but clearly a lot of thought has gone into the making of this little book.  Many thanks to the folks over at BS Brewing who designed this.  If you are at all interested in reviewing beer, I’d highly recommend this product.  I really love it and look forward to filling out more books as my education continues!

Have you tried these books or something similar?  What do you think?  Would you change/add anything?  Let me know your thoughts!

Hello Beer Lovers…

….and others who may happen upon this site.

This site was inspired after writing this post several months ago on my personal blog.  I had the idea that sharing my beer journey and education could be a fun thing, especially for novices out there (like me!) who may be intimidated by complicated descriptions that have you thinking things like, “What?  I didn’t taste that!  Is something wrong with my palate?!”

So with that I welcome  you to Pint Sized Musings.  Brief musings on beers I like…or those I don’t!  I welcome comments and feedback and ask for your patience while I get this blog going!  Happy drinking!