A warming flavor or aroma derived from ethanol and higher alcohols. Some people think it has a salty taste.

The fragrance of a beer.

A sour characteristic in beer, which is usually caused during the brewing process by boiling grains, long mashes and oversparging.

Here is one of the biggest differences between wine and beer reviews. Where one might spit out the wine after tasting it, beer should be swallowed, unless of course it’s skunked. The bitterness of a beer is usually from hops in order to balance the sweetness of malt. Because the sensation of bitter is on the back of the tongue, is why you should swallow your beer when tasting several.

The weight of a beer; thin or full-bodied.

Bouquet – See aroma.

A buttery or butterscotch aroma or flavor often caused by a bacterial infection, a short fermentation or a high-temperature fermentation.

Degrees Plato: Is one of the more esoteric things one will find on craft beer bottles. It is a scale that measures the amount of sugar in unfermented beer. A higher number indicates more sugar. More sugar means more alcohol. Wine beers have a higher Degrees Plato

An approximate measure unit for the head on a beer. Literally one finger thick, two fingers thick, etc…

A raw grain flavor or aroma. Some graininess is acceptable in some beer styles.

The foam (froth) created when beer is poured.

A hop aroma or flavor from the essential oils of hops, which does not include hop bitterness.

IBU: International Bittering Unit is a measurement for the bitterness level of beers. The higher the IBU, the more hops a beer has. The IBU of an IPA can have as high as 100 whereas commercial lagers score not much higher than 15.

This is to beer head what “legs” is to wine. It’s the way the head sticks to the side of the glass as the beer glass gets empty and / or the head dissipates.

A skunky beer has a smell or a flavor resulting from exposure to too UV light. Some say green or clear bottles are often more vulnerable to this because their clarity causes hop oils to react to ultraviolet light. To say that beers like Corona, Heineken, Innis & Gun or Sleeman have greater chances of being skunked is debatable. The shelf life and handling of such beers often don’t allow for UV rays to “attack”

The way a beer feels on the palate, such as viscose, thin, light, soft.

See aroma.

Bacterial infection in beer can sometimes give off a combination of medicinal, vinyl, plastic, mouthwash, clove or electronic aromas or flavor in beer.

See light-struck.

SRM: Standard Reference Method is a system for measuring the different beer colors. Higher numbers indicate darker beers. Pilsners have an SRM of about 4, while the SRM for stouts is above 20.

A yeast-like flavor. This is often caused from beer sitting on yeast too long during fermentation.

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