Beverages

Beer Tasting Tips From The Experts

Hipster beer

Beer tasting doesn’t need to be a snooty procedure or complex science – here’s some simple tips to make your golden nectar sessions that much sweeter.

Gone are the days of stiff cheese and wine tastings, revive your party’s itinerary this Summer with a refreshing beer tasting.

Here are some tasting tips from the expert brewers at The South African Breweries to help you on your way.

Before exploring the various flavours on offer at the beer tasting, remember to eat up to give your stomach a good lining. Danie Odendaal, Consumer Science and Sensory Manager at SAB, suggests you finish a meal at least 30 minutes before and avoid any spicy foods. “Steer clear of heavily scented perfume, aftershave or body lotions as this can interfere with the olfactory experience of beer tasting,” Odendaal said.

When the waiter puts the glass in front of you, give the glass a close inspection. “Things to look for are colour, fizz and foam.”

After having the first sip, the ability to smell is weakened, so first take a moment to inhale the aromas. “To get a more intense smell, swirl the glass to release its aromas.”

Odendaal cautions that beer tasters should not be in a hurry. “Don’t be too tempted to swallow the liquid gold just yet. Let the beer dance on your taste buds. Key words to consider at this point are: sweet/dry and acidity, which can be determined by how sour the beer is, bitterness this flavour comes from the hops and is usually felt after swallowing.” Some beers carry hints of flavour, Castle Milk Stout for example gives off hints of toffee, butterscotch and coffee and Carling Black Label brings through flavours of banana.

What is malty?

“Malty flavours come from the malted cereal grains used in the beer-making process,” said SAB Newlands Brewer Denis da Silva. “The grains are fermented to create the CO2 and alcohol content.

Malt contributes to the colour, flavour and mouthfeel of the beer.” Malts can give the beer a sweet taste but can also make the beer darker and heavier, depending on the grain used.

What is hoppy?

Hops add bitterness to beer to balance out the sweetness. “Beers with a strong hoppy flavour come from the hops being left in the barrel for longer,” da Silva said.

More on beer (because why not):

SAB On Craft Beer, Misconceptions, And The Brewing Process

SA Wine Makers Tackling The World Of Beer

6 Amazing Beer Facts You Need To Know

The Definitive Guide To European Beers

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