You have bought your first beer package, but then... You are very curious about all the different beer styles, but how are you going to approach the tasting? We would like to guide you in this and have made a nice beer tasting form for you which we will email you after your order.
Below we will tell you step by step what you should pay attention to when you taste.
Tasting is personal!
Tasting and experiencing what you like is very personal. Everyone has a different experience and perception when tasting and therefore also a different reaction. This depends a lot on what you are used to eating or drinking. Are you open to new flavors and scents? Then you are prepared to also taste things that you might not normally take or that you have never thought of before.
Sweet, sour, salty, bitter and Umami: the basic flavors.
As a child you especially like sweets. This is a natural property. As we grow up, we develop our taste buds and start liking other flavors as well. People who have not worked much on their development of the taste buds and therefore have not experienced many other flavors often only like sweet products. However, by opening yourself up to new taste experiences, you will gradually discover and appreciate bitter and sour. Sometimes you have to taste certain sour or bitter products a few times before you start to like them. You have to get your taste buds used to it, as it were.
Sour is a taste that we encounter in nature in abundance. Almost all fruit is sour. We often don't think about that when we eat an apple or a raspberry, for example. The acid is often camouflaged by the sugar that is naturally in the fruit. As a result, we do not immediately notice that fruit is sour. Also, most products that contain berries and other fruits are provided with extra sugar to camouflage those sour flavors even more. For example, people in Scandinavia are used to sour flavors because they eat a lot of berries from the forests there and they have trained their taste buds well. If you start to discover the sour flavors, you will discover after a certain moment that you will appreciate those flavors more and more. With acidic elements we can make very nice flavor combinations such as raspberries and chocolate.
Salt is a taste we all know from the kitchen. Our modern society always adds salt to cooking. Salt is also sometimes added to beer, just think of the “Gose” beer style from Germany.
Bitter is a taste that we naturally don't like. The bitter taste in nature is common in plants, some berries or other fruits that are poisonous. So the aversion to a bitter taste is a protection for us to avoid such products. However, the craft beer revolution changed this. Because craft brewers started to add more and more hops in their IPAs, we started to appreciate the bitter taste more and more. Many people still remember the first beer they tasted and usually they didn't like it because it tasted bitter. After some practice we find that bitter taste more and more delicious and some people take it very far. We affectionately call them the “Hopheads” of beer drinkers. A beer cannot be bitter enough for them. For those unfamiliar with beer brewing, the hops added at the beginning of the cooking process give the beer its bitter taste.
The umami taste is unknown to many people. This is a flavor that was only discovered much later. Umami comes from Japanese and means deliciousness or delicious taste. It is difficult to describe, but it is a kind of basic taste that you mainly find in tomatoes and mushrooms. There are very few beers with an umami taste. The Flying Dutchman has brewed a seasonal beer: Mushroom Picking Ass Kicking Matsutake Ale, brewed with two types of mushrooms: Chanterelle and Matsutake. This beer goes very well with mushroom dishes.
temperature of the beer.
When tasting the beer, it is important that you cool the beer at the right temperature. This is very dependent on the beer style. A short guideline:
IPAs: 6 degrees Celsius
Saison: 6 degrees Celsius
Sours: 6 degrees Celsius
Sour Porters: 10 degrees Celsius
Porters and Stouts: 12 – 14 degrees Celsius
Dark porters and stouts give more aromas when the beers are warmer. If you drink these beers too cold, many taste sensations remain hidden. In general you can say: the colder the temperature, the less you taste. This is also a reason that lager is often tapped between 4 – 6 degrees. We know that at that temperature you taste little and people drink more as a result.
Clean glasses and pour correctly:
It is very important to have clean glasses when tasting. Prevent grease in the glass but also outside on the rim by, for example, lipstick. Fat has a strong negative influence on the foam head of the beer. Soap residue left behind in the glass also makes the foam head collapse quickly. These are factors that you can control yourself by cleaning and rinsing the glass well.
Pour in the beer well to obtain a nice foam head. Not every beer is poured in the same way. A general tip is to tilt the glass at a 65-degree angle. Pour the beer very carefully into the glass and watch the foam develop. Build up the foam head slowly by removing the bottle a little higher from the glass so that you get more distance.
Now we can start looking, smelling, tasting and possibly assessing the beer.
The most important thing in professionally tasting and assessing a beer is that you judge it according to the style in which that beer was brewed. If you evaluate an IPA, for example, you cannot say that this beer is too bitter for you, because the bitterness is precisely a characteristic of an IPA. Too bitter is therefore your personal taste preference, because you do not like bitter. If you're just tasting for pleasure, you can safely say that an IPA is too bitter, you're discovering what you personally like.
We have listed everything for you in the sample form that you will receive by e-mail after your order. You can fill out this form for each beer and follow with the score which has become your favorite.
I hope you enjoy discovering and tasting!