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Flavors in Beer with Buzzwords

Posted by Jason Sherman on
Flavors in Beer with Buzzwords

How do you know which flavors appeal most to you?

When you identify beer by flavor, there are some buzzwords that you need to know. These typical taste identifiers include crisp, clean, fruity, tart, sour, and caramel. These words are helpful when identifying beer flavors because they are easily identifiable. The great part about picking out which flavors appeal to you, is that you just have to call upon past experiences. Do you have a sweet tooth? Love chocolate? Well then try a stout! Stout beers are known for there notes of caramel and chocolate. Do you enjoy crisp refreshing white wines? Then you would love a nice crisp lager or pilsner. Here are seven classic beer profiles that should help you pick which classic beer profile fits your personal flavor profile.

Here are 7 Classic taste profiles.

  1. Crisp & Clean - Groupings: Clean/Delicate Fruit, Malt-Accented, Brisk Hop
  1. Hop - Hoppy & Bitter - Groupings: Earthy & Dry, Malt Forward, Bold/Strong Hop, Herbal & Citrus
  1. Malt & Sweet - Groupings: Toasty & Nutty, Fruit & Toffee/Caramel
  1. Dark & Roasty - Groupings: Soft & Silky/Malty, Dark & Dry
  1. Smoke - Groupings: Subdued Smolder, Spicy & Meaty
  1. Fruit & Spice - Groupings: Bright & Yeasty, Dark
  1. Sour, Tart & Funky - Groupings: Delicate, Fruity & Vinous, Earthy

How to identify the flavor you are drinking?

When you identify beer based on flavor, you are creating a flavor profile. Flavor profiles are made up by a combination of factors. These factors are carbonation, hops, malt, water, and yeast.

However it is not just the ingredients that can impact taste, for you taste beer with all your senses. The color, aroma, and palate also impact the flavor profile. The look, smell, and feel of the beer has a huge impact on the flavor you absorb.


Color: The beer’s color is determined by the roasting of the barley. The most important thing you need to know about color is that it is trying to trick you. Your eyes assume dark beers are heavy and bitter, and that light beers are crisp and sweet. Do not judge your beer by its color, for dark beers can be sweet, and light beers can be complex.


Aroma: The aroma of a beer is determined by hops, malt, and yeast. An example of how yeast can affect aroma and taste is bottom fermenting yeast. bottom fermenting yeast have a lower alcohol tolerance. This specific yeast type allows for a lighter and maltier taste and aroma. Oher arom


Body: This has to do with the taste, and feel of the beer on the tongue and mouth. Proteins and sugars from the malt are the main determinant of the body. Brewers can change the amount of residual sugars in a beer during the fermentation process. Unlike winemakers, brewers will not stop the fermentation process early to keep the sugars. Beer taste is complex, and one does not want sugar to overpower the many different tastes a beer can offer.

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