How to Taste Beer

In honor of Austin Beer Week, we thought we’d write about the proper way to taste beer.


When analyzing a beer, there are four components – Look, Agitate, Smell, and Taste. We’ll examine the proper way to conduct each step.

Take a pause and inspect the beer. Raise the beer in front of you (but not in direct light as this will dilute its true color). Describe its color, head, and consistency.

Swirl your beer, gently in the glass. This will pull out the aromas, slight nuances, loosen and stimulate the carbonation, and test head retention.

90% of what you experience is through your sense of smell. Breathe through your nose with two quick sniffs, then one long smell. Take note of the aromas and bouquets present in the beer.

What we have all been waiting for – to taste the beer. Do not swill it down, but take a sip and resist swallowing immediately. Let is more around in your mouth, allowing your entire palette to experience the beer. Note the mouth feel and consistency of the liquid’s body. Try to detect any sweetness, salty flavors, acids or general bitterness. Also try tasting the beer after it warms up slightly. Really cold beer masks some of the flavors. As a beer warms, its true flavors will pull through and become more pronounced.

Nicole Patel

Nicole Patel is the proprietor of and chocolatier for Delysia Chocolatier. In 2006 while pregnant with her first son, Nicole made a batch of chocolate truffles as holiday gifts. To the delight of friends and family, she continued to create chocolates as a way to relieve stress from her corporate engineering job. In 2008, a chance trip to Becker Vineyards led to Nicole being the first in Texas to make truffles using local wines. Within five years, what started as a hobby turned Delysia into one of the Top Ten Chocolatiers in the Americas, as selected by the International Chocolate Salon.