Real Ale comes in a range of beer styles; although you personally may not like the taste of a particular beer, it may be a perfect example of it's style. This page may help you understand what you are experiencing when thinking about the smell, appearance and taste of your beer.
Everybody responds to taste differently, and you may detect different flavours in different intensities from your drinking buddies. Understanding your tendencies helps to produce a more balanced score for a beer. Is this a good example of this type of beer?
- Bitter (Session or Premium)
- Pale, Blond, Golden Ale (Session or Premium)
- India Pale Ale (IPA)
- Brown Ale
- Strong Mild
- Stout and Porter (Session or Strong)
- Barley Wine and Strong Ale
- Speciality (produced differently or with non-standard ingredients)
Strength: is measured "alcohol by volume" (ABV).
- Bitter, Pale, Blonde and Golden ales up to and including ABV 4.3% are "Session Ales", whilst 4.4% to 6.4% are "Premium" or "Best".
- Anything from 6.5% and above is a "Strong Ale".
- For Stout and Porters, anything up to 4.9% is "Session", 5% and above are "Strong"
- Barley Wines and Strong Ales must be at least 6.5%
- Mild is 4% and below
Clarity: Bright, Clear, Hazy or Cloudy
Note that where a beers which is deliberately un-fined by the brewer, lack of clarity need not be considered as an indication or an absence or fault.
Colour: Black, Ruby Brown, Dark Brown, Light Brown, Amber, Gold, Yellow, Straw or Other
Mouthfeel: Smooth, Creamy, Grainy, Watery or Other
Body: Thick, Average or Thin
Temperature: Usually between 11-13 degrees.
Carbonation: Fizzy, Flat or "Just Right"
Taste Profile: and this is usually the more difficult bit ...
For each of the Aroma, the Taste and the Aftertaste, you may detect:
- Malt, Roast, Caramel, Hops, Citrus, Fruit, Sulphur, Yeast or Other flavours.
- If you detected Citrus or Fruit, which citrus/fruits did you taste (e.g. orange, lemon, grapefruit, vine, dried, hedgerow)
- What other tastes were present (e.g. chocolate, coffee, spices, toffee, ginger, banana, marshmallow -- these days almost anything is possible!)
- How Bitter is the beer?
- Is it Astringent (dry) ?