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Blinded by Science: Putting it all together!

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June 18, 2015 by fhsteinbart


ASBC updated flavor and aroma wheel as used in beer panel evaluations.

ASBC updated flavor and aroma wheel as used in beer panel evaluations.

First developed by M. C. Meilgaard, the beer flavor wheel offers all who taste beer a method for evaluating beers using standard descriptors while allowing the flavors and aromas to be organized in a logical way. ASBC descriptor words are arranged in three tiers; the center circle allows you to classify the terms as they relate to odor and taste. You start with the aroma and determine which term best describes the first smell you experience. Is it aromatic and fragrant, for example? Then move on to the next level which contains common descriptive terms that allow you to expand on your initial reaction. For example, is fruity the most appropriate term, or is floral or hoppy more accurate? The third tier makes it possible for you to pinpoint the flavor more specifically.

One of the very best books ever written about understanding, and appreciating beer styles, their flavors, and aromas.

One of the very best books ever written about understanding, and appreciating beer styles, their flavors, and aromas.

If you have decided that the aroma is initially fruity, then you might also be able to specify whether it is more apple-like, banana-like, or both. You can then move on to secondary aromas or work on the tastes. This tool will enable your ability to identify and remember beer flavors and aromas. As a result, you will be able to enjoy and appreciate more the wonderful world of beers, their flavors, and aromas. One of the best ways to do this is to take the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) examination at your local homebrewers club. Often members get a discount on the class and the examination. Also, Gregg Smith’s book “The Beer Enthusiast’s Guide“, from Storey Publishing is an excellent resource for those on a budget, or are more self reliant. At any rate, go smell and taste your beer, look for those characteristics you enjoy and try to understand how that impacts the initial presentation of the beer and how it affects the finish.

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