Terms Used When Judging Beer

Here are some terms used when tasting beer and judging different styles.

*Acetaldehyde… Produced by yeast during fermentation or can come from the oxidation of ethyl alcohol. Gives the aroma of green apples.

*Acetic… Aromas and flavors much like vinegar. Most likely caused by contaminating microorganisms, especially Acetobacter

*Alcohol… A product of fermentation

*Astringent… A puckering mouthfeel. This is sometimes confused with bitterness, but is usually caused by oversparging grains

*Diacetyl… A buttery butterscotch aroma and flavor. Most commonly caused by early separation from yeast

*DMS… A cooked corn aroma, possibly caused by lack of a vigorous boil

*Estery… Fruity aroma. Ester production is increased with higher fermentation temperatures, higher original gravities and inadequate aeration

*Fusel Oils… Solvent like aromas some what like acetone. It is increased in high temperature and high-gravity fermentations

*Grassy… A grass like aroma. Often happens from dry hopping

*Hoppy… Bitterness, flavor and aroma of hops

*Malty… Husk derived, melanoidin rich flavor from malted grains. Malty is not synonymous with sweet.

*Oxidized… Produces cardboard like aromas. May cause a sherry like flavor in strong beers. Most common cause is exposure to air after fermentation

*Phenolic… A variety of aromas and flavors including smoky, plastic or clove like.

*Sour… Tart aroma and flavor much like lemons and vinegar. Usually a result of contamination

*Spicy… Use of actual spices including hops. Also some yeast can impart a spicy flavor

*Sweet… Flavor of simple sugars such as glucose, sucrose or fructose

*4-Vinyl-Guaiacol… The prominent yeast character in German wheat beets

*Worty… Has the flavor of wort, the sugar maltose. Most often caused by incomplete fermentation

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