How to review beer
Posting a review on BeerBrewGuru is easy, just find the beer you want to have your say about, scroll to the bottom of the description and the post your comment… Your Done! We also encourage you to bring to our attention any fantastic beers you know about and want to share with the world, just click on the ‘contact Beer Brew Guru’ Page at the top of the site and send us an e-mail. You can also send in any great beer pubs or brew pubs you know of, or even just tell us a joke.
Why Review Beer?
Every now and then in a persons life (or, all the time in some cases) on feels the desire, the urge to get stuck into a nice tasty beer, but not just any beer, you want something special, something different, something that will blow you mind and your taste buds at the same time. Now the problem is, where and how does one go about finding and acquiring such a beer? Well, we can solve half the problem. By beer analysis, we can provide an easy to access database of peoples opinion of beer… Beer Reviews make it easier for you to find the right beer for the moment.
Respect the beer makers
Behind each beer is a real person with feelings and pride in their work. Beer might be their passion, livelihood or entire life. So even if you don’t really like their beer, it is important to be respectful of their efforts and constructive in your criticism.
Be mindfull of the beer style
When you are reviewing a beer, it is important to compare apples with apples, so to speak. comparing an IPA to a dry Irish Stout is simply unfair to both beers. So when deciding how good a beer is try to compare it to other beers in that style, perhaps even drinking a beer of the same style before or after (with a palate cleanser in-between). Also be mindful that different styles have different characteristics, so try to be open minded in your assessment; If you are reviewing an IPA it is important to note that this is a bitter style of beer, so if bitterness is something you can’t handle either, don’t review the beer as you are probably not going to like it even if it is one of the best IPAs around.
Check your senses
It is important, when reviewing a beer, that your senses are not inhibited in any way, as it is unfair to the beer if you are simply unable to notice the subtle and delicate flavours and aromas that it may contain. It is important here to note that your sense of smell is equally if not more important then your sense of taste when reviewing a beer; as most of your sense of taste is linked to your ability to smell, which is why a pleasant aroma sought after by brewers and why beer glasses are shaped to accentuate them.
Therefore it is important that you don’t have a cold or a blocked nose, that you haven’t burnt you mouth on hot food or drink, that you haven’t eaten strong flavoured or spicy foods, that you haven’t already drunk too many beers and most importantly that you haven’t smoked – before or during – smoking can seriously inhibit both your senses need for the full appreciation of beer.
These are the four main things that you should be thinking about and assessing when you try your beer:
Appearance – Note the beer’s colour and transparency, carbonation, quality of head. How well does it last and how is it’s lacing on the glass. Does it look lackluster and dull or alive and inviting? What about the bottle or glass in which it is served?
Aroma – Take a long smell, can you make out the different sources of the aromas? Malts produce: sweet, roasty, smoky, toasty, chocolaty, nutty, caramelly, biscuity. Hops: dank / resiny, herbal, perfumy, spicy, leafy, grassy, floral, piney, citrusy. Yeast will also create aromas. You might get fruity or flowery aromas (esters) from ales and very clean aromas from lagers, which will allow the malt and hop subtleties to pull through.
Flavour – Take a long sip of the beer and then wait a while, savour it. What flavours, or interpretations of flavours, do you get. The descriptions will be similar to what you smell. Try to think of the beer as a story, with a beginning, climax and an end. What hits you first? What stands out as it sits in your mouth, then slides down your throat? What flavour lingers, long after the beer has gone? Is the beer built-well? Is there a balance between the ingredients? Was the beer brewed with a specific dominance of character in mind? How does it fit the style?
Drinkability – How does it feel in your mouth? what is the beer’s overall ease of consumption and your overall impression of the beer. Would you have another, would you have six? Is it a session beer or does it go well with a certain food?
While there is nothing better on a hot day or after some hard work, then a refreshing ice cold beer, this is not actually ideal for trying to appreciate the full range of a beers flavours. When beer is chilled its flavours are muffled, for the purposes of analysis beer should be drunk at between 5-10 degrees Celsius, the higher temperatures are better for darker beers.
It is most important the you beer glassware is clean and appropriate for the beer being reviewed. Beer glasses should be hand washed with either warm water or a mild detergent and rinsed and air dried. This is to prevent foreign grease and dish washing residue from interfering with your beers head and flavours.
What not to do
Don’t review beer while drunk or in a smoky environment. Don’t review beer at a festival or sampling promotion – buy the beer as any ordinary person would acquire the beer, this way you know you are getting the same experience as everyone else. Be careful not to review beer that is past its used by date, hasn’t beer stored correctly or has gone off.
Cleanse the palate
It’s best if you can have some plain bread or biscuits in between beers. This will help remove any residual flavours from the previous beer or what you had for lunch that may interfere with the beers flavours. Avoid any strong flavoured, greasy or spicy foods while reviewing beer.
Take beer notes
While this may seem a bit excessive or nerdy, it helps you to really think about what your opinion is and recall the beer later and also expand your beer vocabulary.