Blind Tasting 101
If you are familiar with the Certified Cicerone Exam, it includes a tasting portion. During this portion, you are served a sample of beer and given the choice of two different styles. You are then asked to select the correct style.
In this six-pack, I’ve taken six different stylistically classical beers and wrapped their labels, so you can try your hand at identifying beer styles based on their appearances, aromas, and flavors.
A few notes on tasting beer:
I prefer to taste beer out of a tapered glass, as this concentrates the aromatics. Hold the beer up against a white sheet of paper to get a sense of its color and then up to the light to judge its opacity.
When assessing aroma, it is generally recommended swirl the beer in your glass, then take two quick sniffs, followed by one long inhale with your mouth open.
When sipping beer, take your time between your first sip and your last. Allow the beer to gradually warm to room temperature, sipping along the way. It is remarkable how much a beer’s flavor can change with its temperature.
The most helpful advice I can offer you in evaluating a beer is not to base your impression on how you think the beer should taste, based on what you’ve read or been told. Everyone’s tastes are different, and it is important to determine how a beer tastes to you.
In this blog post, I’ve removed a good portion of the content that will come along with the six-pack, including a section for your own tasting notes, an answer key and the BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) style guidelines. These guidelines are the industry standard for typical style characteristics.
BJCP Style Guidelines
Round 1: Robust Porter or American Stout?
Round 2: American Pale Ale or ESB?
Round 3: Belgian Dubbel or Belgian Dark Strong?
Round 4: Munich Helles or German Pilsner?
Round 5: Saison or Belgian Witbier?
Round 6: Tripel or Belgian Blonde?