How to Review a Beer
Have Some Respect for those who Brewed Your Beer
Remember that when you write your review, it may be read by the very brewer who made the beer you are reviewing. Be constructive and respectful.
Form Your Own Opinion
Don’t be influenced by other people or reviews of the same beer on other websites.
If you know you don’t like a certain style of beers, it is best not to review this style of beer as you come to the table with a bias. Before you review the beer, do your best to understand the style of beer you are about to talk about.
Taste & Smell
Did you know that most of what you taste actually is perceived by your sense of smell? Don’t review a beer if you have a cold or other nasal related illnesses. Wait to light up that doobie, cigar or cigarette until after you are finished reviewing your beer.
What To Look For While Reviewing a Beer
Taken right from the Beer Advocate – How to Review a Beer article.
Appearance – Note the beer’s color, carbonation, head and its retention. Is it clear or cloudy? Does it look lackluster and dull or alive and inviting?
Smell - Bring the beer to your nose. Note the beer’s aromatic qualities. Malts: 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.
Taste – Take a deep sip of the beer. Note any flavors, or interpretations of flavors, that you might discover. The descriptions will be similar to what you smell. 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?
Mouthfeel – Take another sip and let it wander. Note how the beer feels on the palate and its body. Light, heavy, chewy, thin / watery, smooth or coarse? Was the beer flat, over-carbonated?
Drinkability – The beer’s overall ease of consumption and your overall impression of the beer. Would you have another?
Don’t store/drink your beer so cold. When a beer is super cold, you can’t actually taste it. Try tasting your beer when it is anywhere from 40 to 60 degrees F.
Make sure your glass is clean, not dusty and free of any soap residue. It makes all the difference – seriously. Also, do your best to serve your beer in the correct glass. Every style of beer has a corresponding type of glass which will enhance your experience while reviewing the beer.
See glassware section in Beer Basics
Keep Your Palette Clean
Don’t go from one beer to another without wetting your whistle or refreshing your palette with some popcorn (not microwave popcorn), a cracker, small piece of bread or glass of water.
This may be the beer nerd-looking task while reviewing a beer but how else are you going to remember all the nuances of so many fine ales and lagers? Don’t expect to remember what you though of that beer the next day or even that same day – write down your thoughts for later use.
Beer Review Dont’s
Don’t eat greasy food while reviewing a beer – it ruins your palette’s ability to taste.
Don’t review a beer you don’t like – you cannot be impartial if you are biased by your own taste or opinion about what you think you don’t like about a particular style of beer.
Don’t review a beer at a beer fest – you are not giving the beer a partial chance when you taste one beer right after another. A beer review should take time and you need more than a sampler size.
Don’t review a beer if you are half in the bag – you are doing a disservice to the brewer and the readers of your review if you are not “all there”. Again, a beer review should be open minded and if you are more than a little buzzed, your palette is not 100% operational.