A brief explanation of what my tasting notes mean and how I create them.
One of the biggest changes with the relaunch of Malted Musings has been the use of Instagram and Facebook for my tasting notes. As I’ve been posting them, though, I realize that many may not know 100% what I mean by “tasting notes,” or what each section of the notes are! In light of that, let’s take a deeper look into my method.
First, a quick note.
The tasting notes are not reviews! I can’t stress this enough. Although I do have personal preferences, I always try to make my tasting notes as unbiased as possible. I want to give you the main points of the flavor profile that I detect, and then it’s up to you to decide if that’s the sort of thing you’d like! There are a ton of places to go for reviews, the philosophy behind Malted Musings, though, is to educate.
Now, onto what each note means!
I post a new Tasting Note every Thursday, and I try to keep it as succinct as possible. Every note will always have four key factors: appearance (👁), smell/scent(👃), taste (👅), and mouthfeel (👄). Let’s break down each quick!
First, appearance (👁); what does the pour look like? I mostly focus here on the density of the body and head, color, tone, carbonation, and legs.
Next, smell (👃): what are the main notes on the nose? To get a good whiff, I kind of swirl the beer a bit, and inhale deeply, leaving my mouth slightly open. Here I’m looking for any forward notes and any fragrances that linger or sneak up.
Onto taste (👅)! I take a good swig and detect what the initial flavoring is, how balanced the flavor is, what main notes linger on the after taste, and what the stand out notes are overall.
Let me pause on balance quick. I consider a taste balanced if (after the sip), my mouth feels somewhat neutral with only a warm or mild lingering of flavoring. A beer is unbalanced if there are spikes of any flavor (or bitter, sour, etc) that are allowed to cling to my mouth immovably, tarnishing the palette for future sips.
This brings me to mouthfeel (👄, an oft-mocked tasting note!). The mouthfeel is how the liquid interacts with the senses in my mouth. I look specifically for balance, the weight of the drink, and what sort of sensation is left behind after the sip.
Wrapping it up . . .
At the end of the day, all four of these factors are what I (and most critics & tasters) use to explain the profile of a beer or any liquid sampled. Hopefully, this clears up my process a bit! If you ever have questions or disagreements about a Tasting Profile, then leave a comment; I love chatting about the merits of what I drink and am ok to expand my taste horizon!