Beer Review - Scoring Breakdown

APPEARANCE: This is how the beer looks after it has been poured into an appropriate glass. Look at color, clarity, and head. Color can range from the palest straw yellow to pitch black, clarity from crystal clear to deep murk, and head from effervescent fizz to dense cream. Most important is your reaction to how it looks: is it inviting you to take a sip, pour it down the drain, or something in between?

AROMA: A significant chunk of beer enjoyment can come before you take your first sip. Bring the glass up to your nose and take a sniff. What does the smell remind you of? Keep in mind there can be lots going on here: sweetness, grass, flowers, perfume, spices, musk, toast, grain, berries, toffee, citrus, and more, often with weird combinations and surprises, await you in the beer’s “nose.” Are you intrigued, put off, or something in between?

TASTE: Here’s where the aroma evolves into something more. The tongue can detect sweet, sour, and bitter flavors in beer. Often, the themes established by the aroma continue more strongly in the taste. Sometimes, however, surprises await. A beer that comes on sweetly might have a bitter bite on the back of your tongue; a beer that promises hops might be more like honey than hoppy. Does the taste trip your trigger, gag you with a spoon, or something in between?

MOUTH FEEL: Quite literally, how the beer feels while in your mouth. Mouthfeel ranges from watery to syrupy. After you take your first sip, notice how this evolves, as some beers can start fairly dense, but then evaporate away, while others coat your mouth and refuse to leave. Think in terms of “body”: light, medium, and heavy, but also in terms of dynamics: cloying, effervescent, inviting. When it comes to what your beer’s doing in your mouth, do you dig it, hate it, or something in between?

HOLISTIC: Here you can rave about the beer that, on paper anyway, you should hate, or totally bag on a beer you’re “supposed” to love. Beer drinking is as much about the “experience” as it is the chemicals. We are opinionated animals, and with this category you can let your totally biased opinion fly. Did a beer defy your expectations? Reward it! Was it a crushing disappointment? Punish it! No wrong answers here, just what did you think of this particular beer on this particular day?

Each category gets 10 points. A 5 means “OK, that’s fine.” Anything that catches your attention in a positive way warrants additional points, and anything that catches your attention in a negative way warrants deducted points. Total them up, and you’ve got a number out of 50 that expresses your beer experience!