Refining your Beer Palate: Aromas – Part 1

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July 8, 2013 by Prost Brewing

Palate is traditionally defined as a sense of taste that traditionally has an intellectual component to it, making it more than just purely instinctual.  Of course, as a typical beer drinker who simply enjoys a cold brew, and is not into all the fluff raised over what makes and breaks the perfect brew, the word palate may appear pretentious and over the top.  The ability to recognize a palate of aromas and flavors present in beer may even intimidate other fellow beer drinkers who hear the description of a palate, and smile as if it is pure non-sense, a foreign language to their ears.

However, Prost Brewing is out to wipe the pretentious notes of the beer palate away, and give the tools to develop one’s own beer palate to anyone and everyone who has an interest in tasting more in their beer than the usual ‘tastiness.’  Anyone can develop a fairly sophisticated beer palate with a little time and experience.  Extensive reading and endless beer drinking are not even required, nor do you have to have been born with the most keen sense of taste and smell.  No ‘golden’ noses are required.  All you need is to maintain a body temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, remain awake and present, and turn your sensory organs into high gear.

The first step is to simply take a whiff before you drink, allowing the aromas to rise up into your nose.

Beer Aroma

See if you can classify the aromas into fruity, floral, vegetal, spicy, yeasty, or buttery.  Once you have some classifications carved out, take another sniff to find a more descriptive set of words for your sense of smell.  Here is a link to a German beer aroma wheel to help:

Beer Aroma Wheel

Beer Aroma Wheel

You may want to practice with several beers at once so that you can take note of just how different various beers smell.  If you don’t want to buy a couple of Prost growlers to share at home, take an afternoon or an evening to head to Prost Brewing’s beer hall where you can order a lineup of tasters that will give you just enough beer to smell a full range of aromas.  Once you have defined your main aromas, ask the Prost bartender to describe the aromas you should have smelled so you know whether or not you are an aroma expert yet.  If you are, then you are ready to move onto refining your taste, a process that will be outlined in this Friday’s blog.

So get those noses a’ sniffing and stayed tuned!


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