Beginners Tips for Beer Tasting at Home

It’s usually easy to tell if you love a brew after taking that first sip, but have you really thought about what it is you’re actually enjoying? While visiting our brewery on the South Coast may be off the cards for now, a little bit (or a lot) of extra time at home spent with your favourite beers can be more rewarding when you learn to understand what’s taking place in your glass and on your palate.

Our South Coast brewery stands it’s ground in the big leagues of brewing because of quality & character. Small batches with big flavour profiles that develop and celebrate different hops, brewing styles and varieties. All in the name of quality and a serious love for great beer. Find balance in the complexities and become curious about your next sip with our top tips & questions to ask yourself when understanding and tasting craft beer at home.

When the lockdowns are lifted and you can visit our Brewery in Ulladulla, order a Beer Tasting Flight and put your skills (or our craft beer) to the test! Or you can always have a case delivered right to your door, whatever takes your fancy.

What does your beer look like?

How does the beer look in a glass? Hold it up to the light, is it opaque or crispy clear? Hazy or dark as chocolate. The appearance of your beer can say a lot about what to expect when you take that first sip.

The colour and clarity is often indicative of the style of beer. Obviously your dark ales are going to be well, dark - but the quality of honey golden colour for your lager or haziness for your wheat beer can speak volumes for how it’s going to taste.

What does your beer smell like?

The old swirl & sniff isn’t restricted to tasting wine. Go on, have a smell of your beer. What are you finding? Close your eyes if you have to, are you getting notes of tropical fruit, wood, grass, floral, herbal, hops, chocolate? If you’re really enjoying the sniff test and ready to take it a step further, grab one of the hop aroma charts floating around the internet and see how you go identifying different notes.

Don’t worry if you’re only picking up on the smell of ’beer’. Leaning to pick up tasting notes is like learning anything new, you just have to start identifying what you can, and starting to really look for certain qualities to be able to find them. The more you sniff, the more you savour - so don’t be afraid of getting your nose in!

What can you taste?

You’ve earned it, go on and take your first sip. But instead of just gulping it down, see if you can savour it a bit longer, let it rest on your tongue for a few moments before swallowing. Some die-hard beer tasters like to promote burping the beer, and hey we’re not here to judge! If you’re at home why not give it a go. Burp until your heart’s content. If you’re at our brewery on the South Coast though, you may want to go for the sip and sit method.

However you choose to interpret the flavour, what do you notice? Does it taste very different t o how it smelled? Are those tropical hints gone and replaced with a hoppy bitterness? Or are they amplified and shining through like a basket of mangoes in summer. Don’t be afraid to get curious about your beer, sip and savour that beautiful creation and see what it tells you. If you’re trying a few beers at once, what do you prefer from one to the other? Are there similarities or consistencies? If you’re tasting with someone, are you getting the same hints or is the experience different for each of you? Tasting anything is really subjective, and it’s so interesting to hear different opinions!

The golden rule is to try and identify things you already taste a lot of everyday. Cereals, biscuits and bread are typically found in paler brews, while smoky, chocolate or caramel flavours are more likely to be found in darker beers and heavier ales. At the end of the day what’s most important is that you’re getting a deeper understanding of what it is you do and don’t like about your craft beer, it’s really all about you!

How does the beer feel in your mouth?

Has it left a thick, residual feeling in your mouth or was it crisp, dry and refreshing? Don’t let the appearance of your beer fool you. Not all dark, thick looking ales will hang around on your palate. What do you prefer when it comes to texture? Your preference can come and go like anything really, it all depends on the occasion. A beer by the fire in winter? We’re looking at peeling the wax off one of ourImperial Stoutsto sip and savour. Few tinnies on the beach after a surf? Better crack into a refreshingSouth Coast Session Ale.

Don’t under estimate the way your beer feels in your mouth as to why you crave it so much at different times!

How bitter is your beer?

Last but certainly not least, we have the bitterness of your beer. Unlike the other qualities above, this one is actually measured on a universal global scale, the IBU – international bitterness units. For this reason it can be a great indicator of whether you’ll enjoy a beer when shopping online.

Aftertaste is a key player in the bitterness game, so see what you experience once the mouthful is (otherwise) finished.

Our Craft Brewery on the South Coast offers a range of varieties and styles that all focus on quality & character. The IBU scales of our beers range from 15 to 80, all uniquely different and delicious.

Why not browse our range of craft brews, get the gang together (over zoom if you need to!) for a tasting session and see what your palate picks up? Or if you’re in the area, swing by our craft brewery in Milton and order yourself a tasting flight and put your knowledge to the test.