Beer tasting mini-course: visual analysis

A beer tasting mini-course to learn the first steps necessary to understand beers while drinking: let’s start with visual analysis.

The difference between simply drinking a beer and tasting it is all in the degree of attention we pay to it and to the sensations we receive from it. Everyone happens to enjoy a glass in a carefree way, but at least for the first sips we can focus on how much we are about to drink, in order to fully appreciate the aromas and flavors. During a tasting , therefore, sight , smell and touch are involved in the same way as taste.

Visual analysis


Light, amber, dark: we often hear beers sorted by color. This is certainly a reductive classification, which nevertheless makes us understand that the first of the senses involved in the choice is sight, to get an idea of ​​how much we are going to drink.

The foam

We start with the evaluation of the foam , whose color can range from white to beige . The persistence , however, concerns the foam held in time: from none to very persistent when it also remains visible for several minutes. The compactness is in turn linked to the size of the bubbles which can result in a fine to coarse foam.

Color and clarity

The color of a beer varies from straw yellow to very dark shades and this depends on the types of malts used. For example: a dark beer will highlight the use of a percentage of dark malts and herald certain taste sensations. In addition to the chromatic characteristics, clarity must also be considered , on a scale that places opalescent and crystalline beers at the extreme. This information allows us to guess the ingredients and production practices used by the brewer.

A practical example

The 8 Luppoli Gusto Citrusato of the Angelo Poretti Brewery is a beer inspired by the Saison, a style born in Belgium and very popular in recent times. Some of them are produced with only barley malt; in other cases, such as that of 8 Luppoli, there is the addition of different cereals, such as oats and wheat. The recipe created by the Brewery Masters of the Angelo Poretti Brewery also includes the use of orange peel and coriander, typical ingredients of another Belgian style, that of the Blanche. Finally, the hopping is also particular, with the use of Japanese and American aromatic hops. Moving on to the visual analysis he shows up with a nice hat of white and fine foam. The foam is also persistent, so much so that it tends to disassemble only after a few minutes after the beer has been poured into the glass. The color of the beer is golden, while as regards the clarity, we could define it veiled or opalescent.

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