How do I judge beer ?
Beer should be evaluated using four senses: sight, smell, taste, feel. Never rate a beer direct from a can or a bottle. Always drink beer from a clear glass to fully appreciate it. Of course having the exact glass recommended by the brewery is ideal but when you don’t have one, you can substitute based on style: a “chalice like” glass for Belgian ales, and flutes or champagne glasses for lambic beers.
Look at it and note the color and clarity. Hold it up to a light if necessary. Take a good sniff from the glass to get the aroma or bouquet. Taste it, swishing it around in your mouth, and notice its body and flavors. After swallowing, notice any aftertaste or finish. You should be noticing things like:
Was it golden, amber, black?
Clear or cloudy?
Did it smell sweet, malty, flowery, alcoholic?
Did it taste bitter, sweet, tart, smooth, roasty?
Did it feel "thick" or "thin" as you swished it around?
Did it leave a buttery taste, nutty, fruity?
With additional experience and some reading you will begin to develop not only a sense of what you enjoy, but what marks a truly good beer from a bland or mediocre one. More information can be found on this website on the "Why is Beer tasting pleasure for the senses ?".
Also, it is usually a good idea to try a beer more than once. Get it from different sources, try it when your in a different mood or setting, wait for a full moon, whatever. Many factors will affect your overall perception, so be flexible. Be aware, as well, that tasting many beers at once is not a good idea. The taste buds begin to tire and send confusing impressions. There are some excellent websites out there that will allow you to practice the skil.
Compare and publish your tasting skills at :