Sometimes, I have heard people refer to craft beer as a very cerebral beverage. It is all based on flavours, innovation and variety that is going on in the breweries in the world today. It definitely gives us, the beer lovers a lot to talk about, but that is where the challenges. When we are talking about flavour on an everyday basis, I have searched a lot for a solid answer on what the exact flavour is. We should talk about how we perceive it and more importantly, how we can describe the flavours that we are tasting. Flavour is a fusion of multiple flavours. One of the most amazing things about the flavour finding journey is that the palate that we test, can be high and low. The bottom line is that the flavours are very difficult to describe, sometimes.
A lot of people have talked about testing in terms of the primary, tertiary and secondary flavour characteristics. It all depends on finish, dimension and balance. But, sometimes, even though we are testing a lot of things, it can be very difficult to describe them.
I’m going to go ahead and talk about the four main test sensations of craft beer.
- The very first one would be the smell of beer. The scent is one of the most dominant sense affecting flavour perception in the world. Without it, what we taste would be very simplistic and very one dimension of nature. That is why, the smell is a synthetic experience, and the brain has a hard time picking apart the individual pieces of it. When you compare it to test, which is also an analytic experience, our brain can actually dissect the parts much easier. The smell is a very aromatic experience. There are a lot of chemical reactions that take place in our brain, when we smell something.
- Taste is the next one. Taste is a wonderful chemical sensation that is perceived by the receptors on our tongue and our soft palate. On the tongue, the taste cells are in the taste buds. Every single taste but is composed of almost 40-100 test cells. Each cell is very specific to a singular test modality, and we can have any combination of taste cells in one taste bud.
- Next one would be touch. The sensations of temperature, texture and the feeling in the mouth that you face, because of the receptors that we have. It also depends on the sensation that the beer gives us in our mouth. We should talk about the mouthfeel, combination, body, temperature and more.
- Finally, it comes down to experience. The small details that we may not be aware of in our surroundings. We should think about atmosphere, influence of people, and memories as well.