How to find the best beer tasting order step by step

I’m Master Cicerone, Mirella Amato. And today I want to talk about how to put beers in the correct order when you’re preparing a beer tasting at home. The idea of course is to start with the least intense beer and work your way up to the most intense, but beer being quite complex it’s not always obvious which beer comes before which, so I do have a checklist in my book, it’s in the “Diving In” section, in the chapter entitled “How to Set up a Beer Tasting”, and what we’re going to do today is go through this checklist here to put the beers in front of me in the correct order. So before we start, I’ll just let you know what these beers are, they are currently in alphabetical order by style, so here I have an American Amber Ale, it’s 5.5% alcohol, I have an E.S.B., also 5.5% alcohol, an Imperial Stout, this one is 9%, a Milk Stout at 5.5% alcohol then I have Pilsner here and a Red Ale and these are both 5% alcohol, so let’s dive in. So the first checkmark says start with the lowest alcohol beers and work your way up to the highest alcohol beers. So in this case we have two beers at 5%: the Red Ale and the Pilsner. Then we have the Imperial Stout you’ll remember at 9%, and my three other beers: the Milk Stout, the E.S.B. and the American Amber are all at 5.5%. Second step: a Lager will generally be less intense than an Ale, so in this category we have just one beer, here we have all ales, here we have the Pilsner and the Red Ale, the Pilsner being a Lager will go before the Red Ale, there you go. Third step: the darker beer the more intense it will be, here we have at the 5% alcohol level light to more intense, here however I do have to make an adjustment, and move the Milk Stout above my other two amber beers in this category, again the Imperial Stout stays on it’s own. Next step: beers with an assertive hop presence should go after beers with a strong malt presence, so in the case of these beers the only one that I would really classify as having an assertive hop presence is the American Amber Ale, so the American Amber Ale is going to have to go after the Milk Stout, which is malt forward. There you go. Next step: extremely bitter beers leave hop resins on the palate and should only be followed by high alcohol beers, ideally 8% ABV and above, so again this is our only assertively bitter beer and it is followed by 9% alcohol beer, so we’re in the clear, and these beers are now in the correct tasting order. There is one last point in the book that talks about fruited or spiced beers. In this case, I don’t have one in the line up, but if I did I would pop it in right here between my malt forward beer and my hop forward beer assuming it was in the 5.5% alcohol range, otherwise if it was lighter in alcohol I’d probably sit it somewhere around here. Then there you go, you’re set to go. Oh, that’s tasty.

3 thoughts on “How to find the best beer tasting order step by step

  • Awesome tips! I always do beer tastings with my friends but I just usually drink lightest colour to darkest. This makes more sense

  • Very well done! I just tasted a new 8.5% very hoppy IPA for a new video (Due South 'Category-5 IPA'). After finishing I decided to have one of my favorite beers, a dry-hopped golden ale (Left Hand 'Juicy Goodness') and it tasted like water! My immediate thought was that you should go "Up" the hop ladder, not "Down". I searched for beer tasting order and found this very helpful video. Subscribed. Watched a few others of yours. Please keep making videos. 🙂

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