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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > How to do a tasting?
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Old 12-15-2008, 03:35 PM   #1
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Default How to do a tasting?

Ok, last year a lady in our town was going to have a beer tasting at the VFW. She got another job, and still planned on having the tasting, but the amount of work involved got to be too much, and she had too few people so it got canceled.

Now, I am talking with friends at the VFW at our company Christmas party, and a couple of them are very interested in a tasting, and know a few more that would like to attend. I'd really like to set something up, but I know diddly abotu tasting beer.

What should I do? I think we really need an expert to be there and help with the sampling and education. Otherwise, I think we should go for it and try to get something going.

Any ideas?

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Old 12-15-2008, 03:43 PM   #2
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Let me ask you this: have you filed for the appropriate permits? Do you have a detailed emergency evacuation and fire extinguisher plan at your place? Inspected your furniture? Have you even rented a clown yet? You have some work to do buddy.


Dude I think you are over complicating this. Pour beer into glass. Nom nom nom. Discuss. Repeat.

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Old 12-15-2008, 03:51 PM   #3
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This thread has some information that might help.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/plan...g-night-70900/

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Old 12-15-2008, 04:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coastarine View Post
Let me ask you this: have you filed for the appropriate permits? Do you have a detailed emergency evacuation and fire extinguisher plan at your place? Inspected your furniture? Have you even rented a clown yet? You have some work to do buddy.


Dude I think you are over complicating this. Pour beer into glass. Nom nom nom. Discuss. Repeat.
LOL! Well, I don't think I'm overcomplicating it. What I meant by expert, is someone who can teach others how to taste and what to look for. I like to drink different kinds of beer, but not having ever been to a tasting, and not knowing much about it, I thought having someone with experience would be nice.

My question is really, besides wanting to have an expert on hand, what kinds of advice would be helpful in making this a fun and educational experience?

tx, McKBrew
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Old 12-15-2008, 04:32 PM   #5
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Keep it simple...Use large open mouth glasses. Dainty little wine glasses are perfect for tasting. Have a few pitchers of iced water/glasses handy and some spit buckets. Many people want to taste and not get hammered.

Go quality over quantity. If the tasting group is large there is always an exception to the rule.

Just go out and by a handful of holiday beers. They are most fun to sip and share. Start with less hoppy beers. The notion that dark ales should be tasted last is kind of flawed concept. Serve the least alcoholic first and work your way to the heavy hitters.

The hop bombs will kill the pallet quickly. The most important aspect of tasting each beer is temperature. Don't serve the beers ice cold. Serve them cool but super cold.

Do a little research into each brewery and style. Some of the Belgian/Bavarian brewers have a lengthy history. Find out which spices are used in each beer. Educate your friends and have fun.

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Old 12-15-2008, 06:14 PM   #6
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The BJCP and BA style guides are a great place to start. Another option is to use BJCP rating sheets.

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Old 12-15-2008, 06:38 PM   #7
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The BJCP and BA style guides are a great place to start. Another option is to use BJCP rating sheets.
Excellent advice.

Three sources I'd start with:

1) BeerAdvocate - Respect Beer. Once you buy some commercial beers to taste, look them up here and determine what categories they fall into.

2) BJCP Guidelines. Once you know the category, look up the style in the BJCP guidelines and use them to judge the beer.

3) BJCP Scoresheet. Use this score sheet to score the beers against the guidelines for that style.
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Old 12-15-2008, 10:24 PM   #8
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I agree, start with the category guidelines and select beers from a couple of different categories. Most non-hombrewers are at best only marginally familiar with them and most don't get past the level of "I like stout" or "I don't like brown ales".

You probably don't want to get into scoring the beers, but considering each of the five areas (aroma, appearance, etc.) is a great way to introduce them to the complexity that good beers have. Most people have never just smelled a beer before, for some it can be a revelation.

I would suggest selecting a few examples and describe the style to them, and what they should be looking, smelling and tasting for. I'd go with a good bit of contrast between the styles, as it takes a while to develop a palate for the subtleties between examples of one style. Sure, one could be a holiday ale, and you might even compare it to it's non-holiday cousin.

You could even have some of the base ingredients of each for them to see such as roast barley for a stout, or let them compare pilsner malt next to pale malt, or hop varieties.

I think they'll get more out of it if you ease them into evaluating beer, not just picking a favorite. If they leave suddenly understanding why a certain beer tastes the way it does, and another tastes another way, I think they will say it was time well spent.

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Old 12-15-2008, 11:28 PM   #9
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Any local brew clubs in your area? Many have people who are experienced judges. The people I know would be more than happy to offer advice and opinions on others homebrew or to just help get people drinking more non BMC.

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Old 12-16-2008, 04:26 PM   #10
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I agree that I don't think I want to get into scoring. Just too much for some of these guys. I think that I may be the one with the highest level of experience in trying different beers. Well, other than the lady who used to do the tastings that is.

I don't think there are any clubs in the local area. Maybe a couple of people form Cadillac would want to join us.

That said, it seems the guys are less interested now that their drink has worn off, than they were at the Christmas party. I might just have to keep my eyes open to beer tastings coming up and just go there. By the time I get one organized, it will be time for Siciliano's Market to host theirs... Which is an awesum time, I've heard.

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