Beer Characteristics

Appearance

Froth

When you pour a beer, you'll notice a head of froth forms at the top. The characteristics of beer froth include color, consistency, head creation, head retention, and lacing. The characteristics depend on two main factors: the conditioning the beer has received, and the cereal grains in the grain bill of the beer's recipe.

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Color

The Lovibond (°L) Scale measures the color appearance of beer. The scale is similar to matching beer samples to color swatches. It was the world's first Colorimeter, developed by Joseph Lovibond.

The Standard Reference Method (SRM) Scale and the European Brewery Convention (EBC) Units measure the color density of beer. This is a more scientific method of measurement. A blue light is shot through a beer sample, and the % absorption is measured by a receiver.

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Clarity

The clarity of a beer is mainly determined by the filtering step in the brewing process. Some beer styles are unfiltered and cloudy. Other styles are filtered down to a "brilliant" clarity. Beer clarity can also be affected by a few other steps in the brewing process.

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Flavor

The tastebuds on your tongue can sense six different flavors: sour, salt, sweet, glutamate, fat, and bitter. The common two flavors in beer are sweet and bitter, deriving from the malted grain and boiled hops. Some beers also have a sour element, and sometimes a beer can have a hint of salt.

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Aroma

The olfactory system lining your upper nose and throat can sense thousands different aromas. While many animals can sense both air- and liquid-based aroma molecules, humans can sense only air-based ones. Also known as volatile aroma compounds,

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Feeling

The way beer feels on your tongue and palate is called the mouthfeel. Your mouth can sense the body of beer, which is how it flows over the surface. A light beer will flow similar to water, while a dark and heavy beer will flow more like syrup. Your tongue can also feel the dryness in a beer, as well as the carbonation.

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Alcohol Strength

The amount of alcohol present in a beer is measured in a few different ways around the world. Learn about each one in case you come across them someday.

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