During all of the tastings I’ve done with Grayson and Frank up in Santa Barbara, we’ve utilized the following method for our empirical research. In addition to what’s below, we also take notes on aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel and overall impression.
For your tastings, you can download the above scoresheet here. This is a great tool, along with the flavor wheel, to help increase your “flavor vocabulary” when it comes to figuring out if a beer is roasty, toasty, nutty, grassy, grainy, yeasty, acetic, etc. There are TONS of different descriptors out there and it’s good to be able to verbalize the subtle differences between each substyle.
Ever single beer I consume at home is now accompanied by this:
I have the different style guidelines printed out from the BJCP, and sip through each beer while reading them and comparing beer to paper expectations.
Lost Coast Downtown Brown was my latest tasting. This one is relatively close to style except for being a little thinner-bodied than the guidelines state, as well as having a lower hop bitterness. The aroma starts off with burnt caramel and slight toffee and just a hint of cocoa at the end. Medium-high carbonation with a slightly thin body full of caramel sweetness and slight roasty notes. No finishing hop bitterness. At 5%abv, this beer is an easy drinker! As of now it’s my favorite brown, but I prefer it much more on draft.
This is the best way to enjoy a tasting – gorgeous sunsets and warm weather. Thank God it’s January, eh?