Beer Tip of the Week – Episode 5 – The four flavors of beer.


When you taste beer there are four basic flavors that come out. These aren’t the only flavors in a beer. The taste of a beer can be as simple as a small strings ensemble or as complex as a full orchestra. But the four predominant flavors in a beer are malty, bitter, sour, and skunky.


This is the sweet flavor of the beer. It isn’t necessarily a sugary sweet flavor like candy, but it plays with the sweet taste buds on your tongue.


To find a way to complement the malty flavor in beer, brewers started adding hops to their beer. Hops are the female flower cones of the hop plant and are used to add a bitter flavor to beer. On a side note unlike wine tasters, beer tasters have to actually swallow their beer to taste it since the bitter taste buds are on the back of the tongue.


Some beer have a predominant sour flavor. A lot of wheat beers and some Mexican beers excel in this flavor. This is why they generally are served with a slice of lemon, lime, or orange. It helps to enhance the sour flavor.


Skunky is the term used to describe the taste of beer that has gone bad. Unlike other alcohols, beer actually has a shelf life. It will go bad. It will go bad due to age or sunlight exposure. This is why most beers come in cans or brown beer bottles. Brown bottles actually block out the UV rays that will cause a beer to go bad.

Like I said these aren’t the only flavors that exist in a beer, but these are the four predominant flavors that you will find out there. So try around and see what flavors are your favorite and use this information try new and exciting beers in that category.