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Left Out of the Conversation

BeerAdvocate.com is a website that serves as a forum for people to describe and rate beers. As I was cruising around there earlier I found this description of a certain beer’s taste by a person on the forum:

“Sweet on the tip of the tongue with a warm middle. A little note of alcohol warmth but well hidden. The dark fruits now come out with greater intensity and phenols from the yeast’s work let it be known.”

I don’t really get a good sense of how the beer tastes based on that description. I feel left out of the conversation, like the author is trying harder to appear sophisticated than to help others understand the beer.

Look as this description of the same beer by somebody else:

“Aromas are pleasant and come through more as the ale warms: musty, boozy, earthy, sweet, caramel, honey, fruity as it warms w plum & cherry. Tastes are boozy, rich, sweet, malty, fruity with plum, raisin, currant, rum, bready yeast, mossy, musty, earthy – great complexity!”

I’m not certain that it is actually possible to pull out that many distinct flavors from the beer, but at least I get a really good idea of how the beer tastes from the second description. It is truly a description of the taste, not of the experience of drinking the beer. This makes me think two things:

1. Get familiar with many different flavors so that you can recognize and describe them when tasting beer (or anything else).

2. Keep it simple and approachable. Don’t try to appear sophisticated or appeal only to the “True” beer tasters.
Have you had experiences in the beer world that have left you feeling left out of the conversation?

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