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Another beer flavor/flavour wheel

Beer Flavor Wheel, Beer Flavour Wheel

Mark Dredge posted this new Beer Flavor Wheel today at Pencil and Spoon. (If you click on the image you’ll head over to his blog, where the wheel is a bit larger).

This is a much more drinker friendly wheel than the traditional one, created for Dredge’s new book, Craft Beer World, which just went to the printer. As mentioned here before, the beer flavor wheel was developed in the 1970s by the Master Brewers Association of the Americas and the American Society of Brewing Chemists following the lead of Danish flavor chemist Morten Meilgaard. It was one of the first such wheels. A wine aroma wheel came later, as did the Flavour Wheel for Maple Products, a South African brandy wheel, and a variety of other fun dials.

The Beer Wheel was not designed for consumers but to provide reference compounds that can be added to beer samples to represent the intended flavors. It continues to grow in size, and there is every possibility that the committees working on its redesign will settle on several subwheels.

Also mentioned here, and pictured in For the Love of Hops
the Hochschule RheinMain University of Applied Science created a Beer Aroma Wheel (actually two wheels) with the goal of providing terms more suitable for communicating with consumers and focusing less on defects.

Panelists who helped develop the terminology used aromas of fruits, spices, everyday materials, and other foodstuffs to describe their sensory impression. Because there is the rare occasion where 4-vinyl guaiacol is appropriate in conversation, but rare remains the best adjective. Clove works much better in mixed company (geeks and non geeks).

A few good beer ideas

  • A British pub is hosting a hymn and beer night with the help of a local church. As well as pub customers and members of the congregation the Salvation Army also joined in the festivities.
  • Ron Pattison is offering some of his collected works for sale in hard copy of downloadable form. I can speak to the quality of two of the books. Decoction! is about a lot more than decoction, containing the most complete information you’ll find anywhere about Berliner weisse and Gose (at least in English).

    And Trips! (South) might be characterized as Bill Bryson meets a one-man Yelp. Lots of fun reading, but also plenty of vital information. If you really want to understand beer you need to spend time in Bavaria, and I don’t know of a better book for a beer-focused tourist.

  • The 33 Bottles of Beer pocket book helps you visualize what your taste. It combines the beer flavor wheel and “spider graphing” (which is not a matter of charting spider drinking activity but drawing a “web” that might show you something).
  • Basically, the little book comes with 33 pages, with the bottom of each looking like this.

    It might look a little familiar. I’ve previously posted similar spider charts that graph hop aromas and flavors.

    I suspect you might find yourself streamlining the flavor wheel a bit, but after a few beers — perhaps quite a few, depending on the variety you sample — you’ll have an actual picture of what you like.


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