“Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” a classic circular conversation that can be applied to tasting a beer. Which has more importance: taste v. aroma?
The answer: both.
How do I know? It’s my job to help make “sense” of beer flavor.
Consider your tongue a tasting device. The taste buds send signals to your brain and let you know what you are sensing. There are 5 basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. The sensation, umami, is a savory or mouth-watering sensation.
All other flavor sensations result from the sense of smell. Have you ever noticed that when you have a cold eating isn’t as much fun? You almost can’t taste the food. This is because your nose is stuffed and you’ve lost your sense of smell! So when your beer’s aroma doesn’t (positively) stimulate your senses during the evaluation process, chances are your palate will agree. (more…)