You’d think enjoying a great beer would be all about the taste. But that’s not completely true. While taste is huge, aroma, mouthfeel and drinkability also play a big part in your total beer experience.
Aroma: Since your olfactory receptors can perceive 10,000 different aromas, it’s not surprising that a lot of a beer’s flavor comes from aromatics. Aromatics give beer its characteristic malty, hoppy flavor, along with fruity and floral fermentation impressions. And aromatics that are too subtle to pick out still contribute to the brew’s flavor profile.
Mouthfeel: Yes, the sense of touch is important in savoring beer, and no, that doesn’t mean sticking your finger in it. Mouthfeel—logically--refers to how the beer feels in your mouth. Mouthfeel descriptors include 1)cold/heat, 2) drying, 3)fullness/viscosity, and 4)astringency/puckering.
Taste: As you may recall from grade school science, receptors called taste buds are what create the sensation of taste on your tongue. The four basic tastes—sweet, salty, sour and bitter—are all present in beer. (You didn’t learn this in grade school.) The fifth, less-familiar taste known as unami doesn’t factor much in beer flavor.
Remember, beer is always best enjoyed in moderation, and only by those of legal drinking age.