Knights of the Mashing Fork

Recommended Descriptors of Beer Flavor

Also, see the Color Flavor Wheel or General Taste Wheel and the Flavors in Beer PDF article

Relevance Key:
  • O: Odor
  • T: Taste
  • M: Mouthfeel
  • W: Warming
  • Af: After flavor
Class Term, Relevance, Comments/synonyms/definitions

Class 1 - Aromatic, Fragrant, Fruity, Floral

  • 0110 Alcoholic OTW The general effect of ethanol and higher alcohols
    • 0111 Spicy OTW Allspice, nutmeg, peppery, eugenol. See also 1003 Vanilla
    • 0112 Vinous OTW Bouquet, fusely, wine-like (White wine)
  • 0120 Solvent-like OT Like chemical solvents
    • 0121 Plastics OT Plasticizers
    • 0122 Can-liner OT Lacquer-like
    • 0123 Acetone
  • 0130 Estery OT Like aliphatic esters
    • 0131 Isoamyl acetate OT Banana, peardrop
    • 0132 Ethyl hexanoate OT Apple-like with note of aniseed. See 0142 Apple
    • 0133 Ethyl acetate OT Light fruity, solvent-like. See also 0120 Solvent like
  • 0140 Fruity OT Of specific fruits or mixtures of fruits
    • 0141 Citrus OT Citral, grapefruit, lemony, orange-rind
    • 0142 Apple
    • 0143 Banana
    • 0144 Blackcurrant OT Blackcurrant fruit. For Blackcurrant leaves use 0810 Catty
    • 0145 Melony
    • 0146 Pear
    • 0147 Raspberry
    • 0148 Strawberry
  • 0150 Acetaldehyde OT Green apples, raw appleskin, bruised apples
  • 0160 Floral OT Like flowers, fragrant
    • 0161 2-Phenylethanol OT Rose-like
    • 0162 Geraniol OT Rose-like, different from 0161. Taster should compare the pure chemicals
    • 0163 Perfumy OT Scented
  • 0170 Hoppy OT Fresh hop aroma. Use with other terms to describe stale hop aroma. Does not include hop bitterness (See 1200 Bitter)
    • 0171 Kettle-hop OT Flavor imparted by aroma hops boiled in the kettle.
    • 0172 Dry-hop OT Flavor imparted by dry hops added in tank or cask.
    • 0173 Hop oil OT Flavor imparted by addition of distilled hop oil.

Class 2 - Resinous, Nutty, Green, Grassy

  • 0210 Resinous OT Fresh sawdust, resin, cedarwood, pinewood, sprucy, terpenoid.
    • 0211 Woody OT Seasoned wood (uncut)
  • 0220 Nutty OT As in Brazil-nut, hazelnut, sherry-like
    • 0221 Walnut OT Fresh (not rancid) walnut
    • 0222 Coconut
    • 0223 Beany OT Bean soup
    • 0224 Almond OT Marzipan
  • 0230 Grassy
    • 0231 Freshly-cut grass OT Green, crushed green leaves, leafy, alfalfa.
    • 0232 Straw-like OT Hay-like

Class 3 - Cereal

  • 0310 Grainy OT Raw grain flavor
    • 0311 Husky OT Husk-like, chaff, 'Glattwasser'.
    • 0312 Corn grits OT Maize grits, adjuncty
    • 0313 Mealy OT Like flour
  • 0320 Malty
  • 0330 Worty OT Fresh wort aroma. Use with other terms to describe infected wort, e.g. 0731 Parsnip

Class 4 - Caramelized, Roasted

  • 0410 Caramel OT Burnt sugar, toffee-like
    • 0411 Molasses OT Black treacle, treacly.
    • 0412 Licorice
  • 0420 Burnt OTM Scorched aroma, dry mouthfeel and sharp acrid taste.
    • 0421 Bread-crust OTM Charred toast.
    • 0422 Roast-barley OTM Chocolate malt.
    • 0423 Smoky OT

Class 5 - Phenolic

  • 0500 Phenolic OT
    • 0501 Tarry OT Pitch, faulty pitching of containers.
    • 0502 Bakelite
    • 0503 Carbolic OT Phenol.
    • 0504 Chlorophenol OT Trichlorophenol (TCP), hospital-like.
    • 0505 Iodoform OT Iodophors, hospital-like, pharmaceutical.

Class 6 - Soapy, Fatty, Diacetyl, Oily, Rancid

  • 0610 Fatty acid
    • 0611 Caprylic OT Soapy, fatty, goaty, tallowy.
    • 0612 Cheesy OT Dry, stale cheese, old hops. Hydrolytic rancidity.
    • 0613 Isovaleric OT Dry, stale cheese, old hops. Hydrolytic rancidity.
    • 0614 Butyric OT Rancid butter.
  • 0620 Diacetyl OT Butterscotch, buttermilk
  • 0630 Rancid OT Oxidative rancidity.
    • 0631 Rancid oil OTM Oxidative rancidity.
  • 0640 Oily
    • 0641 Vegetable oil OTM As in refined vegetable oil.
    • 0642 Mineral oil OTM Gasoline (petrol), kerosene (paraffin), machine oil.

Class 7 - Sulphury

  • 0700 Sulphury OT
  • 0710 Sulphitic OT Sulphur dioxide, striking-match, choking, sulphurous-SO2
  • 0720 Sulphidic OT Rotten egg, sulphury-reduced, sulphurous-RSH
    • 0721 H2S OT Rotten egg
    • 0722 Mercaptan OT Lower mercaptans, drains, stench
    • 0723 Garlic
    • 0724 Lightstruck OT Skunky, sunstruck
    • 0725 Autolysed OT Rotting yeast (see also 0740 Yeasty).
    • 0727 Shrimp-like OT Water in which shrimp have been cooked
  • 0730 Cooked vegetable OT Mainly dialkyl sulphides, sulphurous-RSR
    • 0731 Parsnip / celery OT An effect of wort infection
    • 0732 DMS OT Dimethyl sulphide
    • 0733 Cooked tomato OT Tomato juice (processed), tomato ketchup.
    • 0736 Cooked onion
  • 0740 Yeasty OT Fresh yeast, flavor of heated thiamine (see also 0725 Autolysed).
    • 0741 Meaty OT Brothy, cooked meat, meat extract, peptone, yeast broth.

Class 8 - Oxidized, Stale, Musty

  • 0800 Stale OTM Old beer, overaged, overpasteurized.
  • 0810 Catty OT Blackcurrant leaves, ribes, tomato plants, oxidized beer.
  • 0820 Papery OT An initial stage of staling, bready (stale bread crumb), cardboard, old beer, oxidized.
  • 0830 Leathery OT A later stage of staling, then often used in conjunction with 0211 Woody.
  • 0840 Moldy OT Cellar-like, leaf-mold, woodsy.
    • 0841 Earthy OT Actinomycetes, damp soil, freshly dug soil, diatomaceous earth.
    • 0842 Musty OT Fusty.

Class 9 - Sour, acidic

  • 9000 Acidic OT Pungent aroma, sharpness of taste, mineral acid.
  • 0910 Acetic OT Vinegar
  • 0920 Sour OT Lactic, sour milk, Use with 0141 for citrus-sour.

Class 10 - Sweet

  • 1000 Sweet OT
    • 1001 Honey OT Can occur as an effect of beer staling, e.g. the odor of stale beer in a glass, oxidized (stale) honey.
    • 1002 Jam-like OT May be qualified by sub-classes of 0140 Fruity.
    • 1003 Vanilla OT Custard powder, vanillin.
    • 1004 Primings
    • 1005 Syrupy OTM Clear (golden) syrup.
    • 1006 Oversweet OT Sickly sweet, cloying.

Class 11 - Salty

  • 1100 Salty T

Class 12 - Bitter

  • 1200 Bitter TAf

Class 13 - Mouthfeel

  • 1310 Alkaline TMAf Flavor imparted by accidental admixture of alkaline detergent.
  • 1320 Mouthcoating MAf Creamy, 'onctueux' (Fr.).
  • 1330 Metallic OTMAf Iron, rusty water, coins, tinny, inky.
  • 1340 Astringent MAf Mouth puckering, puckery, tannin-like, tart
    • 1341 Drying MAf Unsweet.
  • 1350 Powdery O Dusty cushion, irritating (with 0310 Grainy) mill room smell. TM Chalky, particulate, scratchy, silicate-like, siliceous.
  • 1360 Carbonation M CO2 content.
    • 1361 Flat M Under carbonated.
    • 1362 Gassy M Over carbonated.
  • 1370 Warming WMAf See also 0110 Alcoholic and 0111 Spicy.

Class 14 - Fullness

  • 1410 Body OTM Fullness of flavor and mouthfeel.
    • 1411 Watery TM Thin, seemingly diluted.
    • 1412 Characterless OTM Bland, empty, flavorless.
    • 1413 Satiating OTM Extra-full, filling.
    • 1414 Thick TM Viscous, 'epais' (Fr.).
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