The aim of the BeerDredge Beer Flavour Wheels is to present a lexicon of the most common terms to describe beer’s flavour and drinking characteristics, and improve overall beer communication, evaluation and education, whether in the brewery, the bar, or at home.
We developed the Beer Flavour Wheels with industry experts alongside deep literature searches––existing flavour language, style guides, books, scientific papers, even the language used in marketing and social media––to develop the lexicon of words drinkers are most likely to encounter and where those characteristics come from. We started by creating a lexicon for hops, malt, fermentation and maturation (including negative qualities), plus relevant terms for drinking assessment, and we then compiled the most important terms into an overall Beer Flavour Wheel.
The Flavour Wheels can guide the evaluation of beer, from finding the right word to describe the malt depth or the hop aroma, through to understanding where certain flavours come from in your beer, and overall they help us to use the same language in the same way. But to effectively communicate about beer we also need to add our own personal experiences and form the words into meaningful descriptions.
The Flavour Wheels do not end at the lines which enclose them, nor are they limited to just the terms you see. We need to add our own qualifiers (like it’s subtle or intense); we can add specificity to the terms in the outer section of the wheel (like it’s lemon zest, dried apricot or baked apple); and we can be evocative and personal (like it reminds us of grandma’s fruit cake or grandad’s tobacco box). The beer lexicon gives words to form a language, but our individual perceptions transform those words into stories and meanings.
The BeerDredge Beer Flavour Wheels are a tool for all of us who want to understand beer better and to use the right words to communicate about what we’re drinking.