Tasting notes… what are you on about?

Obviously, as an amateur wannabe beer writer, I review beers and I read other people’s reviews of beers.

Right now I’m getting absolutely fucking sick of reading beer reviews, to be perfectly honest.

I see people write about aromas that make me gag just from the idea and flavours that really don’t make sense and make me want to vomit, and remember… I’m a seasoned beer drinker.

I’ve had beers that have encompassed all manner of flavours, but let’s be honest here… most tasting notes by beer reviewers are bullshit. They’re incredibly off putting and I wonder if some people come up with the most ridiculous tasting notes just as a test to see if someone else will call them out and say “What the fuck are you even on about?”

Even as someone who has drank so many different beers, I read reviews and I’m instantly put off.

You cannot write that a beer smells like damp field mushrooms covered in manure, tasting like spunk covered hedgerow and expect people to believe your conclusion that it was rather nice (this isn’t an exact review; it’s just bits that I’ve picked up from several reviews that I’ve read over the last few months from about 6 different people).

While I’m aware that everyone has a different palate and they taste/smell different things, I genuinely don’t believe that most people actually know what hedgerow or half the fucking things they describe beers as taste like.

I’m just finding it irritating, vomit inducing and just straight up bullshit. It’s not doing the industry any favours by writing such pretentious crap.

It seems that people are straight up taking the piss out of breweries by saying the most disgusting things. Hell, if I were a brewer I’d feel downright offended if someone gave my beer such nauseating tasting notes knowing full well that they’re just entering themselves into "Who can be the most pretentious?" competition.

One of the reasons I started doing this whole beer writing thing was to try and encourage people to drink more good beer, by displaying the massive array of delicious flavours that just four simple ingredients (and sometimes odd adjuncts) can create and I’m sure many others did too.

I’ve always firmly believed in tasting notes that are accessible, that someone not into beer will stumble across and be like “Well, that sounds delicious. Where can I buy it?” not “So this person says it’s nice… but it sounds disgusting. Definitely not worth the risk”

Simplify. Make the beers sound as delicious in your descriptions as you say they are at the end. Just cut the fucking crap already.



  1. And that's exactly why I steer clear of Ratebeer. It's a load of tosh.

    1. Mate, this isn't even about Ratebeer. It's about beer bloggers who write 150+ words of disgustingness.

  2. This reminds me of when Rich had a Lindermans Gueuze Cuvée René and on RateBeer he found a description saying it had aromas of "cobwebby horse blanket".

    Found it! Classic.

    "Nose is barnyard funk, sharp apple cider, faint grapes and wheaty malt. Taste follows suit, starting with tart apples giving way to musty and cobwebby horse blanket."


  3. This is precisely why I quit blogging and reviewing beer. The other reason is 'it's quite malty and sweet. It smells of malt and tastes hoppy". Then something equally generic in the tasting's note following it. Also many companies use terrible tastings' notes on their beer which does not help with things. "Full-bodied" really pisses me off.

    1. Full bodied isn't a flavour though... it's a way to describe how the beer feels in your mouth and how the malt and hops work together, and it's something that does totally make sense.

  4. Re Rate Beer comment. Cobwebs are good for sour production and you can taste them by accident but it's not a good way of describing what a sour actually is.

    1. Think you're confusing Jean Van Roy slightly there Thomas. Cantillon don't clean spiderwebs out of the brewery because the spiders eat the fruit flies and that stops them from getting into the beer.

  5. only relevant tasting note: is it fucking awesome? yes / no

  6. As pretty much every beer blogger out there, most of what I wrote at the beginning were beer reviews with their respective tasting notes and I was as guilty of that bollocks as many others. The thing is that tasting notes are, in themselves, quite boring to read and write, which sort of forces you to make them more elaborate to make them more fun, which them forces you to try to dissect every molecule of the beer in order to find things that are likely not there, to make the tasting notes even more fun and interesting, which, sooner rather than later, results in all this bullshit. More often than not, I believe, that bullshit is honest, meaning that reviewers are convinced they can taste, for example oak just because the name makes a reference to it. Needless to say, I don't write tasting notes anymore.


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