Legs & Head of a Good Brew

With terms like Head, Body, and Legs you could be talking about a beauty contest- but in these terms we are looking for the finest glass of homebrew you can imagine. From Absence of off odors to Taste appropriate to type, here are some of the brewing terms used most often in SCA and modern world judging.

Components  •   Mouth Feel  •   Smell  •   Taste  •   Other  •   “Off” Flavors

The full class notes (pdf version) can be found here.


  • Acid- Detectable presence of sourness normally in wine
  • Alcohol- Detectable presence of ethanol in the beverage
  • Carbonation-Fizz due to CO2
  • Clarity-Quality of being clear. Lack of sediment
  • Color-The pigmentation of the liquid within the brew
  • Head Quality-The foam quality on the top portion of the beverage
  • Hop Characteristic-Bitterness and aroma from hops if used/
  • Lacing-Pattern left by the head as it moves down the glass
  • Legs-A visible indicator of a drinks weight


  • Body-Texture or viscosity in the mouth
  • Finish-The feel and the taste in the mouth after the liquid has left the mouth
  • Tannin-The dry feeling in the mouth.


  • Aroma-Components perceived by the nose of both scent and flavor
  • Bouquet-A characteristic or particular scent


  • Aftertaste-Lingering flavor after the liquid has left the palate
  • Flavor- Taste
  • Sugar- Amount of sweetness or taste of the sweetening agent
  • Sugar/Alcohol Balance-Sweetness to ethanol balance
  • Sweet/Dry balance-Sweet to non-sweet balance as determined by the beverage type
  • Sweetness-Noticeability of the sugars
  • Taste-Sensation of flavor as perceived in the mouth and throat


  • Presentation-The manner in which the beverage is displayed
  • Documentation-The history of beverage type as well as the creation process

“Off” Flavors or Odors

  • Acetaldehyde-Grassy, Acetic
  • Alcoholic- Hot, Spicy, Vinous, Warming or Burn in throat
  • Astringent-Dry, High Tannin, Puckering
  • Bitterness-Felt on back on tongue and roof of mouth
  • Buttery-Mouthfeel, slickness on palate, butterscotch
  • Cardboard- Stale bread, cardboard, wet paper. Wood like aftertaste
  • Cooked Corn-Vegetable or oyster like flavoring
  • Fruitness-Esters or any fruit like flavoring
  • Light Body-Water or weak
  • Grassy-Fresh cut grass
  • Grainy-Spent grain, starchy, cereal like
  • Phenoli- Plastic or medicinal
  • Musty: Earthy, musty, cellar like
  • Sourness: Tart, Sour, Vinegar like
  • Solvent Like: Pungent, harsh, acetone like
  • Sulfury: rotten eggs, burnt rubber,
  • Sweet: Sugary, Syrupy