How do I get better at smelling, tasting, and describing beer?

      

How do I get better at smelling, tasting, and describing beer? I hear this question over and over. Often, it isn’t even a question, it’s a statement like: “I’m not good at tasting and describing beer (or wine), so I can’t do the BJCP or Cicerone tests.” Never say that again and correct anyone else who does, it’s just not true! Read on to see why.

I did an AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) on Reddit awhile back to promote my Beer Scholar Study Guides, answer questions about the Cicerone Certification Program, and to generally talk beer with some like-minded people (here’s the whole AMA on Reddit: I wrote a study guide for the Cicerone exams. AMA.). One of the very first questions I got and the one which the most people seemed interested in was about learning to get better at flavor and aroma analysis:

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