Getting good feedback on your beer is the best possible way to understand not only a particular beer, but brewing techniques for every style across the board.
Feedback allows you to get a perspective that’s different from yours. Without even knowing, you may be bias towards one aspect, and miss another. The more opinions you get can help cover more bases.
Now I’m not talking about having professional tasters or judges analyse your brew (but that would surely help forsure) I’m talking about your friends, or maybe other club members.
There is more to it than handing me a sample and asking me what I think, or how I like it. I’m 99 percent sure I will say “oh I like this!” Because I genuinely like almost anything… so that’s not really giving you any usable information is it?
To get even the most basic critique or info on your beer, even if you’re not actively looking for it, Keep in mind that we all sense things differently, and you’re probably overlooking something.
That statement opens a lot of doors. And works both ways depending if you are the taster, or if it’s your beers being tasted.
Next time you are offering up samples…
Be a bit more specific in what info you are looking to get back.
Instead of “Hey what do you think”, try.. “Hey this is my Irish Red, what you think of the bittering?” Or, “ What do you think about this late hop I tried?” Or even “You think this is a Porter or Stout”
This immediately lets the other person know how they are supposed to approach the beer, and what you are looking for, and helps me focus on more than “Mmm that’s good”
With a more specific question like those above, even a generic “yea thats great” response now has more weight to it, because it was evaluated in the narrower parameters that YOU wanted.
Be ready and accepting of both good and maybe not so good feedback.
Even right now at this very moment, I know people who very adamant about saying how they don’t care what anyone else thinks, they make it they way like it, and just shrug off any kind of thoughts given.
Of course making beer they way YOU like it IS what is most important, but ignoring helpful insights can hamper your ability to get it, or keep it where you like it.
You like your beer because of “X”. Taking some advice could make the “X” even better.
Sometimes, what people tell you about “this” beer, can help you make one of your “other” beers better. Take all the info you get, when you get it. It will always be useful later.
And almost all of the times people give you insight on your beer, they are comparing it to one of their own beers. By sampling their beers you can gain more of where they are coming from.
Once you get an idea of why they think this or that, you can use that to ask them questions of what they did to get their “X” where it is.
Enter your beer into a homebrew contest. Specifically a BJCP style contest.
I know there are quite a few people who just will not enter a contest for various reasons. They don’t want someone telling them their beer is bad. They like their beer just they way it is, they dont care about scores… But that is not necessarily the point, (and this really should be an whole entire post by itself)
Regardless of the score, the judges really give you advice as to why each point of your beer is good, and where, why and how you can improve not only a specific part of your beer, but sometimes even how to adjust your technique for all your brewing.
I hope you can incorporate some of these tips on learning more of your beers, and how to give help and opinions on others.