Words are hard. I don't know who to attribute that to, but it rings true every time I try to define what tastes are present in a beer.
I've had over 2,200 different craft beers, but can really only qualify my taste in beers as good, bad, excellent, or even ugly. On occasion, I can pick out some notes: citrus v bitter hops or if a beer is full of malt. Sometimes if there are some strong aromatic or upfront flavors being featured in the beer, my amateur palate can pick up on these. The problem lies in the subtle flavors.
There are many people out there that I follow that have much more refined palates than I do and can detect these subtle flavors. They can taste the flavors throughout the entirety of their palate and their brains are able to identify specific tastes. I am stuck over here with the basic tastes of Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Salty, and the recently adopted Umami (Savory or Meaty).
I do like to read about others descriptions of a beer. It is not only interesting, but it is also responsible for making my mouth water. Then when I sit down with a beer and try to pick out the subtle flavors...I am stumped. The signals must get crossed by the time they reach my brain. This happens to a lesser extent with food, so maybe when flavors are in liquid form my palate has not been educated enough yet.
This is one of the reasons why I want to look into the Cicerone program- or even more interesting to me- the Beer Judge Certification Program. I will sometimes use their app on my phone while drinking a beer to compare it to the specific style. The app is available on both IOS (BJCP ) and Android (BJCP).
Maybe many of you are like me or you have a more refined palate, but either way it is fun to explore the world of craft beer!
Keep on educating your palates through drinking unique and delicious craft beer!