It's certainly a dilemma that I have, trying to record and describe the taste characteristics of beer objectively. Those familiar with British TV and with the wine journalist Jilly Goulden might be tempted to inject some of her spirit into the proceedings and use adjectives like 'rubber tyres' and 'sweaty socks' but for me such outlandish descriptions never quite work, so I was very glad to discover the Beer Academy's Beer Flavour Wheel. The Beer Academy, started by The Beer Education Trust, offers courses on a wide range of beer education topics:
"Beer is a wildly sensuous brew, but most drinkers fail to appreciate the massive range of colours, styles, flavours, textures, carbonations and abvs now available in Britain. This is something the Beer Academy is determined to help change.Over 100 different flavours, in beers from around the world, have been identified by flavour experts. These flavours have been arranged in the form of the Flavour Wheel. A sort of cross between a pie-chart and a list. I hope that, like me, you will find this a useful tool. The wheel can be found at the website of The Beer Academy.
These flavour terms are used by beer tasters internationally to describe the beer flavour and to control product consistency. In fact it was such a good idea that is has now been stolen by the wine and whisky industries who have developed their own flavour wheels!