If you are like me, you might have tasted a familiar flavor in beer but couldn't quite put your finger on it. This gap between "I know what that flavor is" and "I don't know the word for that flavor" happens because our experiences are implicit (processed unconsciously), while our expressions are explicit (processed consciously). To improve how we describe beer, making unconscious experiences conscious is the key. Here are 3 ways to improve your skills to describe beer:
Quiz yourself. Wherever you are with your articulation, you can start quizzing yourself with what you smell and taste throughout the day. What's in your juice? Is it apple or pear? What spices are used in your muffin? Is it cinnamon, nutmeg, or both? How can you tell if your sandwich is made with rye bread and not wheat bread? By quizzing and calibrating, you can improve your beer descriptions.
Dig into your memory. When you have a "I know what that flavor is" moment, dig into your memory. Is it reminding you of your grandmother's holiday cookies? What spices does she use? When you use your own memory as an example, you can learn faster.
Space your experimentations. As much as we like to think otherwise, our brain gets overwhelmed rather easily. Instead of having one long "sensory training" session, break it down to short and frequent sessions. This allows your brain to fully process your experience and convert it to your knowledge.
I hope these evidence-based tips help you to elevate your beer experience!