Body and Mouthfeel

What are body and mouthfeel? What a great question. Just about everyone asks this, and guess what? This question may be on your exam!!!

T3. What are body and mouthfeel? Explain how the brewer controls body and mouthfeel in his/her beer.


The body of a beer is characterized as the fullness of the flavor and mouthfeel, and descriptors range from watery or characterless to satiating or thick. Body is technically separate from mouthfeel, which encompasses physical sensations such as astringency, alcoholic warmth and carbonation, but the combination determines how the beer stimulates the palate. The body is determined by the levels of dextrins and medium-length proteins. Lack of dextrins is caused by low saccharification temperatures, excessive use of adjuncts or by highly attenuative yeast strains. A low protein level may be caused by excessively long protein rests, excessive fining or the addition of large amounts of fermentable sugars. Light body is appropriate in American light lagers and lambics, but not in malt-accented styles such as barleywines and doppelbocks.

John Palmer's book "How To Brew" has a great discussion on Body and mouthfeel (Page 240-241 in the 3rd edition).
This book is one every brewer should have and is an important source for any brewer, especially one who is seeking to advance their knowledge.

This is a great article to help you comprehend body and mouthfeel.

Beer Tasting Tips - Judging Mouthfeel

Relevance Key: the following is from
O: Odor
T: Taste
M: Mouthfeel
W: Warming
Af: After flavor

Class 13 - Mouthfeel

  • 1310 Alkaline TMAf Flavor imparted by accidental admixture of alkaline detergent.
  • 1320 Mouthcoating MAf Creamy, 'onctueux' (Fr.).
  • 1330 Metallic OTMAf Iron, rusty water, coins, tinny, inky.
  • 1340 Astringent MAf Mouth puckering, puckery, tannin-like, tart
    • 1341 Drying MAf Unsweet.
  • 1350 Powdery O Dusty cushion, irritating (with 0310 Grainy) mill room smell. TM Chalky, particulate, scratchy, silicate-like, siliceous.
  • 1360 Carbonation M CO2 content.
    • 1361 Flat M Under carbonated.
    • 1362 Gassy M Over carbonated.
  • 1370 Warming WMAf See also 0110 Alcoholic and 0111 Spicy.
    • 0110 Alcoholic OTW The general effect of ethanol and higher alcohols
    • 0111 Spicy OTW Allspice, nutmeg, peppery, eugenol. See also 1003 Vanilla
    • 0112 Vinous OTW Bouquet, fusely, wine-like (White wine)


  • 0420 Burnt OTM Scorched aroma, dry mouthfeel and sharp acrid taste.
    • 0421 Bread-crust OTM Charred toast.
    • 0422 Roast-barley OTM Chocolate malt.
  • 0630 Rancid OT Oxidative rancidity.
    • 0631 Rancid oil OTM Oxidative rancidity.
  • 0640 Oily
    • 0641 Vegetable oil OTM As in refined vegetable oil.
    • 0642 Mineral oil OTM Gasoline (petrol), kerosene (paraffin), machine oil.
  • 0800 Stale OTM Old beer, overaged, overpasteurized.
  • 1005 Syrupy OTM Clear (golden) syrup

Class 14 - Fullness (Body)

  • 1410 Body OTM Fullness of flavor and mouthfeel.
    • 1411 Watery TM Thin, seemingly diluted.
    • 1412 Characterless OTM Bland, empty, flavorless.
    • 1413 Satiating OTM Extra-full, filling.
    • 1414 Thick TM Viscous, 'epais' (Fr.).