Maybe it is just because I am not a native Wnglish speaker, but I do not exactly know the meaning of those two words. What do aroma and flavor mean, what do they refer to and what is the difference between the two?

  • I think your Wnglish is pretty good!
    – mdma
    Jan 18, 2013 at 15:47

2 Answers 2


An biology take on it:

Aroma: Perceived through your nose

Flavor: Mostly perceived through your tongue although the aroma also helps your brain on forming the overall impression (think how things taste 'bland' when your have a flu and your nose is blocked)


In terms of the basic senses, flavor comes from the sense of taste, which is primarily from the tongue. There are 5 types of flavor the tongue can detect: sweet, sour, salt, bitter and savory (the last one is a relatively new discovery.) Our sense of smell can detect an almost infinite number of different smells, since a single smell is really a combination of scents (e.g. the smell of blackberries is at least 63 different compounds in a specific proportion.)

But quite often something you taste also has an aroma which you smell at the same time. So when you put something in your mouth recognize it, such as an apple, it's often the combination of the taste and the smell that you perceive.

With regards to beer, many of the things we taste also have an aroma, which helps influence how we perceive it when we drink the beer, so for things like malt and hops, the aroma and taste sometimes go hand in hand.

There are also things that have relatively little aroma compared to their strong taste, such as water salts, Maillard reaction compounds from browning the malt, bittering acids from the hops (and to some extent, the hop oils that give flavor). So, aroma alone cannot give the complete picture - which I guess is one reason we also drink the beer and not just sit around sniffing it!

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