Exploring new sensory methods of assessing beers, ciders and other alcoholic beverages

Project team: Javier Gomez-Lopez
Member funded research project
Running: Jan 2015 – Dec 2017
Steering MIG: Brewing and fermented alcoholic beverages
Project Number: 135195
Proposal documentation

Alcoholic beverages have been in existence for centuries but over the last 50 years sensory science has provided guidance and protocols to lead tastings. There are a wide range of sensory techniques available to sensory scientists, each with advantages and disadvantages depending upon the type of product being assessed and its sensory complexity. Traditionally sensory teams within UK breweries have focused almost exclusively on difference testing, using triangle tests, and/or relatively basic profiling often using a small number of sensory attributes to evaluate 'trueness to type'. Whilst this works reasonably well for quality assurance/control in, for example, new product development, where a benchmark product is not necessarily available these techniques are not fit for purpose.

In terms of new sensory methodologies beer provides a number of challenges due to its inherent and often complex characteristics (e.g. assessing bitterness, linger) and limits on the volume of product that can be consumed during trials. These challenges make some sensory techniques very suitable and other, equally valid, techniques unworkable. This project will evaluate these techniques and provide an analysis of their suitability and feasibility within a brewing environment.

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