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Building a Sensory Program: A Brewer's Guide to Beer Evaluation

Building a Sensory Program: A Brewer's Guide to Beer Evaluation

by Pat Fahey


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Human flavor perception is incredibly complex and impacts daily decision making in the brewery. No amount of elaborate equipment can replace the value of the human tasting experience and a sensory program can offer a powerful quality check on both your outgoing beer and beermaking process. Building a Sensory Program will discuss sensory systems, sources of bias, tasting techniques, required equipment, taster training, and panel maintenance. Learn about different testing methods, data use, and how to use sensory to respond to consumer complaints, set shelf life, adjust recipes, design new brands, and blend barrel-aged beer. There is much that a small brewery can do to improve the quality and consistency of their beer using resources already at their disposal. A thoughtful, well-designed sensory program is an essential component of brewery quality control, helping to ensure beer tastes the way it was designed, time after time. The commitment to high-quality standards set during development can help prevent flavor drift or even a costly recall. Building a Sensory Program will provide the reader with a bedrock for an intelligently designed brewery sensory program.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781938469671
Publisher: Brewers Publications
Publication date: 04/12/2021
Pages: 300
Product dimensions: 8.44(w) x 11.02(h) x 0.53(d)

About the Author

Based in Chicago, Pat Fahey works for the Cicerone® Certification Program managing exam content, developing educational material, and administering training around the world. Pat also regularly speaks at conferences, judges at the Great American Beer Festival®, and contributes as a member of the Beer & Food Working Group. In May of 2013, he became the youngest person to ever pass the Master Cicerone® exam, and today is one of 19 Master Cicerones in the world.

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 The Value of a Sensory Program 5

The Goal of Your Sensory Program 6

Quality Control 6

Quality Defined 6

Instrumental Quality Control 7

Sensory Quality Control 8

Beyond Quality Control 9

Building a Culture of Sensory 9

Best Practices and Principles for Running a Sensory Program 10

Developing Your Own Sensory Philosophy 11

Chapter 2 The Senses: How Flavor is Made 13

The Sense of Taste 14

Anatomy of the Tongue 14

Basic Tastes 14

Other Elements influencing Taste Perception 20

The Sense of Smell 21

Aroma Thresholds 22

Orthonasal and Retronasal Detection 23

The Sense of Touch 24

Body 24

Carbonation 24

Alcohol Warmth 25

Astringency 25

Metallic 25

Capsaicin 25

Foam Volume and Quality 26

Other Sensations 26

The Sense of Sight 26

The Sense of Sound 27

Chapter 3 Bias and the Brain 29

How Bias Occurs 30

Confirmation Biases 30

Expectation Error 31

Selective Perception 31

Avoiding Confirmation Biases 31

Mutual Suggestion 31

Information Errors 32

Logical Error 32

Halo Effect 32

Presentation Order Biases and Effects 33

Contrast Effect 33

Pattern Effect 34

First Sample Effect 34

Limiting Presentation Order Effects 34

Other Biases and Effects 35

Default Effect 35

IKEA Effect 35

Lack of Motivation 35

Panel Leader Biases 35

Chapter 4 Sensory Evaluation Techniques 39

Types of Sensory Data 39

Assessment Techniques 40

Visual Assessment 42

Visual Assessment Standards 43

Aroma Assessment 43

Aroma Assessment Standards 45

Recognition Training and Testing 48

Tasting Assessment 48

Taste Assessment Standards 49

Mouthfeel Assessment 50

Mouthfeel Assessment Standards 52

Chapter 5 Beer Flavor 55

Ingredient Flavor Descriptors 57

Malt-Derived Flavor 57

Hop-Derived Flavor 58

Fermentation-Derived Flavor 59

Water-Derived Flavor 60

Other Flavors 60

Specific Attributes 60

Diacetyl 61

Acetaldehyde 62

Organic Acids 62

Sulfur Compounds 64

Esters 65

Tetrahydropyridine (THP) 66

Metallic 67

Oxidation Flavors 67

Chapter 6 Quality Control Tests 71

The True-to-Target Test 73

Analyzing True-to-Target Data 74

Analyzing Data with a Small Panel 77

Chapter 7 Affective, Descriptive, and Difference Tests 79

Basic Statistics and Experimental Design 79

Decision Errors 80

Setting Action Standards 82

Affective Tests 83

Acceptance Test (Hedonic Test) 84

Preference Test 84

Ranking Test 85

Descriptive Tests 86

Description Test 87

Difference Tests 88

Types of Difference Tests 89

Triangle Test 89

Tetrad Test 89

Statistical Analysis of Difference Tests 90

Hypothesis Testing 90

Alpha and Beta Risk 91

Balancing Alpha and Beta 92

Similarity Testing: How Large of a Difference is Acceptable? 93

Using Statistical Reference Tables 93

Chapter 8 Planning, Equipment, and Best Practices 97

Creatinq a Space 97

Location 97

Testing Room Considerations 98

Preparation Room Considerations 99

Supply Considerations 99

Sample Prep Supplies 99

Panel Administration Supplies 99

Panel Booth Supplies 100

Managing Data 101

Conducting a Session 101

Panel Timing 101

Sample Preparation 102

How Many Samples to Serve 103

Warm Up and Presentation of Samples 103

Ensuring Panelist Safety 104

Chapter 9 Selecting, Training, and Maintaining Panelists 107

Panelist Selection 107

Understanding Panelist Differences 108

What if You Have a Low-Acuity Panelist? 109

How Many Panelists Do You Need? 110

Panelist Training 110

General Knowledge and Skills 110

Brand Training 112

Flavor Training 113

Attribute Training 114

Panelist Maintenance 115

Upkeep Training 115

Maintaining Panelist Motivation 116

Chapter 10 Product Release Panels 119

Developing Brand Targets 119

Testing Packaged and In-Process Beer 120

Assessing Bright Tank Beer with TTT Spot Checks 121

Monitoring Additional Process Points 121

Maintaining Panelist Focus 122

Product Release Action Standards 122

Verify Results 122

What Next If a Batch Has Failed? 123

Chapter 11 Beyond Beer Release 127

Maintaining a Beer Library 127

Determining Shelf Life 129

Shelf Life Sensory Testing Challenges 120

Shelf Life True-to-Target Test 131

Chapter 12 Applying Sensory to Recipes and Ingredients 135

Raw Material Sensory Testing 136

Malt 136

Hops 137

Yeast 138

Water 138

Carbon Dioxide 138

Other Raw Materials 139

Recipe Adjustment 140

Process Adjustment 141

Chapter 13 Building New Beers 143

Defining and Shaping a New Brand 143

Designing Your Product Development Process 144

Building a Target Profile 145

Chapter 14 Blending Wood-Aged Beer 147

Sending Beer to Wood 148

Treating Oak as an Ingredient 148

Tasting In-Process Beer 149

Taking Notes 149

Using Multiple Tasters 151

Logistical Considerations 151

Blending Beer 153

Different Approaches to Blending 154

Tasting Warm, Flat Beer 157

Finding Your Philosophy 158

Chapter 15 The Road Ahead 161

Appendix A Rank-Sum Test Statistical Tables 163

Appendix B Triangle Test and Tetrad Test Statistical Tables 167

Appendix C Sample Ballots for Sensory Tests 173

Product Release True-to-Target (TTT) Test 174

Shelf Life True-to-Target (TTT) Test 175

Bright Tank Spot Check True-to-Target (TTT) Test 176

Acceptance (Hedonic) Test 176

Preference Test 177

Ranking Test 177

Description Test 178

Single Attribute Scaling Test 179

Triangle Test 179

Tetrad Test 179

Bibliography 181

Index 189

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