banner 4. New methods of sensory evaluation: Their implications and applications for drinkability assessment and beer–food pairing based upon statistical and consumer studies

A. G. BARLOW (1); (1) ALL BEER, Sheffield, U.K.

Technical Session 1 - Sensory
Sunday, June 14
10:15 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Fiesta 3,4,6,8

Beer flavor is increasingly important as a method for communicating brand virtues to trade customers and consumers. Master Brewer Alex Barlow designed an evaluation system (ALL BEER Flavor Notepad, ABFN) to assess beer flavor, which results in empirical results for beer balance and flavor intensity and could form a simple, useful system to communicate beer attributes for trade and consumer benefit. The integrity and usefulness of this system was put to scientific test by Nottingham University using PCA and statistical methods, the results were presented in widely acclaimed posters at WBC 2012 and EBC 2013. The objective of the most recent study is to carry out consumer trials on beer–cheese pairings and to assess whether any wider beer–food pairing rules may be determined. Cheese was selected as a suitable food for pairing due to its broad range of styles, flavors, textures, and ad hoc appreciation of beer and cheese matches. ABFN was adjusted to suit food groups and capture details of cheese production, after which some 50 cheeses were tasted to determine category differentiation for aroma, taste, and mouthfeel and to suggest suitable beer pairings, from experience. Certain of these cheeses and suggested beers were subjected to consumer testing (n = 132–134) scoring hedonic liking of beer and cheeses alone and in combination as pairings over two sessions. Within each session, three beers and cheeses were evaluated using a 9 point hedonic scale. Consumers were asked to rate the balance of the beer–cheese pairings using 5 point JAR scales. Demographics were recorded via questionnaire. Mean liking was calculated for each individual beer, cheese, and the beer–cheese pairings. Overall, hedonic scores for the cheese alone were reduced when paired with any of the beers. Clustering of consumers dependent on their demographic and common beer/cheese consumption type was performed, providing a further insight into the hedonic results. These results will be presented and discussed in the context of consumer liking of beer–cheese pairings. There is increasing interest worldwide in flavorsome and crafted beverages, notably beer. As this interest grows the place for beer at the dinner table is increasingly open; however there have been few studies into beer–food pairing or insights into techniques that can offer practical help to brewers, retailers, and consumers who are interested in this field. We believe the insights afforded by these studies offer opportunity for improved flavor evaluation and combination methodologies.

Alex Barlow was brought up in Chester in northwest England and in Zambia, Africa. His 25 years of experience in brewing and passion for beer started as a bar and cellarman in his local pub, before studying for two medical sciences degrees. He learned brewing skills at Bass’ U.K. breweries, becoming the youngest qualified master brewer in 1991, before moving to police beer quality in the pubs and clubs of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, and northeast England. He became the first Englishman to manage a Czech brewery, with Staropramen in Prague, and developed two new beer brands while gaining a taste for European beer styles. Alex is an independent brewing and flavor consultant, presenter, and sommelier. He is director of training for The Beer Academy and regularly judges international beer competitions and presents beer experience events in the United Kingdom, Europe, and North America to consumer audiences and beer retailers. Alex is the author of the ALL BEER Guide, winner of four international awards, and has contributed to many publications. Alex provides independent beer evaluations and food pairings for and continues to research beer sensory projects with the Nottingham University Brewing School. 

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