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


This book discusses specific testing protocols, techniques, taster training, maintaining a panel, and necessary equipment.

Item No. 69671
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By Pat Fahey

Based in Chicago, Pat Fahey works for the Cicerone® Certification Program managing exam content, developing educational material, and administering training across the nation. 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 passed the Master Cicerone® exam, becoming one of 16 Master Cicerones in the world and the youngest to ever pass the exam, and in 2014 was named one of Wine Enthusiast's Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers.

The human perception of flavor and aroma is incredibly complex and impacts daily decision making in the brewery. No amount of elaborate equipment can replace the valuable human tasting experience and a sensory program can offer a powerful quality check on your outgoing beer and beermaking process. Building a Sensory Program will discuss specific testing protocols, techniques, taster training, maintaining a panel, and necessary equipment. Learn about different testing methods, data use, and how to use sensory to adjust recipes and build or blend new beers.

There is much that a small brewery can do to improve the quality of their beer using resources already at their disposal. A thoughtful, well-designed sensory program is an essential component of brewery quality control. It will 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 recall. Building a Sensory Program will provide the reader a bedrock for an intelligently designed quality sensory program.

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




Chapter 1

The Value of a Sensory Program

The Goal of Your Sensory Program
Quality Control

     Quality Defined
     Instrumental Quality Control
     Sensory Quality Control

Beyond Quality Control
Building a Culture of Sensory
Best Practices and Principles for Running a Sensory Program
Developing Your Own Sensory Philosophy

Chapter 2

The Senses: How Flavor is Made

The Sense of Taste

     Anatomy of the Tongue
     Basic Tastes
     Other Elements Influencing Taste Perception

The Sense of Smell

     Aroma Thresholds
     Orthonasal and Retronasal Detection

The Sense of Touch

     Alcohol Warmth
     Foam Volume and Quality
     Other Sensations

The Sense of Sight

The Sense of Sound

Chapter 3

Bias and the Brain

How Bias Occurs
Confirmation Biases

     Expectation Error
     Selective Perception
     Avoiding Confirmation Biases
     Mutual Suggestion

Information Errors

     Logical Error
     Halo Effect

Presentation Order Biases and Effects

     Contrast Effect
     Pattern Effect
     First Sample Effect
     Limiting Presentation Order Effects

Other Biases and Effects

     Default Effect
     IKEA Effect
     Lack of Motivation

Panel Leader Biases

Chapter 4

Sensory Evaluation Techniques

Types of Sensory Data
Assessment Techniques

     Visual Assessment
     Visual Assessment Standards
     Aroma Assessment
     Aroma Assessment Standards
     Recognition Training and Testing
     Tasting Assessment
     Taste Assessment Standards
     Mouthfeel Assessment
     Mouthfeel Assessment Standards

Chapter 5

Beer Flavor

Ingredient Flavor Descriptors

     Malt-Derived Flavor
     Hop-Derived Flavor
     Fermentation-Derived Flavor
     Water-Derived Flavor
     Other Flavors

Specific Attributes

     Organic Acids
     Sulfur Compounds
     Tetrahydropyridine (THP)
     Oxidation Flavors

Chapter 6

Quality Control Tests

The True-to-Target Test
Analyzing True-to-Target Data
Analyzing Data with a Small Panel

Chapter 7

Affective, Descriptive, and Difference Tests

Basic Statistics and Experimental Design

     Decision Errors
     Setting Action Standards

Affective Tests

     Acceptance Test (Hedonic Test)
     Preference Test
     Ranking Test

Descriptive Tests

     Description Test

Difference Tests

     Types of Difference Tests
     Triangle Test
     Tetrad Test

Statistical Analysis of Difference Tests

     Hypothesis Testing
     Alpha and Beta Risk
     Balancing Alpha and Beta
     Similarity Testing: How Large of a Difference is Acceptable?
     Using Statistical Reference Tables

Chapter 8

Planning, Equipment, and Best Practices

Creating a Space

     Testing Room Considerations
     Preparation Room Considerations

Supply Considerations

     Sample Prep Supplies
     Panel Administration Supplies
     Panel Booth Supplies

Managing Data
Conducting a Session

     Panel Timing
     Sample Preparation
     How Many Samples to Serve
     Warm Up and Presentation of Samples
     Ensuring Panelist Safety

Chapter 9

Selecting, Training, and Maintaining Panelists

Panelist Selection

     Understanding Panelist Differences
     What if You Have a Low-Acuity Panelist?
     How Many Panelists Do You Need?

Panelist Training

     General Knowledge and Skills
     Brand Training
     Flavor Training
     Attribute Training

Panelist Maintenance

     Upkeep Training
     Maintaining Panelist Motivation

Chapter 10

Product Release Panels

Developing Brand Targets
Testing Packaged and In-Process Beer

     Assessing Bright Tank Beer with TTT Spot Checks
     Monitoring Additional Process Points
     Maintaining Panelist Focus

Product Release Action Standards

     Verify Results
     What Next If a Batch Has Failed?

Chapter 11

Beyond Beer Release

Maintaining a Beer Library
Determining Shelf Life

     Shelf Life Sensory Testing Challenges
     Shelf Life True-to-Target Test

Chapter 12

Applying Sensory to Recipes and Ingredients

Raw Material Sensory Testing

     Carbon Dioxide
     Other Raw Materials

Recipe Adjustment
Process Adjustment

Chapter 13

Building New Beers

Defining and Shaping a New Brand
Designing Your Product Development Process
Building a Target Profile

Chapter 14

Blending Wood-Aged Beer

Sending Beer to Wood
Treating Oak as an Ingredient
Tasting In-Process Beer

     Taking Notes
     Using Multiple Tasters
     Logistical Considerations

Blending Beer

     Different Approaches to Blending
     Tasting Warm, Flat Beer

Finding Your Philosophy

Chapter 15

The Road Ahead

Appendix A – Rank-Sum Test Statistical Tables

Appendix B – Triangle Test and Tetrad Test Statistical Tables

Appendix C – Sample Ballots for Sensory Tests

Product Release True-to-Target (TTT) Test
Shelf Life True-to-Target (TTT) Test
Bright Tank Spot Check True-to-Target (TTT) Test
Acceptance (Hedonic) Test
Preference Test
Ranking Test
Description Test
Single Attribute Scaling Test
Triangle Test
Tetrad Test



Publish Date: 2021
Format: 8.5” x 11” softcover
Pages: 196
Publication Weight: 2 lbs

By Pat Fahey

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

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