Transcript of "Development And Practical Implementation Of Competency Based Standards For Professional Beer Tasters"
WORLD BREWING CONGRESS 2008
194 August 2 – 6, 2008
DEVELOPMENT AND PRACTICAL IMPLEMENTATION OF COMPETENCY-BASED Hawaii Convention Center
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
STANDARDS FOR PROFESSIONAL BEER TASTERS
(Bill Simpson, Ronald Nixdorf, Boris Gadzov, Javier Gomez-Lopez, and Evelyne Canterranne, FlavorActiV Limited, Chinnor, UK)
1 3 5 6
Introduction Defining taster competence Developing the chosen few Evaluating taster performance
Without a clear idea of the job that tasters have to do and the skills We employ a modular approach to training seven types of professional We have been involved in operating proficiency testing schemes for
Objective evaluation of flavour is one of the most critical
and behaviours needed, the chances of success are limited. A beer taster. Training is organized into a taster ‘career path’. professional beer tasters for more than a decade. Our Taster Validation
quality assurance tests carried out on final-pack and in-
competence guide can be a helpful tool in defining skills needs. Schemes assess the ability of tasters to identify individual flavour
process beer. The reliability of such tests depends on the Figure 3. A modular taster ‘career path’.
compounds in beer at low concentration. The principle of the
competence and number of assessors used to evaluate Table 1. Competence guide for acceptance / warehouse release taster
assessment is shown in Figure 4.
each sample. As with all skills, aptitude and performance
Specific outcome Assessment criteria Assessment tools Taint net
varies and must be managed proactively. Taster
Figure 4. Principle of assessment of flavour recognition performance.
Consistently rate Statistical evaluation of data derived Basic statistical
Historically, beer tasters developed their skills over many commercial beer from routine taste sessions (including methods In-process
To date we have
years, building up experience in day to day brewery tasting . At times in acceptability using a both regular and ‘spiked’ samples) Specific
collected more than
defined scale Basic Training
the past, an erroneous link has been implied between taster status -
18 million data points
Correctly identify specific Statistical evaluation of data derived Basic statistical Specific
job title or number of years’ service – and tasting ability. In our Basic Training
non-conformances in beer from routine taste sessions (including methods Modules
using this system. This
experience this is rarely a reliable indicator of taster performance so Global /
flavour both regular and ‘spiked’ samples) Intermediate Advanced Expert
Selection Screening Basic Training
Training Training Training
we have developed and deployed a competence-based approach to Taster
Taste six samples in 20 Time to complete test Visual observation or assessment of close
professional beer tasting. minutes computer-based Screening
to 200,000 beer
samples per year by
Different needs – different tasters
Conform to good sensory Shows interest in and enthusiasm for On the job evaluation,
practices in and out of the the activities of the taste panel; shows peer review, one to Specific
taste room sensitivity to the risk of bias in other one reviews assessors in more
A typical modern brewery evaluates about 10,000 discrete beer assessors; recognizes the risks involved
than 100 countries.
samples every year. The methods used for these tests range from in professional beer tasting and takes all Shelf life
Taster performance, in terms of recognition success, is graded on a
reasonable steps to minimize them
simple to complex. Consequently the skills of the tasters needed to
percentage scale. The performance of assessors participating in one of
perform such tests range from novice to expert.
4 Choosing the right people our schemes in the last 12 months is summarized in Figure 5.
To facilitate rapid skills development, maintain a high level of
Figure 1. Categories of tasters deployed in commercial breweries
involvement and interest, and address skills fade we employ more Figure 5.
It all starts with selection. Each taster in the scheme
than 30 types of training session. These include: Recognition tests, performed a blind assessment on
A good selection process (i) Eliminates those
36 samples during the year
of tasters in
Brand Matching tests, Flavour Matching tests, Stop-Go tests, True-False
whose health may be put at risk by tasting; (ii)
one of our
Eliminates those who lack the necessary time or tests, Ranking tests, Rating tests, Rank-Rating tests, Quality Rating
interest and (iii) Communicates to candidates the tests, Short-Form Descriptive Profiling, Detailed Descriptive Profiling validation
potential benefits of participation. We use
and Warehouse Release / Acceptance tests. schemes over
standardized questionnaires delivered over the
a 12 month
web . Acceptance rates average 80%.
Table 2. Training times for different types of professional beer taster
Figure 2. Distribution of scores from screening of
Type of taster Training time required
210 candidate assessors
Response to training is a In-process 5 - 7 hours per process area
Data represents 210 selected candidate
good measure of
Acceptance / warehouse release 35 hours
assessors from seven brewing companies
aptitude. A three-part
% of screened candidates
Shelf-life 35 hours
screening method allows us to
Taint net 21 hours
identify those with the greatest
Reject Trials 35 – 70 hours, depending on tests Competency-based skills development provides an effective way of
aptitude for tasting. With few
Descriptive profiling 70 – 110 hours, depending on number of attributes
exceptions only selected
Given the range of test difficulty, it follows that selection, screening training professional beer tasters. Selection and screening of
candidates are screened. The
and training of tasters should be test-specific. The major assessors before training substantially improves training outcomes.
proportion of assessors in each
requirements for breweries lie in the area of acceptance / warehouse Nevertheless there is no room for complacency. More than half the
Success rates for this type of approach are high. Typically 98% of
screening category is shown in
release tasting and in-process tasting. Descriptive panels are the 0
professional tasters currently being deployed by breweries have
selected, screened trainees reach the required standard of 80%. The
Figure 2. Acceptance rates
0-10 10-20 20-30 30-40 40-50 50-60 60-70 70-80 80-90 90-100
domain of larger sites, head office, and outsourced activities. substantial opportunities available to them for skills improvement.
deployment and retention rate for trained tasters approaches 100%.
% performance score achieved in screening (based on 21
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