Bill Simpson ,  <ul><li>A rose by any other name  The importance of beer flavor terms in modern brewery operations </li></...
<ul><li>“ All flavor terms are created equal ... </li></ul>.... but some are more equal than others”
<ul><li>The International beer flavor terminology system </li></ul><ul><li>Issues to watch out for when choosing flavor te...
<ul><li>Developed 30 years ago by a joint working group of the ASBC, EBC and MBAA </li></ul><ul><li>Identifies 122 flavor ...
<ul><li>The beer flavor wheel is intended to act as a memory aid </li></ul><ul><li>A way of putting flavors into groups </...
Beer  flavors  Acetaldehyde Acetic Astringent Bitter Bromophenol Burnt rubber Butyric Caprylic Caramel Chlorophenol Citrus...
<ul><li>Trained tasters can identify and scale a wide variety of specific chemicals in beer </li></ul><ul><li>Their abilit...
<ul><li>Issues to consider when choosing flavor terms </li></ul>
<ul><li>In a brewery quality management context, flavor names should be action-orientated </li></ul><ul><li>Brewers should...
<ul><li>International beer flavor terminology system allows for use of apple (0142) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethyl hexanoate ...
<ul><li>A construct is a general term which represents a category of flavors - the combination of two or more specific att...
<ul><li>Some terms have great potential for confusion, especially when used in different countries </li></ul><ul><li>Elimi...
<ul><li>Some flavor terms have an embedded emotional component – they make us feel a certain way when we read them or use ...
<ul><li>When tasters lack confidence in identification of a particular flavor they will seek a safe haven </li></ul><ul><l...
<ul><li>Most breweries have at least one ghost on their taste ballot </li></ul><ul><li>This is a flavor that </li></ul><ul...
<ul><li>Terms chosen for quality assurance purposes in the brewery need certain characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>The char...
<ul><li>Some flavor terms take the easy way out - rather than describe the flavor, they try to say what it resembles </li>...
<ul><li>Some terms have a scaling component embedded within them </li></ul><ul><li>These are difficult to use with a ratin...
<ul><li>Some flavor terms have an temporal or time component </li></ul><ul><li>Examples include </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Af...
<ul><li>Some flavor terms have an hedonic component embedded in them – they indicate that the taster likes or dislikes the...
<ul><li>Ideal flavor terms </li></ul>
<ul><li>Attributes should represent distinct flavors and not groups of flavors </li></ul><ul><li>Each one should be clearl...
Examples of  ideal  flavor terms Ideal Acetaldehyde Acetic Chlorophenol Ethyl hexanoate Diacetyl Isoamyl acetate Almost id...
<ul><li>Ambiguous names </li></ul><ul><li>Evocative names </li></ul><ul><li>Names which reference other products </li></ul...
<ul><li>Flavor names matter </li></ul><ul><li>The choices we make in selecting flavor attributes for our tasting ballots a...
 
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A rose by any other name - the importance of beer flavor terms in modern brewery operations

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Paper presented to the 2009 Convention of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas, La Quinta, California, USA - 2 October 2009

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A rose by any other name - the importance of beer flavor terms in modern brewery operations

  1. 1. Bill Simpson , <ul><li>A rose by any other name The importance of beer flavor terms in modern brewery operations </li></ul>FlavorActiV Limited, Chinnor, UK www.flavoractiv.com Co-authors Boris Gadzov Evelyne Canterranne Javier Gomez-Lopez Ronald Nixdorf Richard Boughton 2009 Convention October 1-4, 2009 La Quinta Resort & Club La Quinta, California
  2. 2. <ul><li>“ All flavor terms are created equal ... </li></ul>.... but some are more equal than others”
  3. 3. <ul><li>The International beer flavor terminology system </li></ul><ul><li>Issues to watch out for when choosing flavor terms for your ballot </li></ul><ul><li>Ideal terms </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Developed 30 years ago by a joint working group of the ASBC, EBC and MBAA </li></ul><ul><li>Identifies 122 flavor notes </li></ul><ul><li>Organizes them into 14 classes </li></ul><ul><li>Assigns a unique four-digit code to each </li></ul><ul><li>System has stood the test of time and remains widely used </li></ul><ul><li>Nevertheless breweries often retain at least some ‘pet’ descriptors on their taste ballots </li></ul>The International Beer Flavor Terminology system
  5. 5. <ul><li>The beer flavor wheel is intended to act as a memory aid </li></ul><ul><li>A way of putting flavors into groups </li></ul><ul><li>It expands to show 44 of the 122 terms on the International flavor terminology system </li></ul><ul><li>A useful ‘marketing device’ for the terminology system </li></ul>Beer flavor wheel
  6. 6. Beer flavors Acetaldehyde Acetic Astringent Bitter Bromophenol Burnt rubber Butyric Caprylic Caramel Chlorophenol Citrus ‘ Cooked’ Diacetyl DMS Earthy Ethyl acetate Ethyl butyrate Ethyl hexanoate Floral Grainy Grapefruit H 2 S Honey Indole Isoamyl acetate Isovaleric Leathery Malty Mercaptan Metallic Methional Mouldy ‘ Yeast bite’ Worty Woody ‘ Trubby’ Sweet Solvent alcoholic Smoky Rotten vegetable Phenolic (4-VG) Musty
  7. 7. <ul><li>Trained tasters can identify and scale a wide variety of specific chemicals in beer </li></ul><ul><li>Their ability to do this can be verified in blind tests with reference standards </li></ul><ul><li>The best can do this for 40+ flavors with 99%+ accuracy </li></ul><ul><li>Training people to do this is made easier by using good flavor terms – bad terms impede learning </li></ul>The taster as a machine
  8. 8. <ul><li>Issues to consider when choosing flavor terms </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>In a brewery quality management context, flavor names should be action-orientated </li></ul><ul><li>Brewers should be able to improve their beers because of the information conveyed by them </li></ul><ul><li>Remove non-actionable terms from your taste ballots </li></ul>A is for action Actionable Non-actionable Isoamyl acetate ‘ Estery – fruity’ Diacetyl ‘ Buttery’ Isovaleric Fatty acid Astringent ‘ Tea bag’
  10. 10. <ul><li>International beer flavor terminology system allows for use of apple (0142) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethyl hexanoate (0132)? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Acetaldehyde (0150)? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2-Methylbutyl isobutyrate? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All of them? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Something else? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Remove ambiguous terms from your taste ballots - use one term for each flavour </li></ul>A is for ambiguity
  11. 11. <ul><li>A construct is a general term which represents a category of flavors - the combination of two or more specific attributes </li></ul><ul><li>Constructs are challenging for assessors to score and difficult to do something about in the brewery </li></ul><ul><li>Remove them from your taste ballot </li></ul>C is for construct Construct Attribute Estery Isoamyl acetate, ethyl acetate Fatty acid Caprylic, isovaleric, butyric Sulfury H 2 S, mercaptan, lightstruck Worty Bitter, DMS, grainy, methional
  12. 12. <ul><li>Some terms have great potential for confusion, especially when used in different countries </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminate potentially confusing terms from your taste ballots </li></ul><ul><li>Where this is not possible put extra emphasis on assessor training for those characteristics </li></ul>C is for confusion ‘ Wet dog’ Boiled, fried, or baked? Cooked onion
  13. 13. <ul><li>Some flavor terms have an embedded emotional component – they make us feel a certain way when we read them or use them </li></ul><ul><li>These reactions often have a cultural context </li></ul><ul><li>Where available, choose words for taste ballots that don’t trigger an emotional response </li></ul>E is for evocative Evocative Non-evocative Pig feces Indole Jasmine Indole Catty ?
  14. 14. <ul><li>When tasters lack confidence in identification of a particular flavor they will seek a safe haven </li></ul><ul><li>They will prefer vague terms to specific ones – they will often use these terms as a comment </li></ul><ul><li>Remove safe haven terms from your taste ballots - allow the use of one term for each flavor and make it specific </li></ul>Fence sitting F is for sitting on the fence Specific Vague <ul><ul><li>Diacetyl </li></ul></ul>Buttery Diacetyl Milky Diacetyl Toffee
  15. 15. <ul><li>Most breweries have at least one ghost on their taste ballot </li></ul><ul><li>This is a flavor that </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No one can measure in the beer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not everyone uses the same name for </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No one knows what causes it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No one can quite describe it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not everyone agrees when it’s there </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Everyone agrees it’s unique to their beer and has been around for as long as anyone can remember </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ghosts get in the way of tasting and have no place on your ballot - exorcise your ghosts </li></ul>G is for ghost
  16. 16. <ul><li>Terms chosen for quality assurance purposes in the brewery need certain characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>The characteristics of terms needed to communicate information to consumers is entirely different </li></ul><ul><li>A simple translation guide can help with communication between beer production and marketing teams </li></ul>P is for purpose
  17. 17. <ul><li>Some flavor terms take the easy way out - rather than describe the flavor, they try to say what it resembles </li></ul><ul><li>This provides a great opportunity for confusion – not all beers taste the same, and neither do all cheeses </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid terms which rely on associations like this </li></ul>R is for resemblance Cheesy ‘ Winey’ ‘ Sherry’ ‘ Bready’ ‘ Buttery’ Catty ‘ Eggy’ Sweetcorn
  18. 18. <ul><li>Some terms have a scaling component embedded within them </li></ul><ul><li>These are difficult to use with a rating scale and best avoided </li></ul>S is for scaling
  19. 19. <ul><li>Some flavor terms have an temporal or time component </li></ul><ul><li>Examples include </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ After-bitter’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Drying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Quick finish’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>These can be useful but it is important to define the time element for the descriptor </li></ul><ul><li>For example ‘after-bitter’ – bitterness 30 seconds after tasting </li></ul>T is for time
  20. 20. <ul><li>Some flavor terms have an hedonic component embedded in them – they indicate that the taster likes or dislikes the beer </li></ul><ul><li>Examples include </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Fine bitterness’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Noble hop aroma’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Clean’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sour </li></ul></ul><ul><li>These tend to introduce bias into the sensory assessment as they are subjective </li></ul><ul><li>Replace them with neutral objective terms </li></ul>Y is for yum and yuck!
  21. 21. <ul><li>Ideal flavor terms </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>Attributes should represent distinct flavors and not groups of flavors </li></ul><ul><li>Each one should be clearly understood by assessors after training </li></ul><ul><li>One name for every flavor – one flavor for every name </li></ul><ul><li>Brewers should know what to do to decrease or increase the level of each attribute in their beers </li></ul><ul><li>Taste panel leaders should be able to validate the ability of assessors to recognize and scale each attribute </li></ul>Ideal flavor terms for brewery QA
  23. 23. Examples of ideal flavor terms Ideal Acetaldehyde Acetic Chlorophenol Ethyl hexanoate Diacetyl Isoamyl acetate Almost ideal – but ... Almond Bitter Catty DMS Mercaptan Metallic Papery Smoky
  24. 24. <ul><li>Ambiguous names </li></ul><ul><li>Evocative names </li></ul><ul><li>Names which reference other products </li></ul><ul><li>Names which imply a pre-determined scale </li></ul><ul><li>Names which imply a degree of like or dislike </li></ul><ul><li>Names whose correct use can’t be verified </li></ul><ul><li>Using two words for the same thing </li></ul><ul><li>Allowing a name to describe two things </li></ul>Avoid
  25. 25. <ul><li>Flavor names matter </li></ul><ul><li>The choices we make in selecting flavor attributes for our tasting ballots affects the performance of our tasters and our brewers </li></ul><ul><li>“ Loose talk costs beer” </li></ul>Summary

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