Beer Tasting & Judging 101
Saturday, May 18, 2013 from 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM (PDT)
Two sessions: Session 1: 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Session 2: 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Learn to taste, describe and judge beer styles with Ian McLaughlin, the Data Analyst for Sensory and Quality Control at Craft Brew Alliance. Ian has a Master’s Degree in Food Science from Oregon State University and has been an active member of the Master Brewer’s Association of Americas and the American Society of Brewing Chemists for many years. Includes all beer and materials.
About the Instructor:
Ian McLaughlin is the Data Analyst for Sensory and Quality Control at Craft Brew Alliance (Redhook/Widmer/Kona). He has a Master’s Degree in Food Science from Oregon State University and has been an active member of the Master Brewer’s Association of Americas and the American Society of Brewing Chemists for years, and is published in the Journal of the ASBC. Ian’s specialty is not so much beer styles and brewing history but rather is focused on the technical aspects of beer flavor and its origins, and he loves talking about it.
The flavors that can arise in beer are numerous and varied, and can have intensities ranging from effectively non-existent to overpowering. Because of these and other reasons, a person who assesses beer flavor for production, for research, or for fun can have a rather difficult task ahead of them without extensive training. Therefore, this course will seek to make technical beer flavor assessment better understood by presenting the fundamentals of sensory science and how they apply to food in general and beer specifically. “Proper” tasting methodologies and the reasons for using them will be described, as well as the challenges and biases that are inherent in assessing beer flavor. Since beer is a food product with a shelf life, understanding the evolution of beer flavor as it ages is critically important and this will also have significant discussion time in the class. Many beer flavors, common and uncommon, will be presented along with their origins and methods of control. This will involve tasting beer samples which contain flavors that some will find either pleasant or offensive, or indeed anywhere in between. Various quizzes and exercises will be employed to enlighten the tasters and gauge their abilities, and to perhaps generate usable data for the presenter. The types of people who would benefit the most from this type of class are beer drinkers who want a better idea of how to differentiate a high quality beer from a beer that should be sent back to the bartender, and homebrewers or microbrewers who are looking to improve the quality of their products.