Much more than just a set of skills, craftsmanship is technique and expertise gained through training and repetition. Like any other craft, brewing requires a specific set of skills that goes beyond the mere concoction of ingredients to achieve a particular taste. It involves everything from knowledge on chemistry, botanics, physics, nutrition, as well as technical skills to manipulate equipment at a brewhouse. But just like the bladesmith can tell if a sheet of metal is sharp enough and assess its quality by its weight, flexibility and ultimately feeling its sharpness on the hypothenar of his palm, a professional brewmaster should be able to evaluate the quality of a given brew by its bouquet and bite (layers of aromas and tastes). Sharp sensory skills, therefore, are essential in the toolkit of a brewer.
With this in mind, the EJD Food Science programme in collaboration with FlavorActiV have organised a beer sensory training, which took place in January (2019) at Oxfordshire in England. The experience was both a professional training and an integration activity for our Early Stage Researchers, who can now identify a brewing flaw through a butyric (rancid butter) aroma. After all, beers can be cheesy (aroma of cheese characteristic of aged hops) or give you a firm bite (a distinctive perception of hops, tannins, husk or acidity) and someone needs to be there to say something about it.
Who said sommeliers where the only ones that can smell bouquets (not flowers) and feel bodies (not what you’re thinking) and be pretentious about it?
Jonas Trummer and Tuur Mertens tell us about their experience:
Sun, feeling of spring; snow, followed by building a snowman? All at the same day? Yes, that is what happened in Oxfordshire in January 2019. FlavorActiV invited the EJD students for a one week intensive sensorial training on beer aroma and flavours.
Apart from learning more than 30 different and distinctive beer aromas/flavours, we had the pleasure to meet the wonderful team of FlavorActiV. Being in England, of ocurse, we also had the chance to enjoy a pint or two after a long and intensive training day.
Cheers to Boris Gadzov and the whole team of FlavorActiv for making this training so tasty 🙂
In the month of January 2019, the Early Stage Researchers of the European Joint Doctorate of Food Science were invited to have a one-week sensory course at the heart of FlavorActiV. We were honoured to have our very last training here, in a company renowned for its training and monitoring of professional tasting panels. During these seven days we were exposed to more than 30 flavours—ranging from pleasant aromas to off-flavours and taints—which can all be found in beer for various reasons. Training samples were easily prepared in different concentrations with FlavorActiV’s very own encapsulated flavour ref
erences. Between the practical sniffing, smelling and tasting, there was also room for the theoretical side: learning about the origin of certain off-flavours, about brands and brand identity, about sensory analytics, and we even had a guest lecture from South-Africa. Personally, the sensory course made me appreciate beer on a whole other level, as I’ve now become a consumer that is definitely more aware.
Thank you very much, Boris Gadzov and team.