45. Can analytical and sensory assessment be used to accurately predict the sensory characteristics of hops in finished beers?

Chris Smart (1), Gill Fisher (1), Ed Wray (1); (1) Campden BRI, Nutfield, England

Technical Session 13: Sensory II
Tuesday, August 16  •  8:15–9:30 a.m.
Plaza Building, Concourse Level, Governor’s Square 15

The development of new aroma hop varieties together with an increased interest in hops by brewers in many countries in recent years has contributed to the rapid expansion of new products for the beer consumer. However, it remains difficult to predict hop sensory characteristics in finished beers and matching a particular hop by blending other varieties is even more complex. This study assessed 14 new and established hop varieties from various regions in the world (United States, United Kingdom, Europe and Australia) both in terms of sensory analysis, using an expert beer sensory panel, and chemical composition (by SPME GCMS-QToF) in hops and finished beer. Hop teas were prepared using boiling water and left to cool overnight to room temperature before being presented to the panel. Single-hop and blended brews were produced at a 1 hL scale in a pilot brewery using Nottingham Ale yeast. The data showed that, under the brewing conditions used, hop teas are a poor predictor of hop sensory characteristics in finished beer. Several identical key hop aromas were significantly reduced or removed altogether by the brewing process for all of the hop varieties tested. Of 120 hop aroma compounds identified analytically only 9 were found at detectable levels in the finished beers. In addition, hop varieties grown in the same country were found to have very similar sensory attributes to each other and, by and large, could be grouped by country with a small number of notable exceptions. Finally, the data was used to determine a hop blend to target finished beer with the same sensory characteristics as a single hop variety, namely Amarillo, with some success.

Chris is head of the Brewing Services Department at Campden BRI and is based at the Nutfield site. The department’s activities cover sensory science, NPD, microbiology, process engineering, and training in a wide range of brewing-related technical areas. Chris also has responsibility for the extensive pilot-malting/brewing facilities and the majority of the research conducted within the Brewing Division. Chris has a B.S. degree in biotechnology from the University Reading, a Ph.D. degree in biological sciences (yeast biotransformations) from the University of Warwick, and an MBA from the University of Nottingham. His background includes over 20 years within the food and beverage industries, where he has held a number of positions with organizations such as the Institute of Food Research, Reading Scientific Services Limited, Cadbury Schweppes, Leatherhead Food Research and, more recently, Campden BRI. Chris’ passion for brewing started with an industrial placement at Bass Brewers in Burton while studying for his first degree.