Tuesday Beer Trivia: Sensory Evaluation

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Test your knowledge on the science of sensory evaluation in this week’s Tuesday Beer Trivia quiz.

Countless factors affect our perception of taste. Figure out just how much you know about the basics of taste and olfaction.

After you take the Beer Trivia quiz below, scroll down to the “Beer Trivia Answer Explanations” section to learn more about sensory analysis.

Beer Trivia Answer Explanations

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The following explanations are taken from Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher (be sure to sign up for Randy’s Zymurgy Live webinar, taking place Wednesday, August 24 at 7 p.m. eastern, 6 p.m. central!).

Question 1: Sensations go through many levels of neural processing before they reach the brain. The brain then organizes those sensations with memory and emotion to create an awareness so that it can recognize them again in the future.

Question 2: The umami sensation originates with a group of amino acids. It is generally found in aged meat, oily fish, fermented foods, soy products, aged cheese, ripe tomatoes, seaweed, and many other foods. Umami becomes noticeable in beer after prolonged aging.

Question 3: Humans are lightweights in the animal kingdom in terms of olfactory neurons. Ever wondered why dogs can sniff out just about anything? It’s because they have about 25 times as much sensory power as we do!

Question 4: Like bitterness was used to detect poisonous food items, sweetness was the detector of nutrition. Even premature babies automatically respond to sweet tastes with suckling. Physiologically, the sweet sensation is fairly complicated, being mediated through similar multi-step pathways as bitter, fat, and umami. Sweetness becomes a major player in Scotch ales, doppelbocks, and milk stouts.

Question 5: While there are three different taste-sensitive regions on the tongue, the front half of the tongue is equally sensitive to all tastes. Bitterness is perceived a little more intensely across the back of the tongue, while the sides are slightly more sensitive to sourness.