Influencing Tastes

Friday night at f/stop Niki was bartending, and she brought up an interesting point. How much does what we’re supposed to taste influence what we’re supposed to taste?

Back when Dennis brought Hop Yard Dog to our brewers dinner I was surprised. I wasn’t surprised because it was an amazing beer, but because it had much more hop flavor then his test batch that I tried. On the list of pale ales I’d stock it didn’t even make the long version, but it was better then that test batch. Last week though Dennis kegged this pale ale and Kirk purchased a keg to pour at f/stop.

First night I was there when the Hop Yard Dog was on tap Kirk and I dissagreed on wether or not it was a good pale ale. Thinking he could convert me I guess Kirk got me a taster of it so I could try it. First thing I noticed upon smelling the beer was a slightly soured milk odor. The bad part was it carried the taste associated with that smell onto the back of the tongue. I described the taste and smell to Kirk and he looked at me funny, then later he tried the beer again. When he did he noticed the same thing.

Friday rolled around and once again Hop Yard Dog came up, this time with Nikki pouring and Chuck at the bar with me. Both Chuck and I got tasters of the beer so I could prove that the smell and flavor were there. Chuck didn’t notice anything on the smell, but on the taste he found it, right where I’d said it would be on the back of the tongue.

Nikki pointed out though that both Chuck and Kirk had tried the beer previously and never noticed the flavor or odor. So, could my telling them what to look for caused them to find it? Or when they knew what they were looking for was it just easier to find what was there?

2 Responses to “Influencing Tastes”

  1. Beermented says:

    Wha? Did you say something?

  2. jbx says:

    You suggested a taste PREESNT and another taster found it.
    A valid detection.

    Try suggesting a plausible taste NOT PRESENT and record the result of other taster. A NOT PRESENT taste found is, of course, a false positive.

    Try the test a number of times [say 10 independent sample events].

    Report the result.

    Of course, you might be labeled ‘the Chicken Little’ of beer notes not found.

    Have other people test you with TRUE and FALSE taste present.
    Record the results; report the results after a significant number of of test.

    Or fall back to the binary taste test report
    1 = this beer is awesome
    0 = this beer sucks.

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