Author: Barbara Tompos
In my research, one of the methods of the determination of sensory product development directions is presented, based on the preference for different beers and the sensory characteristics influencing it. Six different beers were tested, four of which are commercially available (Löwenbrau, Staropramen, cold hop Dreher, Soproni), and two of them are made in breweries (lager, cold hop lager). Beers were rated by 63 college students. 37 of them were women, 26 were men, their age being in the range of 18 to 27 years.
Sensory preference was evaluated by the consumers (lay judges) on two different scales. First, the evaluation was carried out by characteristics – color, general odor intensity, citrus scent, fruity scent, bitter scent, malt scent, yeast scent, general flavor intensity, citrus flavor, fruity flavor, bitter flavor, malt flavor, yeast flavor, sweet flavor, sour flavor – on a structured optimum scale (just about right, JAR) of 1 to 9 (1=too weak, 5=exactly right, 9=too strong). An important feature of JAR data is that they are bidirectional, since not only the deviation from the optimum point, but also the direction of the deviation is important during data processing.
After the evaluation by characteristics, global preference for the products was also provided by testers on a continuously increasing structured scale of 1 to 9 (1=not at all, 2=not very much, 3=moderately not, 4=slightly not, 5=neutral, 6=slightly preferred, 7=moderately preferred, 8=very much preferred, 9=most preferred). The method of penalty analysis has been developed for the combined evaluation of the two scales, and it was carried out by the XL-Stat software. Based on the results of the penalty analysis, it can be determined which sensory properties influence most the global sensory preference for a certain product among consumers, and in what direction it is advisable to change them during product development. Based on the results, judges favored strong, fresh, fruity flavor, and the Dreher cold hop beer was most preferred by far, while the other beers were considered too bitter, unremarkable.