Beer Flavour Development and Sensory Analysis


Programme fact file

Programme title: Beer Flavour Development and Sensory Analysis 
Qualification: 20 credits 
Start date: Jan 2017 
Duration: 4 months 
Maximum places available: Limited 
Fees: £940 Home and EU students/ £2460 International students (50% bursaries are available for UK agrifood sector through Agrifood ATP) 
Available on weekends/evenings: No  

School of Biosciences 

Programme overview

Course description

Here we firstly consider how flavour is perceived by the consumer and the multisensory nature of the flavour stimuli presented by beers. We then examine the development of key beer flavour attributes from a holistic, cross-process perspective. Sensory Analysis of beer covers all aspects from recruiting a panel to test design and data analysis. Flavour stability of beers and undesirable taints are also covered. 

Programme detail

Course details

This module looks at flavour quality across the brewing process, examining the key materials, processes and quality parameters which influence beer flavour from grain to glass.

The units of ‘Beer Flavour Development and Sensory Analysis’ are:

Unit 1: What is flavour?

  • flavour perception (including basic mechanisms of the senses of taste, aroma, trigeminal chemoreception, somatosensation, vision)
  • flavour as a human experience
  • interactions between sensory modalities.

Unit 2: Components of beer flavour

The key components of beer flavour quality (volatile/non-volatile flavour components and balance; sweetness-bitterness balance; chloride-sulfate ratio; trigeminal effects: temperature/carbonation; mouthfeel (e.g. beer foam, viscosity), influence of pH; multisensory considerations).

Unit 3: Beer styles

Developing products with flavour ‘balance’. A consideration of the range of beer styles and how these have evolved to satisfy the human palate.

Unit 4: Beer flavour development

The development and control of key beer flavour characters or off-notes throughout the brewing process:

  • raw materials
  • yeast metabolism
  • process

Unit 5: Brewing process control of flavour

In this section of the course a cross-process approach is used to identify key control points and examine the inter-play between raw materials and process in determining each factor (e.g. DMS, diacetyl, esters, higher alcohols, t-2-nonenal, acetaldehyde, beer foam…).

Unit 6: Sensory evaluation of beer

  • introduction to sensory analysis
  • sensory facilities, protocols and recruitment of assessors
  • design and analysis of sensory tests
  • sensory evaluation test methodologies

Unit 7: Taints and off-flavours

Trouble-shooting flavour defects in beer.

Unit 8: Beer flavour stability

  • Freshness – what is it? What does it mean in beers? How might it be maintained?
  • Current theories of beer flavour instability and the underlying chemistry of flavour change in beer.
  • Methods for monitoring beer staling, including EPR spectroscopy; lipoxygenase and associated theories of staling; wort thermal load/ wort boiling and stripping; separate contributions of materials and process to flavour stability; potential markers for beer staling.

In addition to the e-learning , there is also the option of a 4 day residential course.


About Sutton Bonington Campus

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The University of Nottingham,
Sutton Bonington Campus,
Sutton Bonington,
LE12 5RD


About Sutton Bonington


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Sutton Bonington Campus
University of Nottingham
LE12 5RD  
t:   +44 (0) 115 951 6610 

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