Sumary of Untrained beer drinkers can taste different barley genotypes:
- As a panel of amateur beer tasters at Washington State University recently demonstrated, malted barley, the number one ingredient in beer besides water, can have a range of desirable flavors too.
- Researchers recruited a panel of about 100 craft beer drinkers to taste some so-called SMaSH beers — those brewed with a single barley malt and single hop.
- All the beers contained the same hop variety, called Tahoma, but each had a malt from a different barley genotype, or genetic makeup.
- Trained tasters can distinguish these easily, but even the untrained panel could taste the difference among five different barley varieties — and definitely favored some more than others.
- “We found that the untrained panelists could differentiate among the barley breeding lines in the beer,” said Evan Craine, a WSU doctoral student and first author on the study in the Journal of Food Science.
- ” The panel generally preferred the four barley breeding lines developed at WSU over the control, known as Copeland, a high-quality malting barley widely grown in Washington state.
- The panelists were able to easily identify the flavor profiles of the beers, such as one with a “fruity and sweet aromatic” flavor and another with a “citrus” profile made with a barley called Palmer, a variety recently released by WSU for commercial use.
- While the untrained panel could distinguish flavors from brewed beers, they were not as adept at tasting the differences among “hot steep” samples which are made by combining hot water and ground barley malt before filtering.