Taking the Complication out of Sensory Training: The Siebel Sensory Station Approach
It’s important to train tasters to identify the most common positive and negative characteristics in your products. Those directly involved in brewing must go a step further, learning the origins and control factors in this range of compounds. Sensory analysis and training are actually part of the field of sensory science, and offering frequent taster training has traditionally required a sensory expert to set up and serve panelists in a somewhat formal “service classroom”.
While this sort of setup has value, especially when it comes to assessing each tasters’ abilities to perceive the characteristics of the beverage, there is a simpler, faster way to offer taster training. The Siebel Sensory Station concept was created to make sensory training easy and fun, while still being immensely valuable to taster training. Using the free downloadable Sensory Station guidebook, those conducting panels can set up tasting stations in just minutes using printable placemats, labels and instructional materials for tasters to follow.
The guidebook provides valuable suggestions for configuring room environments and managing taster activities while tasters pour their own samples. No “sensory expert” is needed to conduct the session, as tasters can view the video presentations relating to their session by clicking a QR code in the tasting area. Tasters can participate as their time permits, with an attendant mixing pitchers or opening bottles as needed.
Bringing Calibration to Beer Competitions
Beer judging is conducted year-round during competitions in locations around the world. While most beer judges are familiar with the most common compounds found in beer, it is highly desirable to offer a “calibration session” just prior to competition judging. This involves judges evaluating and identifying spiked beer at various levels of concentration, “recalibrating” their acuity in the tasting process.
The Sensory Station approach offers an easy format for setting up a calibration session, with dosing rates easily controlled for adjusting the concentration of compounds. Even with large groups of judges and participants, the Sensory Station format makes setup and cleanup a breeze.
Siebel has created a library of free videos that walk tasters through the preparation, presentation and evaluation of samples during sensory training, including: