Software-based scheme enables breweries to monitor the performance of their beer tasting panels to identify their strengths and weaknesses in the area of flavour evaluation
Flavoractiv has released a new version of its web-based Taster
Validation scheme software.
The new software went live in early
July for more than 80 breweries in 35 countries.
It underpins the
company's taster performance management system, which allows
brewery groups to target and measure several aspects of beer
taster performance on a global basis.
The software has several
The main ones include the following.
report distribution: while the system is designed around users
accessing the information they need through a web interface, it
is now possible for brewery group scheme administrators to
distribute reports and graphs to taste panels and individuals by
email with a single mouse click.
The software then configures the
report or graph specifically for that user by eliminating the
names of all other participants (a necessary security requirement
for the scheme).
Top assessors report: head office personnel can
now access a report of their top performing tasters in the
company, allowing the tasters' efforts to be recognised via
awards or company newsletters.
It is also an ideal tool for
selecting a high-performance flavour panel.
analysis: it is now possible to analyse taster performance,
brewery performance, and brewery group performance for any
selected time period.
This produces what
Flavoractiv has termed a 'confusion plot' - a histogram
of all wrong answers for a particular flavour.
The plot allows
local and brewery group managers to find out which terms are
being confused by tasters when an incorrect answer is given.
is of considerable help in targeting training to the right areas.
The Flavoractivt Taster Validation Scheme has been running for
almost two years with selected major brewery groups.
principle of the scheme is simple.
Every two to three months
breweries are provided with sets of six different flavour
Neither brewery management nor tasters know the
identity of the flavours prior to the test.
Tasters have to
choose from a list of 34 possible terms, representing flavour
standards specified by the Recommended Methods of Analysis of the
European Brewery Convention and the American Society of Brewing
Scoresheets are available in several languages
including English, German, Portuguese, Spanish, French and
Flavoured beers are prepared by the participating
brewery site using the standards provided.
The samples are then
presented individually to each member of the brewery's taste
Every taster has to identify each of the six flavours in a
blind tasting session.
Once the taste session is complete, the
local taste session administrator enters the results onto
Flavoractiv's proprietary web-based software.
are then immediately available throughout the company via a
secure internet link.
Different levels of access provide for
corporate (head office) views and brewery views.
Breweries in the
scheme can see the results of other participating breweries and
tasters, but only in coded form.
The scheme software allows
individual sites and brewery groups to identify their strengths
and weaknesses in the area of flavour evaluation.
the performance of one brewery taste panel can be compared with
that of another brewery.
Individual tasters can be ranked in
terms of their performance scores.
And flavours can be ranked in
terms of the ease with which flavour panels can identify them.
This latter feature represents a powerful tool for targeting
training programs to address specific needs.
A range of security
features has been embodied into the scheme to assure the
integrity of the results.
The improvements to the scheme software
have resulted from the efforts of Flavoractiv's development
team and from customer input.
Feedback from some of almost 1000
beer tasters currently involved in the scheme has been
Most have welcomed the chance to receive objective
evaluation of their tasting performance and, as a direct result,
standards of tasting skill have shown real improvement in the
participating brewery groups.