• Taste responsiveness and beer behaviour

      Small-Kelly, Stephanie; Department of Biological Sciences
      Orosensory perception strongly influences food and beverage liking and consumption. Variation in the perception of these oral sensations presents an opportunity to conceptualise and commercialise products based on consumers’ taste responsiveness. This thesis investigates the role of orosensory responsiveness in alcoholic beverage behaviour. Specifically, examining the role of thermal tasting in beer and cider liking and consumption. 60 participants (31 thermal tasters (TTs) and 29 thermal non-tasters (TnTs) rated the intensity of aqueous solutions of beer- and cider- relevant tastants: iso-α-acid (bitterness), ethanol (irritation, bitterness, sweetness), dextrose (sweetness) and citric acid (sourness) at concentrations typically found in commercial beers on generalised labelled magnitude scales (gLMS). Taste intensities (gLMS) and liking (9-point hedonic scale) of eight beer and cider samples differing in iso-α-acid and ethanol content were also rated. Participants self-reported on their beer and cider consumption. They also rated the importance of select factors when purchasing beer. TTs experienced the bitterness of ethanol more intensely than did TnTs (p(t)<0.05), they also rated the bitterness, sourness, astringency, and overall taste intensity of sampled beers and ciders higher than TnTs (p(F)<0.05). Agglomerative hierarchical and k-means clustering of liking scores revealed 3 clusters of consumers, characterized as ‘bitter dislikers’, ‘beer likers’, and ‘alcohol lovers’. ‘Taste’ was the most important factor consumers used when purchasing beer. It can be concluded that thermal taster status is an important determinant in the perception of beer and cider flavour. These results should assist product developers in designing beers and ciders targeted for specific segments of the population.