On the Saturday session of Pig's Ear, I attended the CAMRA taste training course. This was a three hour session hosted by Christine Cryne, the chair of the London Tasting Panel.
CAMRA's tasting panels annually check and write the beer descriptions in the back of the Good Beer Guide and historically have nominated beers for the Champion Beer of Britain competition.
The first half of the course was to help trainees identify different beer faults. A standard beer had been watered down and doctored with chemicals to replicate the tastes such as phenol, diacityl, dms, cheesy, skunky etc etc that are sometimes found in beer.
The second half was a beer tasting session of about 6 beers and a tutorial on how to fill in the beer tasting cards.
I have enough trouble completing the National Beer Scoring System cards to score beers and pubs. The tasting cards are a different kettle of fish.
Each beer has to be completed as follows :
Date, Surveyor, Panel, Brewer, Beer, Pub, OG, ABV
Mild/Bitter/Best Bitter/Special Bitter/Speciality/Old/Porter,Stout/Barley Wine/Golden
Dispense : Handpump/Gravity/Electric/Air Pressure - Sparkler/Swanneck
Temperature : <12C/Cellar/>12C
Black/Dark Brown/Red/Brown/Tawny/Copper/Pale Brown/Amber/Gold/Yellow/Straw
Clarity : Bright/Clear/Hazy/Cloudy
Head : Tight/Loose/Clingy - big/Medium/Small/None
Carbonation : High/Medium/Low/Flat
Mouthfeel : Smooth/Creamy/Grainy/Watery/Other
Then the scores each marked 0-4
Aroma : scores for Malt/Roast/Caramel/Hops/Fruit/Sulphur/Yeast
Taste : scores for Malt/Roast/Caramel/Hops/Fruit/Sweet/Bitter/Sulphur/Yeast
Aftertaste : scores for Malt/Roast/Caramel/Hops/Fruit/Sweet/Bitter/Sulphur/Yeast
Body : 0-5, thin to thick
Finally, if you are still with me, an overall score for style 0-10 and any other comments.
Bloody hell, that is an effort. I have yet to complete a form for a beer in the pub but if you do spot me sniffing, holding up to the light, gargling and writing, just humour me. It is an important job !