Tuesday, 16 December 2008

CAMRA Tasting Panels

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

Style :
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

Colour :
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 !


Cob Nut said...

Steve, stick to doing the gecko!

ChrisM said...

Hehe, interesting to read your experiences with the tasting panels. I'm on the NE1 panel in the North East, we had a similar (but smaller scale) evening recently, and I've managed to run out of cards. I have found I've actually started enjoying my beer more since I had to analyse the aroma, taste and aftertaste with so many different options!

Good luck with it anyway.