VLB offered sensory training for Grolsch Brewery
VLB offered sensory training for Grolsch Brewery

The course “Applied Training on Sensory Descriptive Terms and Methods” took place on 3 May 2022 at VLB Berlin and was organized for the Dutch Grolsch Brewery. A group of 5 people, from the innovation team of the Grolsch pilot brewery and responsible for product development, came to Berlin in order to practice different types of descriptive analysis and develop effective technical vocabulary finding techniques and descriptive terminology for beer.

VLB Berlin is always ready to provide its know-how to experts. In this case, Patrícia Diniz Fischer, Team Leader Sensory Analysis, and team members Fabian Dierke and Timo Lützenberger offered a professional sensory training for the innovation group of the Dutch Grolsch Brewery. This group consists of headbrewers to brand and packaging managers, who work in a smaller pilot brewery and are responsible for developing new products. They create recipes on a small-scale, and if the products are well received, they are later scaled-up. Thus, one can say, that the participants of this training already had an extensive background in brewing and sensory analysis.

“The course we offered can be considered specialised. Standard courses usually focus on training typical technological defects and sensory analysis for quality control. But the format of the course for Grolsch aimed at descriptive analysis techniques for profile characterization and fingerprinting the profile of a brand,” explains Diniz Fischer. Thus, the VLB team worked out a comprehensive programme:

  • Physiological and psychological aspects of perception
  • Factors influencing sensory profile
  • Sensory methods and testing schemes
  • Beer styles – typical characteristics
  • Aroma identification
  • Beer tasting with different test schemes
  • Unconventional beer style classification

The participants were enabled to find technical vocabulary and descriptive terminology for beer.

Unlike many other courses on the market, that only focus on one aspect of beer (such as hops for example), this course covered all the elements that contribute to the taste of beer. “We covered raw materials such as malt, hops, yeast and other microorganisms, and showed interesting examples of beers where the characteristic flavors we wanted to show were predominant,” says Diniz Fischer. Furthermore, the group worked with samples of raw materials, real samples of food, samples of intermediate products of beer production and also some commercial final products, with the aim of building bridges identifying the flavors of these samples in the final beer. The course was complemented by a tour of the VLB pilot brewery, during which the brewmaster Kurt Marshall was available for a cheerful discussion.

“Our sensory team is able to provide further training for experts already working in this field and to improve their skills,” explains sensory specialist Diniz Fischer. This was also confirmed by the positive feedback from the customers. “Let me thank you again for the great day and learning experience this week, we really enjoyed it. I would like to share this with colleagues who are interested,” says Joost Nawijn, Packaging Manager with Grolsch, recommending this training. Marc Janssen, Master Brewer at Grolsch, also appreciated the workshop organized by the VLB Sensory Team. “We had really a wonderful day at the VLB! Very interesting and very well organized. Thank you so much for that.”

The innovation team at Grolsch Brewery (centre left), Patrícia Diniz Fischer (front right), team leader for sensor technology, and team members Fabian Dierke and Timo Lützenberger to the right.