Perceived bitterness character of beer in relation to hop variety and the impact of hop aroma

Food Chem. 2017 Sep 1:230:215-224. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2017.03.031. Epub 2017 Mar 8.


The impact of hop variety and hop aroma on perceived beer bitterness intensity and character was investigated using analytical and sensory methods. Beers made from malt extract were hopped with 3 distinctive hop varieties (Hersbrucker, East Kent Goldings, Zeus) to achieve equi-bitter levels. A trained sensory panel determined the bitterness character profile of each singly-hopped beer using a novel lexicon. Results showed different bitterness character profiles for each beer, with hop aroma also found to change the hop variety-derived bitterness character profiles of the beer. Rank-rating evaluations further showed the significant effect of hop aroma on selected key bitterness character attributes, by increasing perceived harsh and lingering bitterness, astringency, and bitterness intensity via cross-modal flavour interactions. This study advances understanding of the complexity of beer bitterness perception by demonstrating that hop variety selection and hop aroma both impact significantly on the perceived intensity and character of this key sensory attribute.

Keywords: Beer; Bitterness character; Bitterness quality; Caffeic acid (PubChem CID:689043); Catechin (PubChem CID:73160); Cinnamic acid (PubChem CID:444539); Epicatechin (PubChem CID:72276); Ferulic acid (PubChem CID:445858); Iso-α-acids; Perceived beer bitterness; Phenolic acids; Polyphenols; Protocatechuic acid (PubChem CID:72); Sinapic acid (PubChem CID:637775); Taste-aroma interactions; Trigeminal sensation; Tyrosol (PubChem CID:10393); Vanillic acid (PubChem CID:8468); p-Coumaric acid (PubChem CID:637542).

MeSH terms

  • Beer / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Odorants
  • Polyphenols
  • Taste


  • Polyphenols