AI is testing beer

Yes, we already know that it is making great strides. But so much? It turns out that now, the AI ​​is testing beer. Belgian scientists created Artificial Intelligence models that can predict how consumers will rate this drink.

The research was published in Nature Communications. It revolutionizes the way the food and beverage industry develops new products.

The AI ​​is testing beer.
The AI ​​is testing beer.

Key aromas

Comparing and ranking the flavor profiles of different beers is a challenge. There are plenty of guides on the market that describe drinks with generic terms like “fruity.” They classify them based solely on a person’s taste. “This makes beer comparisons very biased.” This is stated in a statement by Kevin Verstrepen, director of the Leuven Beer Research Institute.

“I wanted to have a more neutral and scientific description of the world’s beers,” he says. They chemically analyzed the beers, measuring concentrations of hundreds of aromatic compounds. A trained panel of 15 people evaluated each beer based on a set of 50 criteria. «It was a truly herculean effort. We started the project with less than 100 beers. It wasn’t enough to capture Belgium’s incredible beer diversity. “We ended up analyzing 250 beers,” recalls the scientist.

It took the team five years. Once they had chemical concentrations and detailed tasting reports for hundreds of different beers, they knew it would be possible to use AI to connect the two. A model could predict key aromas. Also the final appreciation score of a beer without the need for human tasting.

This would replace people evaluating the taste of each beer.
This would replace people evaluating the taste of each beer.

Flavor prediction

These results improved the flavor of an existing commercial Belgian beer. Adding certain aromas predicted by the model to improve the quality of the beer. Indeed, the modified beer scored significantly better in the blind tastings. «The flavor of beer is a complex mixture of aromatic compounds. It is impossible to predict how good it is by simply measuring one or several compounds. We need the power of computers,” they add.

Now that AI is testing beer, the study can be expanded to other food products. This can revolutionize the way new foods are made. «Our biggest goal now is to make a better non-alcoholic beer. Using our model, we have already created a cocktail of natural aromatic compounds. They imitate the taste and smell of alcohol without the risk of a hangover,” says Verstrepen.

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