Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Like I keep saying: Two Words

And those two words are Blind. Tasting.

Nothing shuts up beer geek (or whiskey geek) bullshit faster than blind tasting. It's hard work, it's educational, and yes, it can be fun. My thanks to long-time STAG reader (I can say that now, it's well over a year old) Steve Herberger for providing this link to an eye-opener of a blind tasting of four draft Irish dry stouts in Ireland. Ten fairly experienced tasters failed to do better than 1.333 beers ID'd correctly out of 4 (although the winner pegged all four stouts (I'd have to guess they were lucky, given those numbers)).

What am I saying? Stop thinking you can judge beers or whiskeys with complete impartiality. You can't. Like people bring all their old lovers to the marriage altar, you bring all your past drinking experience with you to a tasting. Make it more fair, and bring the blindfold.

4 comments:

Steven said...

Sort of curious that the (one) winner of the blind tasting event is also the author of that story...

But the facts are pretty clear, none of those Stout fans really did all that well in IDing the beers.

The Beer Nut said...

In fairness, three of the beers we did were mass-produced rubbish and the other had simply been crippled with nitrokegging. It's not like we were mistaking ours for Cantillon.

But then, with zip out of four, I would say that.

Thanks for the link, and you are of course completely correct on the role of prejudice in beer tasting.

David Curran said...

>Sort of curious that the (one) winner of the blind tasting event is also the author of that story...

That is odd alright. But the beer nut did most of the running so it is not like I could cheat. Also I have the feeling I try different stouts more then the average drinker. Most people have their favorite and they stick to it. I move between stouts regularly.

Would I get it right again? With random odds I would have a one in 24 chance. If you gave me 5 to 1 I would take the bet though. So I am not that sure I would get them right next time.

Steven said...

"But then, with zip out of four, I would say that."

Heh heh -- mass-produced rubbish in Ireland is still head and shoulders over mass-produced rubbish here in the States.

And yeah, I'd probably say I could pick 'em out from each other too, and fall on my face as well.

One thing that stands out is something that I always contended, that G&B are similar, as are M&O'H.

And David, my allusion to conspiracy should be taken as seriously as most conspiracy theories. ;-)

Good experiment fellahs!