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Flavor Triangle

Potential elements one may

perceive in a beer.

Sweet, Salty, Sour, Bitter, Umami
Emerging: Fatty acids, Carbonation, Metallic, Calcium

Taste elements are like primary colors and prime numbers

they are basic and cannot be broken down further.
They are detected by our tongue and soft palate.

Sensations Intensity Elements
Kilned and roasted malt, Maillard,
Cold/Hot, Silky/Tannic/Astringent, Thin/Heavy, Fruit, Hop essential oils, Herbs and Spices, Ethanol,
Still//Sparkling, Dry/Cloying, Flabby/Puckering, Oxidative compounds, Minerals, Wood volatiles
Cool/Burn and Esters and Phenols. Note: Esters and Phenols
are fermentation byproducts.
Temperatures, textures and irritants are
detected by branches of the trigeminal nerve.
There are more than 10,000 volatile aroma compounds
that can be detected by your 300+ odor receptors
(orthonasal and retronasal).

Flavor Characteristics vs. Hedonics

There are two unique types of intensity that work together when you taste foods and beverages.

1. Flavor Characteristic Intensity: how intensely you detect a flavor characteristic.

2. Hedonic Intensity: how much you like a flavor characteristic at a given strength (acceptance of a flavor).

Flavor Characteristic Scale 9-Point Hedonic Scale

Extremely Extremely Dislike Neither Like Like

Weak Strong Extremely or Dislike Extremely

Each of the Flavor Triangle characteristics are possible to detect in every beer. When tasting a craft beer, it is important to parse out
what you do and dont detect.

Perception and intensity are personal and unique to each individual, and are continually modified by experience and circumstance. As
you identify what you perceive, you can begin to piece together what interactions (interplay of triangle characteristics) are occurring.

Created via collaboration between Nicole Garneau, PhD and

Download at (
March 2015