Photo: Tojosan, Flickr
When it comes to identifying the aromas of beer, the scientific community has spoken: Your nose is no good.
While trained sniffers -- both men and, increasingly, women -- have long helped assure quality control in brewing, the scientists claim human noses are slow to assess scents, they're subjective, easily fatigued and require pretty expensive upkeep. What, you think those Kleenex are going to pay for themselves?
Instead, in a review published in Trends in Food Science & Technology, scientists from Spain and Iran (hardly global brewing powerhouses, mind you) offered an alternative to a human schnoz: an electronic nose. "The demand for electronic noses in brewing is growing because the versatility and ease of operation of these instruments make them suitable for quick and accurate analysis of beers or for monitoring quality in the production process," the scientists wrote.
But let's not be so hasty to kick humans to the curb. Though e-noses may possess pinpoint accuracy, their ability to sense scents is hampered by factors such as humidity, noise and temperature -- in other words, the typical environment of a hot, damp, loud brewery.
Mankind, 1. Robots, 0.
Chalk up another win for mankind.