Introducing the Brewers Association Beer Sensory Evaluation Program

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The Brewers Association (BA) Beer Sensory Evaluation Program pairs member beers with the highly trained palates of beer sensory panelists from the World Beer Cup®, Great American Beer Festival®, and many other international beer competitions.

Brewers will receive in-depth sensory feedback about their brands, including:

  • Sensory characteristics including appearance, aroma, flavor, balance, and technical quality
  • Descriptive attributes that brewers can use when describing the brand in their own sensory panels, in their retail taprooms and restaurants, and in off-premise trade
  • Assessment of alignment with BA Beer Style Guidelines (as indicated by the brewer)

Who Is Eligible to Participate?

Any BA voting member brewery can submit samples for evaluation. The program will be most valuable to brewers who seek to improve the overall quality of their beers by providing sensory feedback and descriptive terms, but who may not have yet established their own sensory panels.

Registration, Evaluation Dates, and Pricing

Registration for all 2021 tasting sessions opens on March 2, 2021 at 9:00 AM MST.

The cost is $100 per brand. Evaluation sessions occur roughly monthly from April through December 2021, and each evaluation session is limited to 20 beer brands. Samples must arrive roughly two weeks prior to the evaluation session dates.

View the full list of 2021 Evaluation Dates and register starting on March 2.

2021 Program & Sample Arrival Dates

Evaluation DateArrival Dates at BA Boulder Warehouse
April 9 - FridayMarch 23 - 26
May 7 - FridayApril 20 - 23
June 10 - ThursdayMay 25 - 28
July 16 - FridayJune 29 - July 2
August 5 - ThursdayJuly 20 - 23
October 1 - FridaySeptember 14 - 17
October 29 - FridayOctober 12 - 15
November 12 - FridayOctober 26 - 29
December 17 - FridayNovember 30 - December 3

If the evaluation date you want is sold out, join the wait list to be notified if any spots become available.

About the BA Sensory Evaluation Program

The BA Beer Sensory Evaluation Program provides brewers with an unbiased sensory evaluation of their beer brands. Brewers will receive specific descriptive attributes they can use to communicate when selling (for example by tasting room staff), general feedback including how a brand does or does not align with a target beer style, and possible insights into the flavor outcomes of brewing, fermentation, conditioning, packaging, and handling.

Human palates are the most sensitive equipment in a brewery. All the instrumentation helps, but we cannot do our work without integral knowledge of how each beer is supposed to taste. A sensory panel is one of the most impactful tools in a brewery, regardless of size, and is critical for finding problems and steering consistency in brands.

Lauren Torres, BA Quality Subcommittee Chair and Lab Manager at Bell’s Brewery, Inc.

A well-executed sensory panel is a critical cornerstone of the best quality programs. Properly trained panelists can provide valuable, unbiased feedback on overall balance and unwanted off-flavors, giving the brewer direction for continued improvements of their beer brands.

Jason Perkins, BA Technical Committee Chair and Brewmaster at Allagash Brewing

An unbiased assessment of every beer brand is important for brewers to have at their disposal. Acting on the information from a professional sensory evaluation improves the quality of any beer, and makes great beers even better.

Chuck Skypeck, BA Technical Brewing Projects Manager

We regularly test and sample our beers to ensure they meet our quality standards, and seek feedback from outside professionals. This validates our internal findings and gives us access to other perspectives on our beers. We find third party notes and sampling to be an exceptional way to validate our beers and processes.

Tomme Arthur, BA Events Committee member and Co-Founder of Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey

The BA Quality Subcommittee defines a quality beer as “a beer that is responsibly produced using wholesome ingredients, consistent brewing techniques, and good manufacturing practices, which exhibits flavor characteristics that are consistently aligned with both the brewer’s and beer drinker’s expectations.” Sensory panel assessment is an important pillar of any beer quality program.