One of the most important stages in new product development, in our case developing a new beer, is doing thorough market research. To this end we, Gabriel and Jessica at the Bearwood Brewhouse, have put ourselves through the gruelling process of beer tasting.
Our method was simple; a double blind taste test on four beers: Black Sheep Ale, Spitfire Kentish Ale, Banks’s Bitter and Old Speckled Hen. We tried to guess which one was which without peeking at the labels and failed dreadfully. The following is our review on each beer, and although we don’t pretend to be experts we hope you enjoy the result of our hard night’s work.
Black Sheep Ale
A red-amber coloured ale with a moderately good head. The bouquet was moderately strong and malty, a bready note was detected under the malt. The taste was heavy, malty with little depth. The hops were very light and left a slight sour note.
A similar red-amber with a better head than the Black Sheep ale. The smell was soapy, which made it clean but rather clinical. (There was a slight disagreement over this beer, Gabriel maintaining that it was a hop scent rather than soapy.) It had a stronger flavour, with a hoppy bitterness and a distinctive hop flavour in the after taste. This was the least malty beer.
Banks’s Bitter (West Midlands)
The lightest of all the beers with a good head retention. A sweet bouquet that was almost like bread and honey, it was a delicate and pleasing scent. The sweetest and lightest of all reviewed, Banks’s would make a fine summer beer. The malt gives a sweetness, while a small note of hop adds complexity to the flavour. It had a smoothness that the other beers tasted did not possess. As Banks’s Bitter is approximately half the price of the other beers, it was certainly the bargain of the selection.
Old Speckled Hen (Suffolk)
This beer had the deepest red-amber of all and the best head. The coffee scent of the roast malt did not completely overpower a gentle hint of hop. By far the richest and least fizzy of the beers, Old Speckled Hen had the most complex flavour. Going through rich, roasted flavours and ending on a light hop finish. This was our unanimous favourite.