Studies show a low-cost ‘electronic-nose’ uses machine learning to quickly assess beer quality based on its aroma due to the close link of our senses of smell and taste. This is done by measuring the presence of gases as a result of different types of fermentation.

To investigate the effectiveness of the e-nose, the researchers conducted a study of 20 different commercial beer samples, covering a range of styles and fermentation types. The panel assessed the intensity of different beer aromas—hops, spicy, floral, fruity, burnt sugar, grains, yeast, nut, and carbonation mouthfeel.

This study showed that brewers were able to use the e-nose for rapid and reliable quality assessment on the production line by reducing the risk of the beer going “off.”

But will the e-nose replace a master brewer’s taste? Absolutely not, says researchers. “I find that brewers are not against technology. They embrace it.”