Variation in orosensory responsiveness to alcoholic beverages and their constituents—the role of the thermal taste phenotype

Stephanie Small-Kelly, Gary Pickering

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Orosensory perception strongly influences food and beverage liking and consumption. Differences between individuals in orosensation present an opportunity to conceptualize and commercialize products based on consumer “taste” responsiveness. The main objective of this study was to examine how the thermal taste phenotype associates with orosensory responsiveness to beer and cider, and more generally to examine differences in and relationships between responsiveness to alcohol-relevant stimuli and to beer/cider. Methods: Sixty participants (31 thermal tasters (TTs) and 29 thermal non-tasters (TnTs)) rated the intensity of aqueous solutions of beer- and cider-relevant tastants: iso-α-acid (bitterness), ethanol (irritation, bitterness, sweetness), dextrose (sweetness), and citric acid (sourness) at concentrations typically found in commercial products on generalized labeled magnitude scales (gLMS). Intensity ratings (gLMS) of multiple orosensations elicited by six beer and two cider samples differing in iso-α-acid and ethanol content were also collected. Results: TTs scored the bitterness of ethanol more intensely than did TnTs (p(t) < 0.05) and rated the bitterness, sourness, astringency, and overall taste intensity of sampled beers and ciders higher than TnT (p(F) < 0.05). Conclusions: Thermal taste status is an important determinant in the perception of beer and cider flavor. Implications: These results may assist product developers in designing beers and ciders targeted to specific consumer segments that differ in orosensory responsiveness, and inform broader understanding of the sources of variation in human perception of alcohol constituents and beverages.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)45–58
    Number of pages14
    JournalChemosensory Perception
    Early online date18 Jun 2019
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


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