Think you've got what it takes to be a professional beer taster?

By C_Abbott
An advert has been placed for what some people might consider to be the best job in the world but if you got it, you would have to move to the Midlands.

The University of Nottingham is advertising for professional beer tasters. Yes, really. No experience is necessary as all training will be provided. They just expect you to have a love of beer.

But be warned becoming a trained beer taster is actually pretty hard work, reports the Nottingham Post.

Marit Nijman, a PhD student at the University of Nottingham who used to train beer tasters at Heineken, said: "It might not sound like it, but becoming a trained beer taster is hard work.

"Beer is a complex product with lots of complex flavours and it can sometimes take up to 50 exposures before people are able to identify specific odours in beer."

This may sound like a bit of fun but there is some serious science behind it, with researchers at the university's Sensory Science Centre trying to answer questions such as how the aroma and flavour changes as the alcohol content is altered and time passes.

It's easy to ask beer drinkers whether they like something or not, but it's a lot harder to get them to describe why and so the job requires people with a sensitive palate. Tasters will have to be able to describe the specific smells, tastes and sensations of the beers.

These questions are essential for the beer industry and the project is sponsored by brewing companies, maltsters and hop producers who can use the information to improve products and test new ideas.

There will be a number of positions available after a rigorous selection process leading to one or two hours of paid beer tasting and training a week.

The training involves being presented with different tastes and smells until they learn to recognise them.

This includes, surprisingly, banana flavour, which is an important taste in some beers, and some of those who get the job will be asked to drink beers with strong banana flavours.

The long-term research project is expected to last three to four years, allowing plenty of time to hone beer quaffing skills.

Anthony Ludlow, 64, secretary of the Nottingham branch of CAMRA, said: "I hope they have their telephone boards well covered; I think they're going to have a lot of applicants.

"Now we have so many craft beers it is more important than ever to test it.

"I would say that more than 90 per cent of people could recognise that something is wrong with their beer but couldn't tell you what exactly it was."

For more information email christina.dietz@nottingham.ac.uk by September 20.