Brewers are using AI to predict how your next beer will taste

Carlsberg's AI can differentiate between pilsners and lagers. So can we!

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Marrian Zhou
2 min read

Brewers are using AI to predict how your next beer will taste. 

Marianna Masse/Getty Images

Carlsberg is using artificial intelligence to make naturally tasty beer even better. 

Researchers at the Danish company, one of the largest brewers in the world, are using advanced sensors and analytics to map out and predict flavors more quickly. Their AI project was outlined Monday in a blog post by Microsoft, which is providing the company with cloud services. 

The goal of the delicious-sounding AI project: To create a catalogue flavors for each sample. That will help brewers be more efficient when researching taste combinations, which will in turn speed up the production process and get Carlsberg's suds into your refrigerator faster. 

The project is expected to run for three years and is only six months old, so it hasn't generated any concrete results yet. Still, Carlsberg's AI appears to be developing some fundamental "tastes" and can already distinguish between different pilsners and lagers, according to the blog post. Researchers are now improving the program to make it easier for brewing technicians to use.

"No rapid assays exist today for the determination of flavor compounds in beverages but we find it crucial to do this to ensure that Carlsberg continues to develop beer of the highest possible quality," said Jochen Foster, a professor at Carlsberg Research Laboratory, in an email statement. "We [also] have had an unexpectedly positive marketing benefit from working with artificial intelligence."

Carlsberg's experiments aren't the first time a beer brewer has used AI to help with their craft. Brewer IntelligentX used the technology to get feedback from Facebook users on its beers and hopes that AI will eventually help it win a major beer competition by strengthening its recipes.

First published on July 16, 12:29 p.m. PT.

Updates on July 17, 5:31 a.m. PT: Adds Professor Jochen Foster statement.