Study: Green Beer vs. Regular Beer

With St. Patrick's Day upon us, many bars and breweries are offering green beer as a festive option for patrons. People tend to love it or hate it, but can they actually TASTE the difference between green beer and regular beer? That's the question we sought out to answer.

Using the triangle test, a method commonly used in sensory analysis to determine whether people can detect a difference between two samples, we tested 30 individuals across 3 different regions of the United States to give us the answer.

The samples were prepared in dark colored cups to obscure the color, using a light lager with 2 drops of water-based food coloring added to the green samples.

Participants were then given three samples of beer, two of which were identical and one of which was different, and asked to identify which sample was the odd one out. The order given to each taster was randomized, and the results tabulated to give us an answer.

Total Responses: 26

Correct Responses: 7

Incorrect Responses: 19

P-Value: 0.815


When asked which beer they thought was the outlier, only 27% of participants correctly identified it (See the results below). This suggests that people may NOT be able to discern the difference between green beer and regular beer based on taste alone.

So why is it that people cannot taste the difference between green beer and regular beer? Most food dyes are designed and tested to not impart flavor, and the concentration used in this experiment was likely not enough to make an impact. The green color of the beer may simply be a visual cue that has little to do with its actual taste.

It's important to note that we only looked at one type of beer (a light lager) and one type of food coloring (water-based green) in this small study. Different types of beer or food coloring may have different effects on taste perception.

So, if you're planning on celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a green beer, don't worry too much about the taste – just enjoy the festive spirit!

Triangle Test Data

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