Music Makes Beer Taste Better

Summary: According to researchers, music can influence how much you enjoy the taste of a beer.

Source: Frontiers.

Music can influence how much you like the taste of beer, according to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology.

Their findings suggest that a range of multisensory information, such as sound, sensation, shape and color, can influence the way we perceive taste.

The Brussels Beer Project collaborated with UK band The Editors to produce a porter-style beer that took inspiration from the musical and visual identity of the band.

The ale had a medium body and used an Earl Grey infusion that produced citrus notes, contrasting with the malty, chocolate flavors from the mix of grains used in production. This taste profile was designed to broadly correspond to The Editors latest album, ‘In Dreams’.

Then, a team of researchers led by Dr. Felipe Reinoso Cavalho, from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and KU Leuven, designed an experiment to see if the influence of music and packaging design would result in a more positive tasting experience.

They invited 231 drinkers to experience the beer in three different conditions.

The first served as a control group and drank the beer along with a bottle without a label. In this case, they didn’t listen to any specific song.

The second group, testing the influence of packaging, tasted the beer after seeing the bottle with the label.

The third group drank the beer presented with the label while listening to ‘Oceans of Light’, one of the songs on the band’s latest album which the beer was created to reflect.

Before the test the participants rated how tasty they thought the beer might be. Then after tasting they rated how much they had actually enjoyed the drink.

The results showed that those presented with the label and track reported both greater enjoyment than those presented with the beer and label alone.

Filipe said: “We have been able to see that people tend to feel more pleasure when experiencing beverages along with sounds that are part of the beverage’s identity.

“In this case, we have shown that people that previously knew the song that was used in the experiment, not only liked the multisensory experience of drinking beer more while listening to it, but they also liked the beer itself more.

“It seems that the added pleasure that the song brought into the experience was transferred into the beer’s flavor.”

Speaking about the next steps for this research Felipe said: “We want to keep assessing how sounds can modulate perceived flavor attributes of food and beverages, such as bitterness, sweetness, sourness and creaminess.

“We also want to understand how sounds can influence our decision making process, in order to see if different sounds could, for example, lead people towards healthier food choices.”

Image shows a woman serving beer.
The music played in a bar can impact how much you enjoy your drink. image is for illustrative purposes only.

Research into the interaction of different sensory information on taste has opened up the way for food and beverage retailers to create a range of novel eating and drinking experiences.

“We believe that this is just the beginning;” said Felipe, “Next we will be able to work with other food and beverage types and progressively include other senses in this pairing process, such as vision, smells, touch.”

About this music and psychology research article

Source: Samantha Bradey – Frontiers
Image Source: This image is for illustrative purposes only.
Original Research: Full open access research for “Music Influences Hedonic and Taste Ratings in Beer” by Felipe Reinoso Carvalho, Carlos Velasco, Raymond van Ee, Yves Leboeuf and Charles Spence in Frontiers in Psychology. Published online May 6 2016 doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00636

Cite This Article

[cbtabs][cbtab title=”MLA”]Frontiers. “Music Makes Beer Taste Better.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 29 July 2016.
<>.[/cbtab][cbtab title=”APA”]Frontiers. (2016, July 29). Music Makes Beer Taste Better. NeuroscienceNews. Retrieved July 29, 2016 from[/cbtab][cbtab title=”Chicago”]Frontiers. “Music Makes Beer Taste Better.” (accessed July 29, 2016).[/cbtab][/cbtabs]


Music Influences Hedonic and Taste Ratings in Beer

The research presented here focuses on the influence of background music on the beer-tasting experience. An experiment is reported in which different groups of customers tasted a beer under three different conditions (N = 231). The control group was presented with an unlabeled beer, the second group with a labeled beer, and the third group with a labeled beer together with a customized sonic cue (a short clip from an existing song). In general, the beer-tasting experience was rated as more enjoyable with music than when the tasting was conducted in silence. In particular, those who were familiar with the band that had composed the song, liked the beer more after having tasted it while listening to the song, than those who knew the band, but only saw the label while tasting. These results support the idea that customized sound-tasting experiences can complement the process of developing novel beverage (and presumably also food) events. We suggest that involving musicians and researchers alongside brewers in the process of beer development, offers an interesting model for future development. Finally, we discuss the role of attention in sound-tasting experiences, and the importance that a positive hedonic reaction toward a song can have for the ensuing tasting experience.

“Music Influences Hedonic and Taste Ratings in Beer” by Felipe Reinoso Carvalho, Carlos Velasco, Raymond van Ee, Yves Leboeuf and Charles Spence in Frontiers in Psychology. Published online May 6 2016 doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00636

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