back to article Shouting lager, lager... Carlsberg's beer AI can now tell pilsners apart

Denmark-based brewing giant Carlsberg has reported good progress in its attempts to turn Microsoft's Azure AI into a robot beer sniffer. The project, which kicked off earlier this year, was aimed at cutting the time a beer spends in research and development by one-third, thus getting fresh brews into the hands of drinkers …

  1. }{amis}{ Silver badge


    Carlsberg sell beer? and here I thought they peddled cans of recycled horse p!$$ huh you learn something every day!

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: peddled cans of recycled horse p!$$

      Apparently their algorithm is heading towards a stable release.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: ????

      Wow, what a comedian. Tossing insults at mass-market lager... what do do you for your encore, some observational humour about how Donald Trump isn't especially popular?

  2. Khaptain Silver badge

    AI - Artificial Ignorance

    Beer is like sex, there are days when it is great and days when it is not... A lot depends on the person, environment, what you had to eat the night before, etc etc etc etc

    Having "algorithms" test beer is like having a Blow Up Doll" being used to test candidates for porn movies. He might have the meat but not necessarily the talent but the doll wouldn’t know the difference.

    Also. robots don’t drink beer and neither do algorithms, they might be able to do a chemical analysis but I doubt that they would appreciate a damned cold beer on a hot day like today and therefore determine if that beer was really exciting to your taste buds or not…

    Pseudo Code:

    Case ( Beer Origine)

    English : Return "poor, lacks taste, almost fizzy water"

    German : Return "Not bad, Pilsners can be fine as long as cold"

    Belgian : Return "Excellent flavor, great selection and usually very strong".


    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: AI - Artificial Ignorance

      The people making the beer don't know what you ate, how hot the day is when you'll drink it, etc, either. And yet they still try to come up with something. That's what the drunken robots are going to be trying to do.

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: AI - Artificial Ignorance

        True, but they too are human and know that taste, feeling and sentiments can change according to a multitude of factors. They also have memories that can relay information based on feeling, personal preferences and personal desire which AI has no need for.

  3. Ebbe Kristensen

    Someone has to tell you...

    A pilsner is a specific beer type within the family of lager beers. The common trait is that after fermebting lager beers are lagered at fairly low temperatures for a couple of months. See also

  4. Florida1920

    The real test

    Will come when it can tell the difference between horse piss and American Budweiser. Meeelions of Americans can't.

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: The real test

      Horse Piss probably has more taste.

      Like a lot of American Food and Beverages, the wrapper might look pretty but the contents are severely lacking in taste, unless "synthetic" is considered a taste. ( The Americans don't care though as evolution has left them devoid of taste buds)


      1. Florida1920

        Re: The real test


        ( The Americans don't care though as evolution has left them devoid of taste buds)

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Merkin Food

        M'Lord, I offer up Cheese made in the USA, especially anything with a 'Cracker Barrel' label or named 'Colby' or 'Sharp' Cheese as evidence of how simple ingredients can be turned into something rubbery and inedible.

        M'Lord, the prosecution rests.

        PAris as even she can tell that something is crap.

      3. Ochib

        Re: The real test

        "Horse Piss probably has more taste." and is normally warm

      4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: The real test


        Like a lot of American Food and Beverages... unless "synthetic" is considered a taste

        The first and last time I tasted a Hershey Bar. Devoid of any taste of cocoa

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Someone has to tell you...

      Nearly all bottom-fermented beers are horrible, sort of implied by the "bottom-feeding" yeast type… ;--)

      Top-fermented for me all the time! This is also the best way to experiment with "wild" flavours and how beer started.

    3. Spacedinvader

      Re: The real test

      If it's made with rice it's not a fuckin lager!

      ----> pint of the real stuff

      1. RubberJohnny

        Re: The real test

        If must be ascnowledged though, that the American are fucking brilliant at brewing and have a huge choice of fabulous beers. Just not the ones that cost 0.0001 cents per litre to make - including the dreaded rice beer.

    4. RubberJohnny

      Re: Someone has to tell you...

      Definition of pilsner can be simplified to over-hopped lager.

      So like lager but slightly less abhorrent.

      Lager being the drink that suits the breweries more than the consumer because it is cheap and easy to make, store, transport and dispense. So marketing teams convinced chavs that there are such things as "premium lagers" (meaning generic lager with marketing and costing more) and it's really good business.... such is life.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Someone has to tell you...

        The home-brewing community I'm in certainly wouldn't agree that lager is inherently bad. You're just talking nonsense. But then you seem like a proper snob, looking down at 'chavs' for liking things they 'shouldn't' like.

        Each to their own.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Someone has to tell you...

          You have to admit, it does suit the breweries and hostelry industry a lot better if they can push lager.

          But as you say, each to their own. I hope you enjoy your Justin Beiber music.

        2. RubberJohnny

          Re: Someone has to tell you...

          "But then you seem like a proper snob, looking down at 'chavs' for liking things they 'shouldn't' like."

          Yep, that just about sums it up, thanks for the compliment.

          And the mass produced chemical conveniently produced and packaged lager industry is so far removed from homebrew that your comment completely defeats itself. Nonsense R U.

    5. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: The real test

      Will come when it can tell the difference between horse piss and American Budweiser.

      Budweiser, Miller, Coors, et al are pissed out by well-hydrated gorillas. The difference between gorilla piss and horse piss can be subtle, depending on diet, water conditions, and hydration levels.

      Gorillas are expensive to obtain and their cages take up valuable space, so forward-thinking brewers in Oregon are exploring other sources for brew stock.

    6. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: The real test

      When I lived in California for a while I was surprised that all of my American friends regarded Bud as dishwater. It was probably the lowest selling drink in the bars where I lived.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: The real test

        I was amused that they sold "Bass Beer" as a British beer. I mean WTF is it? Barely possible to get it in Britain, like Liptons brand tea.

        1. Korev Silver badge

          Re: The real test

          Bass is a British beer thought... It was my staple drink at Uni :)

      2. Alan1kiwi

        Re: The real test

        They probably drank Corona. Which was originally the cheapest beer that students (being discerning beasts and budget conscious) could buy. These days it is "up market". Too funny.

        1. RubberJohnny

          Re: The real test

          Corona premium? You mean 12 bottles for a tenner in Tesco Corona?

          Nothing premium about it, not even pretend premium.

  5. A K Stiles

    Also from the Register...

    Very not surprised when about half the "Also from the Register" stories clearly keyed onto the word Lager and linked back to various episodes of BOFH!

    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      Re: Also from the Register...

      Speaking (in appropriately reverential tones) of he who is the BOFH, aren't we overdue for a few episodes?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    if(sample.liquid == "american crap"){

    console.log("not beer");


    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Carlsberg and Heineken are also doing a very good job of producing consistently bland and non-descript piss and by their sales, it looks like the public tends to agree with them!

      Meanwhile in the US, depending on where you are (ie. outside Trumpistan), you can get some very good beers.

      1. Grikath

        I think you're referring to Heineken "export".

        You can't get proper Heineken outside of the Netherlands....

        Even then Heineken itself, over here, is considered ...the Lesser of Choices.. So you're still not missing out.

  7. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    well , that robots already more picky than me then.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At least they can reuse the AI for testing the strength of piss, should be really good with the weak stuff. Probably.

  9. Ken 16 Silver badge


    I assume it produces a statistical likelihood rather than a defininite output.

  10. HPCJohn

    Carlsberg IPA

    Living in Copenhagen, I can say that the Carlsberg Brewmasters IPA is not half bad.

    thinking of that, I might have a tin or two watching the sun go down over the harbour this evening.

    I prefer Jacobsen Brown Ale actually, which I find very good. Burp.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Virtual Beer-ality

    The AI's value probably isn't in finding the good but rather the known bad.

    If you want to create something new, a AI system doesn't have an algorithm to judge the value of new elements other than to say its different. Humans can resolve the unknown results.

    Automated-protection from the known skunk values, that's a nice feature for all crash-test tasters.

  12. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    'Carlsberg has inflicted IoT devices on 30 pubs to track data on the storage conditions of beer kegs (such as temperature) as well as stock levels. Such tracking is aimed at ensuring the beer remains in good condition and profits stay healthy'

    Profits of the pubco, not of the pub, by making sure they're not buying and selling much cheaper beer from third party sources..

    Some of the large brewers do create quite decent beers; I've had a very nice Heineken xmas beer in Oslo, but they only sell the shite over here. Then there are surprises, like Trooper, which you'd expect to be fairly substandard for a 'celebrity' beer, but it's actually half decent, both in cask, and a bottle.

  13. 0laf Silver badge


    This AI shite has just gone too fucking far now.

    I mean science and healthcare is one thing, but beer.... Go on get to fuck Hal!

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Nooo

      I Will Give Up My Beer When They Peel My Cold Drunken Fingers From Around It.

  14. rotmos

    Carlsbergs robot beer sniffer managed to find taste in their beer?! Must be able to go to 11 to handle real beer.

  15. Zwuramunga

    American Beer

    Has come a long way in the last 20 years.

    Come and taste the beers of California, no longer F*cking near water.

    1. BongoJoe

      Re: American Beer

      Alas it's still a little fizzy for my taste. I was in some microbrewery on Manhattan Beach some time ago and whilst the beer was fundamentally brewed fine it was still killed off and then revived with the biggest greasiest bubbles I've ever seen in a beer.

  16. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    Wall-E World

    So now the automated beer factory can produce beer optimized for the automated beer taster.

    We were so busy harrumphing about voice assistants and IoT sex toys that we completely missed the real threat.

  17. JDX Gold badge

    Life imitates art

    I recall a certain surly bending unit was partial to a beer or 101011

  18. Wilseus


    I can see the UK Carlsberg brewery from my bedroom window. In Northampton we call it the fart factory. Well I do anyway.

  19. Real Ale is Best

    Great British Beer Festival - Olympia

    Those who want to spend a day or two sampling and are free at the beginning of August should take a trip to the <a href=">Great British Beer Festival</a>.

  20. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    tell the difference between lager and pilsner

    But pilsner *is* a lager. It's like saying you can tell the difference between vegetables and carrots.

  21. chivo243 Silver badge

    UniBlab anyone?

    this sounds like an opportunity for drunk AI driving...

    It already happened in the Jetsons...

  22. Shonko Kid


    It *has* to be called this, shurely!

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