On beer

This off topic area is a place where, while you are visiting the Crispin Colloquy, you can talk about beer, whiskey, kilts, the latest WWII re-enactment, BBQ, grandsons, shoes in the media, and even the odd meandering essay on "why we make shoes."
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dw
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On beer

#1 Post by dw » Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:55 pm

To inaugurate this new section of the forum I thought I would post my part of a discussion in the Off Topic section of another forum that I thought was interesting.

[The initial discussion revolved around the differences between domestic (US) beers and beers that were brewed or found overseas....]

Most domestic beers are more of an alcoholic concoction loosely based on some beer formula than actually beer--Miller and Budweiser are prime examples.

Beer and ale are made from barely sprouted barley. The sprouting begins the transformation of the carbohydrates in the grain to maltose...a type of sugar. The sugar feeds the yeast. The yeast converts it to alcohol. If this is done correctly, there will be enough sugar in the form of maltose to complete the fermentation and make beer or ale. At which point, the alcohol content gets high enough to kill the yeast and the fermentation stops. If done correctly, fermentation will stop exactly at the point when there is no more (or very little) available sugar.

If the brewer starts out with a top fermenting yeast, the result will be an ale. Stout is technically an ale. If the brewer uses bottom fermenting yeast, the result will be a lager. Both Pilsner and Bock are lagers.

If there isn't enough maltose present, the brewer must add supplemental sugar usually in the form of sucrose. Excess sucrose in the blood stream is known to deplete B vitamins from body tissues...including the brain. Much of this gets replaced by other nutrients we take in. But excess sucrose in alcohol will strip B vitamins from the brain toot sweet. That's a simple explanation of why we get a hangover. The same phenomenon can be observed in children who indulge to excess around Halloween--they get manic.

Quality beers and Ales use no additional sugar...they don't need it, for one, and, of course, the brewers recognize the debilitating effects. That's why the Germans had/have the Reinheitesgebot--the German Purity laws--that stated that beer could not be made with anything but barley, water and hops. Most good English ales are made the same way although I don't think there is any law governing that...extra sugar is just not needed if the brewer knows his craft.

Budweiser, Miller, and other domestic "light pilsners" skimp on the barley and add rice or corn instead (it's cheaper). But neither rice nor corn supply the necessary nutrients--maltose--for the yeast, and so the brewers are forced to add sucrose. Sucrose is not used as efficiently by the yeast as maltose. There may be some residual sugar (even though you can't taste it) in the beer and, and when digesting sucrose which is not native to the malted barley, the yeast produces some by-products that our bodies find mildly toxic.

Try drinking a little bit to excess (just a little bit, mind you) of a domestic beer and compare the physical effects you experience the next day with the same exercise using a good English ale or German Pilsner. Of course you might give yourself (and your body) a couple of days to recover from the effects of the first go-round. The same exercise can be performed the following days/weeks comparing a Margarita (or other sweetened mixed drink) with a good quality single malt.

I think you'll be surprised at how well you feel after drinking the true beers. If nothing else you'll have a good time.

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Re: On beer

#2 Post by romango » Mon Nov 10, 2008 8:18 pm

All hail the sysadmin!

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Re: On beer

#3 Post by dw » Mon Nov 10, 2008 8:39 pm

Image

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Re: On beer

#4 Post by romango » Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:29 pm

Here in Kathmandu, we can get nothing but Carlsburg, Heinican and a couple of local beers. And they don't understand wine at all.

I'm so used to the richly flavored microbrew IPAs of Oregon that these all seem like so much yellow water to me.

I can't wait to get home and have a Ninkasi Total Domination IPA.

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Re: On beer

#5 Post by cwsaddler » Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:52 pm

Of course there is always Pilnser from Pilsner

Jim Kladder
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Colonial Williamsburg

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Re: On beer

#6 Post by dw » Tue Nov 11, 2008 4:06 pm

Jim,

My wife and I once found a Pilsner from Pilsner with the old style ceramic and wire bottle cap. Beautiful green bottles too. I thought the beer was good but a little "hoppy" for me. But I loved the bottles and when I was brewing my own, I preferred to bottle in those kinds rather than the metal cap type.

Could never find that brand again (I think it was Pilsner Urquell) in that kind of bottle, so I quit looking.

I prefer the dark ales personally--an Amber ale or a porter or even a stout. My favourite at this time is Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery right here in the highlands of Central Oregon.

Rick,

We're fortunate aren't we? I can drink ales from at least four or five Oregon microbrewers with no qualms.

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Re: On beer

#7 Post by corvin » Wed Nov 12, 2008 10:09 am

DW, is this the secret to the clean-lined sublime beauty and flawless execution of your boots?

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Re: On beer

#8 Post by dw » Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:03 pm

Craig,

Well thanks for the kind words but I don't think it's the beer...think Island or Highland malt whiskey.

Of course that's another topic altogether. Image


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Re: On beer

#9 Post by jask » Fri Nov 28, 2008 11:43 pm

A topic near and dear to my heart.DW it sounds like you have an interest in brewing.

It is a common misconception that the high levels of adjunct sugar sources in American brewing were done for economic reasons; in fact the early American brewers used a type of barley (6 row) that had a much higher enzyme "strength" than the varieties used in Europe. The American 6 row malt also produced much higher levels of protein and would tend to result in a cloudy beer. Adittional protein posed problems during the brewing process and resulted in a "heavy" beer; the natural solution to this problem was to use the extra enzymes available in the mashing stage to convert inexpensive low enzyme starches to fermentable sugars. The corn starch and rice adjuncts also added a lightness to a heavy beer and a flavour that was eventually to become a hallmark of American style beers.

A few points of minutia regarding malted barley.. Maltose is the primary fermentable sugar but many other sugars and non fermentable constituents are produced in Malted barley. The dark malt that gives a good stout its colour and flavour is almost entirely unfermentable.Other malts can impart a wide variety of distinct sweetness profiles to a beer.Malted barley is also the primary source of the enzymes and nutrients used by the yeast during the fermentation.

A well crafted beer will have a yeast that is properly attenuated to the style of beer,the temperature of fermentation, and the local ingredients..( a beer made in an area with highly mineralized or carbonate water would do better with a different yeast than another brewed with glacial water, and some of the European "noble" hop varieties taste much worse when brewed with hard water..) The goal of fermentation is not to maximize alcohols but to create a unique and repeatable brew.
One other point worth considering when you look at the "extra" expense of buying a craft brewed beer; fermentation produces many unwanted lesser alcohols and higher alcohols as well as by-products that are part of the "hangover"- these are significantly reduced by the longer fermentation and plentiful enzymes and reactions that occur in a traditional low temperature brew.

A good comparison might be a young blended vs a well aged single malt, both contain comparable amounts of ethanol but what you do not see in the process and the unwanted extras are what differentiate "good enough" from greater than the rest!!I have never met a single malt I did not like, but given only one choice I would take Oban!!!

(have one in my hand right now!! cheers!)

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Re: On beer

#10 Post by dw » Sat Nov 29, 2008 6:31 am

Jask,

Well you are a lot more knowledgeable about beer than I am. I have brewed beer...actually mostly ales--from bitters to stouts...but although I know most of what you are saying it is in a fairly sketchy way.

For instance, my understanding was that the darker roasts of barley were unfermentable because the heat of extended roasting had deactivated the enzymes and caramelized the sugars. But then these dark roasts are added in relatively small quantities for flavour and colour.

In the absence of darker roasts, brewers...esp. large quantity brewers...will often add caramel for colour. but it doesn't really add much in flaour in my experience and I deplore the the use of caramel.

Personally, I can't stand raspberry beer...called in an excess of pomposity "framboise"...or chocolate beer or pumpkin beer, etc.. If you're adding anything to the four basic ingredients, you're adulterating it, IMNSHO.

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Re: On beer

#11 Post by jask » Sat Nov 29, 2008 3:09 pm

I generally do not like fruit beers either,with a few exceptions.I enjoy old world fruit beers like real frambois or kriek (these are nothing like the thin flavoured ales we see..)fruit lambics and a very few homebrewed chocolate cherry stouts.
Last year I visited good friends in Texas, they knew I enjoy beer and had purchased a pumpkin ale as a "treat" for me.. luckily they also had laid in some Shiner Bock and Mexican beer, because I could not get that boiled squash taste out of my mouth fast enough.
When the wife and I were first seeing each other we traveled down the Oregon coast ,I was in heaven enjoying all the craft brews in each place we visited. One particular fruit beer stands out in my memory; it was a true wheat beer,with almost no sweetness, tart and dry and perfect on a hot summer day. This beer had been brewed with blueberries and had a light taste of the berries but a lot of the tartness of the skins and none of the floral fruit after-flavour that spoils so many of these beers.

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Re: On beer

#12 Post by holly » Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:43 pm

Slightly off topic, but this is a video on how to use a shoe to open a bottle of wine. It's in French, but I think you can still follow along.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZDEVYNrjmY

Cheers!

(Message edited by holly on August 20, 2010)

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Re: On beer

#13 Post by goatman » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:16 pm

DW, you're a man after my own heart! Anything lighter than an Amber is too light for me! If I can make it down to Redmond, Oregon this Oct., I will try to remember to bring along a sixer of my favorite stout. Otherwise, I will have to drop it off with Rick in Eugene and hope he will get it to you, since I don't know where Redmond is, and I will be heading for the coast to Yachats for a week and a half.

OK, I found Redmond on Mapblast, I may be able to swing by for few minutes on my way home on the 21st, but no promises yet!

(Message edited by goatman on April 22, 2011)

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Re: On beer

#14 Post by dw » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:43 pm

Jim,

Yeah, Rick is about 120 miles due west of me. And Black Butte Porter...made in Bend--13 miles south...is one of the best microbrews being made. Ninkasi notwithstanding.

But since you're so close...are you coming to AGM this October?

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Re: On beer

#15 Post by goatman » Sat Apr 23, 2011 10:52 am

I will be travelling home to Montana at the end of 1 1/2 weeks of being at Yachats at a Church Festival. It also depends on whether we take another family with us to Oregon or not, gas being as high as it is expected to be (and I don't fly, since the TSA seems to feel that they have "the right to grope." ). We would probably only be stopping off for a few minutes to meet some of you guys, and then get back on the road ...... (much as I'd like to stay for the whole shindig).

And BTW, in my earlier post I meant to say "my favorite Porter" after reading your post, I had stout on the brain .... can't get a decent stout in Montana, so far!
I hope to become an HCC member sometime this summer, if things work out! We'll see ........

:a light bulb goes on in the muddled brain:
Are there any campgrounds in the Redmond area where a person can pitch a tent? That might give us a few hours to visit instead of a few minutes! I figure that we could possibly head North from Redmond to John Day and catch the freeway back towards home, rather than go back to I-5 in Eugene. I'll email you to see about any camping facilities nearby, no sense crapping this thread with that.

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Re: On beer

#16 Post by goatman » Sat Apr 23, 2011 7:42 pm

DW,You got PM

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Re: On beer

#17 Post by jon_g » Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:57 pm

Not strictly an "on beer" message, but I thought it fitting as I intend to enjoy a few this evening.

I want to wish you fellow forum members the best in the new year. I hope to see forum membership and participation increase in 2013 and I hope to see us all grow as craftsmen and continue to be stewards of this great craft.

Jon

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Re: On beer

#18 Post by homeboy » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:05 am

Hey Jon,

My wishes are the same as yours Partner. It would be great to see you in Guthrie this October. I know I'm going to be there. Dale and Lisa are great hosts!

I'm gonna keep you honest on your participation.......I LOVE to see your work. Very Impressive!

Happy New Year!

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Re: On beer

#19 Post by jon_g » Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:03 am

Cheers Jake,

One of my resolutions is to participate more in the discussions as well as the gallery.

Hope your new year is off to a good start.

Jon

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