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MJL
11-23-2010, 15:29
Can someone explain why Corn based beer is not marketed? Is it taste, tradition??

Josh
11-23-2010, 15:40
Maybe a little of both. Mostly, I think it has to do with how difficult corn is to ferment.

In Peru, there is a traditional fermented corn drink called chicha. If you visit a museum with a decent South American collection, chicha jars are fairly common artifacts. I have a friend who has spent a lot of time in the Andes and has sampled chicha numerous times and she has described it as "Naaaaaaasty". She did say that it seems to taste better when it has bugs floating in it.

OscarV
11-23-2010, 15:41
Probably because it would be bad beer.
If you want a beer with corn added to it to bland it down then get a Miller, Pabst, Busch etc.
But if you like your beer blanded down with rice try Budweiser or Coors.

BrianBradford
11-23-2010, 17:15
A corn based beer would probably add too many unwanted weird lingering flavors. I could only imagine a corn beer working as possibly a dark beer. Possibly a black lager?

kickert
11-23-2010, 17:38
I will add my uneducated guess to the mix... I would think a corn based beer would have too much of an oily mouthfeel.

cowdery
11-23-2010, 18:51
Governor Bradford made corn beer just a few years after the Mayflower landed, but before he was governor.

And ever since it has been the choice for when you absolutely, positively don't have any other grain you can use instead.

People experiment with it and I'm sure if anyone ever came up with a corn beer that tasted good they would market it. Corn has the advantage of being the cheapest cereal grain, which is why whiskey-makers use it.

A practical hang up is the fact that corn is the most difficult cereal grain to liquify. You have to cook if for a fairly long time at a fairly high temperature to get the starch to dissolve, whereas barley malt dissolves quickly and completely in warm water.

TNbourbon
11-23-2010, 18:57
Stick your finger in the fermenter during a Maker's Mark tour: corn beer, of a sort. It may be part of the reason they make bourbon.

Grain Brain
12-02-2010, 22:44
Oh, what a great question here. Why is it that bourbon, made primarily from corn, is so great whereas beer made from corn sucks so bad?

Seriously; corn beer sucks, it just does. Schaeffer, anyone? This was marketed as a corn beer, and it was terrible. Corn beer gives the absolute worst hangovers, and even makes for bad headaches while drinking it.

The best beers are barley based, but saying that, I'm not a huge fan of scotch whisky, which is made from barley. Kinda strange, ain't it?

Rye whiskey rocks IMO, and the few rye beers I've had (not many are commercially produced), I've enjoyed a great deal.

So I ask you, what is the best, all-around fermenting grain? RYE!! :yum:

Okay, okay - so I'm a rye whisky fiend. Seriously though, IMO, the best whiskeys are rye based, but even I have some self-conflict for the fact that while I do enjoy rye based beers, I prefer barley based ones. Why is that?

I think Cowdery's probably got it for the fact that you don't have to heat barley as aggressively to convert it to a fermentable sugar. This milder heat probably allows more of the natural properties in barley to remain intact and thus contributes to the more palatable qualities in barley based beer.

boss302
12-03-2010, 01:10
Can someone explain why Corn based beer is not marketed? Is it taste, tradition??

Corn-based beer is marketed, but as "Malt Liquor," which is interesting, because the product contains no barley malt, and is not a liquor...

According to the Rheinheitsgebot (German Purity Law), it can only be called "Beer" if it is made from Barley. An exception was later made to include Weissbier (which is STILL mostly barley).

Now, American breweries do not always follow the Old World traditions, but some have become so deeply-rooted in brewing culture that they are still considered guidelines, if not laws...

jesskidden
12-03-2010, 04:57
Seriously; corn beer sucks, it just does. Schaeffer, anyone? This was marketed as a corn beer, and it was terrible.

Schaefer, like a majority of US beers at the time, was an adjunct lager that used corn (in their case, milled cereal corn) but probably at no greater percentage than most other brewers at the time - so, 30-40% of the grain bill- the rest malted barley. Schaefer was one of the last independent companies that did their own malting (they owned Meyer Malt in Buffalo, NY, which Stroh eventually sold after they bought Schaefer).

Schaefer (which was a Top Ten US brewery for much of the post-Repeal era, until bought by Stroh) also supplied yeast to 70 US and Canadian breweries.


Corn-based beer is marketed, but as "Malt Liquor," which is interesting, because the product contains no barley malt, and is not a liquor...



Lots of US "malt liquors" use large quantities of corn (especially corn syrup) to boost the ABV but they all have to use at least some barley malt, since its use is required by the TTB legal definition of "malt beverage" (the catch-all legal term in the US for ALL beer):

"malted barley comprising not less than 25% by weight of the total weight of fermentable ingredients" (http://www.ttb.gov/beer/bam/chapter4.pdf)

The Feds have no specific definition for "malt liquor" (other than a malt beverage over 0.5%) but many states require any beer over a certain percentage (usually in the range 0f 5-6% ABV) to be labeled "malt liquor"- and that includes many German and other all-malt beers.

"Malt Liquor" is actually a very old US brewing term, which was used by both the government and the industry to mean ALL beers and ales (in the US "beer" usually referred specifically to "lager beer"). In legal uses, "malt liquor" was juxtaposed with the terms "vinous liquors" (wine) and "spirituous liquors" (distilled liquors, spirits, etc).

cowdery
12-04-2010, 11:28
Many people mistakenly believe the word "liquor" refers only to spirits. It actually refers to all alcoholic beverages, hence the term "liquor store," a store specializing in alcoholic beverages.

Grain Brain
12-04-2010, 23:34
Many people mistakenly believe the word "liquor" refers only to spirits. It actually refers to all alcoholic beverages, hence the term "liquor store," a store specializing in alcoholic beverages.

Gotta disagree there. Liquor, as defined by Websters and Dictionary.com is a distilled product and does not include fermented products such as beer & wine.

'Malt liquor' is not distilled, and therefore is not technically a liquor.

Here in Texas at least, we have liquor stores which, yes, do in fact do sell beer & wine but do so only because they're allowed to sell alcoholic beverages of such strength as whiskey, vodka, etc., and so may as well sell beer & wine while they're at it.

We also have beer and wine only stores which, while specializing in alcoholic beverages, are not allowed to sell whiskey, vodka, etc. Beer & wine stores are distinctly different than liquor stores in the fact that they're open on Sundays, are open until midnight (as opposed to 9:00pm), and can only sell beer or wine (no whiskey, no vodka, etc). They are only allowed to sell alcoholic beverages up to a certain percentage (usually under 20%), and thus are not 'liquor stores'.

And as for Schaefer, as I was drinking it in the late 80s to early 90s, it was most certainly marketed as corn beer, shamelessly so and right on the package, regardless the barley to corn mashbill ratio. Now, maybe back in the 30s and 40s it was the bomb, but in the 80s... not so much.

OscarV
12-05-2010, 04:20
Here in Texas

...off topic...

On the label of Bud Ice it says "Beer. Ale In Texas".
Is that because of the alcohol content which is above 5%?
Is it a tax thing?

jesskidden
12-05-2010, 04:58
...off topic...

On the label of Bud Ice it says "Beer. Ale In Texas".
Is that because of the alcohol content which is above 5%?
Is it a tax thing?

Both.

Anything over 4% abw (so, just about 5% abv) must be labeled "ale" or "malt liquor" in Texas, where the state excise tax is more for the above 4% abw beers.

Texas ABC Definitions (http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/label_approval/index.asp)
Texas Excise Tax Rates (http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/excise_tax/index.asp)

jesskidden
12-05-2010, 05:35
And as for Schaefer, as I was drinking it in the late 80s to early 90s, it was most certainly marketed as corn beer, shamelessly so and right on the package, regardless the barley to corn mashbill ratio. Now, maybe back in the 30s and 40s it was the bomb, but in the 80s... not so much.

I don't quite understand what you mean by a "corn beer" (to me, it implies a beer brewed without barley malt- which would be illegal in the US. Maybe it's just a semantic argument).

Was Schaefer a standard US style light lager beer that used corn (rather than rice) as it's adjunct? Sure, and the company always admitted as such. "Schaefer and most other brewers use cereal corn that has been dry milled and screened to a specific particle size distribution." from The Story of Quality - All About Schaefer Beer. Unlike some brewers, who's labels sometimes simply said "other grains" (in some cases, because they switched their adjuncts depending on market conditions) Schaefer did list "milled corn" on the label, as well as "finest barley malt".

They also often made slight digs at A-B's promotion of rice, such as "...you may even have hears the flat statement that rice is superior to all other starchy adjuncts. This story has persisted solely because one brewer has advertised that he has used only rice for years." IBID Certainly the F&M Schaefer Brewing Company was unusually proud of it's use of corn, even despite the fact that they did their own malting.

The same book refers to this elsewhere:

"We should stress that beer is a malt beverage, and that malt is an essential ingredient for brewing beer. No brewer could think of trying to do without it..."

After 1981, of course, Schaefer was simply an economy brand of Stroh Brewing Co. and I don't know how Stroh marketed Schaefer, and it's likely the adjunct rate, no doubt high to begin with near the end of it's independent life, was increased. It wasn't unusual, of course, for brewers to emphasis it's use of corn in advertising in the mid-West corn belt (Stroh expanded Schaefer's market to most of the US after they also bought Schlitz, and became a national brewer), just as A-B stresses it's use of rice from Arkansas and many brewers noted the locally grown barley in the upper Mid-West.


Now owned by Pabst, and brewed by Miller, the current Schaefer Beer (http://www.schaefer-beer.com/about/default.aspx) website mentions only 6-row barley malt but it is obviously an adjunct lager, probably brewed with corn syrup now, as is typical for most of the Miller-brewed adjunct beers.

macdeffe
12-05-2010, 05:54
A lot of the "big" lagers here in Denmark is made on any cereal, including maize (corn)

I know for sure Ceres lager is, not sure about our big brands (which includes Carlsberg and Tuborg, which is probably the better known brands)

Ceres seems slightly rounder and sweeter, not sure the corn can be the cause of that. I reckon the hopping has effect as well

Steffen

cowdery
12-05-2010, 16:14
Although 'liquor' is commonly taken to mean 'distilled spirits,' The federal government refers to all alcoholic beverages as liquor and distinguishes the types of liquor as distilled spirits, malt beverages and wines.

Josh
12-05-2010, 16:33
Although 'liquor' is commonly taken to mean 'distilled spirits,' The federal government refers to all alcoholic beverages as liquor and distinguishes the types of liquor as distilled spirits, malt beverages and wines.

Not to mention oyster liquor, cocoa liquor, etc.

When the word entered English it meant any liquid. I've even read medieval English books in which the blood of Christ was referred to as "licour".

cowdery
12-06-2010, 11:38
Not to mention oyster liquor, cocoa liquor, etc.

When the word entered English it meant any liquid. I've even read medieval English books in which the blood of Christ was referred to as "licour".

If dictionaries are starting to define it as 'distilled spirits,' that's a reflection of recent usage changes.

Funny thing about language, if people use a word incorrectly often enough it becomes correct.

Grain Brain
12-06-2010, 11:53
Funny thing about language, if people use a word incorrectly often enough it becomes correct.

Is that referring to me? It should refer to the Texas and federal governments instead.

As a consumer, and a discerning one at that, I will stick with the technical, scientific terminology, and not improperly used legal jargon.

As an example and as previously stated, in Texas our laws state that any beer over 5% abv be labeled either as malt liquor or ale, but you won't catch any self respecting beer snob worth a damn ever calling a double bock an ale. It's a lager, a scientific term which the legislature doesn't even acknowledge.

The Texas legislature got the terminology they used in the law wrong, dead wrong. They took a scientific term and applied a new, conflicting usage to it. Technically, an ale is an ale regardless how much alcohol it contains, yet just because Texas states that an ale has to be over 5%, then it must be the proper usage of such terminology?

Sorry, but I don't think so. Since when do people around here, all of you fellow discerning drinkers, every last one of you, adhere to legal definitions over scientific ones?

As for liquor, so far as I can tell on the internet searches I've done, I can't even see where the federal govt. uses 'liquor' as a legal term at all. All I find in the legal documentation are references to 'alcohol', with the aforementioned distinctions of 'distilled spirits, wine and beer'.

Fine, the legal, federal term 'liquor' may include beer and wine, and may simply be synonymous to the legal term that I did find, 'alcohol', but you'll be hard pressed to find an establishment calling itself a 'liquor store' that doesn't sell distilled spirits.

Websters doesn't have it wrong, the lawmakers do.

Josh
12-06-2010, 13:14
I never though I would be defending Texas legislature online, but...

According to this website (http://1828.mshaffer.com/d/word/liquor), in Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary, liquor is defined as:

"A liquid or fluid substance. [See Liquid.] Liquor is a word of general signification, extending to water, milk, blood, say, juice, &c.; but its most common application is to spirituous fluids, whether distilled or fermented, to decoctions, solutions, tinctures."

If any dictionary can be considered definitive, the Oxford English Dictionary is it. This is from the OED online, definition 3b.

"Liquid for drinking; beverage, drink. Now almost exclusively spec., a drink produced by fermentation or distillation. malt liquor, liquor brewed from malt; ale, beer, porter, etc. spirituous liquor, liquor produced by distillation; spirits. vinous liquor, liquor made from grapes; wine."

I agree that the ale thing is a very odd, if that is the Texas legislature's definition of an ale. But malt liquor seems to be a perfectly valid term that one could, if one wanted, use to refer to any grain-based alcoholic beverage.

Grain Brain
12-06-2010, 13:32
I'm down with the OED, and so I guess I'm just wrong.

But come on, let's quit splitting hairs here; I still say you won't find a 'liquor store' that doesn't sell distilled spirits. Who here wouldn't be surprised walking into 'Tom's Liquors' only to find beer and wine, or only water and milk for that matter?

Seriously.

Josh
12-06-2010, 13:38
I'm down with the OED, and so I guess I'm just wrong.

I still say you won't find a 'liquor store' that doesn't sell distilled spirits though.

But come on, let's quit splitting hairs here; who here wouldn't be surprised walking into 'Tom's Liquors' only to find beer and wine?

Seriously.

I certainly would.

We do have liquor-less liquor stores in Michigan, though. They're usually called Party Stores. And if you don't see the word "liquor" on the outside, you ain't leavin' there with anything but lottery tickets, a case of Milwaukee's Best and a sack of chili cheese fritos.

OscarV
12-06-2010, 13:38
I still say you won't find a 'liquor store' that doesn't sell distilled spirits though.


That's the way it is here in MI.
If the sign says "Liquor" then they have spirits.

Not to be confused with bars that have liquor in the front and poker in the rear.

Gillman
12-06-2010, 19:07
Just to put a further spin, I met a man recently who used to be a distiller for rum and whisky distilleries. He would say to me, the mass market will never get a taste for "liquor", by this he meant brown spirits especially traditional ones made in a pot still or with that character. Gin and especially vodka was not liquor.

Gary

cowdery
12-07-2010, 13:11
I'm down with the OED, and so I guess I'm just wrong.

But come on, let's quit splitting hairs here; I still say you won't find a 'liquor store' that doesn't sell distilled spirits. Who here wouldn't be surprised walking into 'Tom's Liquors' only to find beer and wine, or only water and milk for that matter?

Seriously.

Where do you get that for the definition of 'liquor' to include wine and beer, one has to identify a 'liquor store' that sells only wine and beer? In rhetoric, that's called a red herring.

What you got wrong is that the word 'liquor' as applied to alcoholic beverages, has long meant all alcoholic beverages, including distilled spirits but not distilled spirits exclusively, which is what you asserted. Granted, you are hardly alone in assuming this and are very likely in the majority. And, as I said, the definition of words does change through usage and some, especially online dictionaries, now favor the 'new' definition of liquor, though many older and ostensibly definitive sources do not.

I'm old and came up in the liquor business a long time ago when the 'liquor business' meant the business of selling any alcoholic beverages.

kickert
12-07-2010, 15:17
Speaking of definitions (and contributing to thread drift), I had a guy come into the distillery the other day and say "I have been to a lot of breweries but have never been somewhere that makes booze." He made another comment later saying he was more of a beer drinker, but liked some "booze."

In my world "booze" is any alcohol, but to him, it only applied to distilled spirits.

What say you all.

cowdery
12-07-2010, 16:35
Speaking of definitions (and contributing to thread drift), I had a guy come into the distillery the other day and say "I have been to a lot of breweries but have never been somewhere that makes booze." He made another comment later saying he was more of a beer drinker, but liked some "booze."

In my world "booze" is any alcohol, but to him, it only applied to distilled spirits.

What say you all.

Booze and liquor are very similar in that respect, in that people tend to personalize the meaning. 'Booze' has the additional aspect of being slang. I say 'booze,' like liquor, means any alcoholic beverage.

And not to get under Grain Brain's skin again, but when people are corrected about mistaken beliefs about booze, they get offended and defensive more so than on other subjects.

The things people don't know about booze you could write a book about. (Publication date to be announced.)

ILLfarmboy
12-07-2010, 17:29
I never though I would be defending Texas legislature online, but...

According to this website (http://1828.mshaffer.com/d/word/liquor), in Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary, liquor is defined as:

"A liquid or fluid substance. [See Liquid.] Liquor is a word of general signification, extending to water, milk, blood, say, juice, &c.; but its most common application is to spirituous fluids, whether distilled or fermented, to decoctions, solutions, tinctures."

If any dictionary can be considered definitive, the Oxford English Dictionary is it. This is from the OED online, definition 3b.

"Liquid for drinking; beverage, drink. Now almost exclusively spec., a drink produced by fermentation or distillation. malt liquor, liquor brewed from malt; ale, beer, porter, etc. spirituous liquor, liquor produced by distillation; spirits. vinous liquor, liquor made from grapes; wine."

I agree that the ale thing is a very odd, if that is the Texas legislature's definition of an ale. But malt liquor seems to be a perfectly valid term that one could, if one wanted, use to refer to any grain-based alcoholic beverage.

You can't argue with the OED.

But having said that, let me argue with the OED:

The use of the word liquor to mean any liquid meant for drinking is on par with the word meat meaning any food, usually solid food. Its archaic.

It is easy to imagine the vernacular evolution of the word liquor from any liquid meant for drinking; with malt liquor, spirituous liquor and vinous liquor all describing various types of alcoholic liquors and eventualy when people began dopping those qualifiers; malt, vinous, and spirituous in their everyday speech, "liquor" in their minds began to mean strictly distilled spirits, at least in the minds of some of us, perhaps the majority of us.

If I hear somone say, 'I smelled liquor on his breath', I assume he is talking about distilled spirits much the same way if I hear someone say, I'm gettin' full do you want the rest of this meat, I assume the person isn't talking about vegtable matter.

Chuck, you are certainly a stickler for proper meaning when it comes to this issue. It's too bad you aren't the same way when it comes to other issues. I remember discussing the various "assault weapon" bans. I made the point that "assault weapon" has a very particular meaning; a select fire carbine, with emphases on the weapon's select fire capability. The various bans were semi-auto bans. Legislators and the public were using and continue to use the word "assault weapon" incorrectly. You didn't seem to have a problem with that. In fact, If I recall correctly, you supported that usage.

Now, you are all up in Grain Brain's grill for doing exactly what you have done in the past; using a less proper slang/vernacular definition.

imbibehour
12-07-2010, 17:46
All I know is the filler of corn that many adjunct lagers use... tastes like ***.

Grain Brain
12-07-2010, 19:20
Really don't know where to go from here as I've said about all I care to say, though I didn't want to leave anyone hanging, so;

Brad, Oscar and Josh, thank you for your input, sincerely.

Cowdery, you've made your point and I've made mine. Let's just leave it at that.