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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Homestead, Florida USA

    Corn Based Beer?

    Can someone explain why Corn based beer is not marketed? Is it taste, tradition??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Metro Detroit

    Re: Corn Based Beer?

    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.
    bibamus, moriendum est
    Sipology Blog

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Spring Arbor, MI

    Re: Corn Based Beer?

    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.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Beaver County, PA

    Re: Corn Based Beer?

    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?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Swaziland, Africa

    Re: Corn Based Beer?

    I will add my uneducated guess to the mix... I would think a corn based beer would have too much of an oily mouthfeel.
    Hope is subversive, for it limits the grandiose pretensions of the present by calling into existence the possibility of something better.

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999

    Re: Corn Based Beer?

    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.

  7. #7

    Re: Corn Based Beer?

    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.

  8. #8
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Re: Corn Based Beer?

    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!!

    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.

    Grain on the Brain

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Hershey, PA

    Re: Corn Based Beer?

    Quote Originally Posted by MJL View Post
    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...
    "Suppose he's got a pointed stick!?!"

    - Eric Idle, Monty Python's Flying Circus

  10. #10

    Re: Corn Based Beer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grain Brain View Post

    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by boss302 View Post
    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"

    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).



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