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Breaking: Light Beer Doesn't Taste Good

Breaking: Light Beer Doesn't Taste Good

At least that's what a new survey of light beer drinkers says

Is the light beer segment in trouble? Some people say it might be.

Today in "news that surprises no one," people are drinking less and less of the light beers that have long ruled the beer market, because they're finding that they don't taste as good.

AdAge cites the ConsumerEdge Insights' Beverage DemandTracker, "a periodic survey of U.S. adults who consume alcohol at least once a week," which found that 27 percent were drinking less light beer because they were "tired" of the taste, while 21 percent were drinking "more types of beer." We can only assume that means that craft beer is making stronger and stronger gains (again, to no one's surprise). Fewer and fewer people now say that "light beer tastes great," 30 percent in the last survey, compared to 33 percent in June 2012.

Is the light beer segment in trouble? The president of Consumer Edge Insight, David Decker, told AdAge that it might be. "After a long period when these domestic premium light brands dominated the U.S. beer industry, many beer drinkers, particularly younger ones, are finding that they prefer the stronger and more varied tastes of imports and craft beers instead," he said. "This suggests that the recent weakness in share trends for the big premium light flagship brands is likely to continue." Well, at least we know that there are better tasting, "light" craft beers on the market.

Of course, that doesn't mean that the big brewers are hurting by the switch from light beers to other beers. In its latest quarterly report earnings, Anheuser-Busch InBev revealed that its increased profits came from price hikes and a push to "premium" beers, such as the Bud Light Platinum and margarita-flavored Bud Light Lime Lima-a-Rita. Despite beer consumption dropping slightly this summer by 1.2 percent, global revenue for Anheuser-Busch In-Bev rose 3.9 percent. Meanwhile, America's best-selling craft brewery, Boston Beer Company, is also seeing increased profits.


Imperial Doughnut Break Evil Twin Brewing

Protips: Explain why you're giving this rating. Your review must discuss the beer's attributes (look, smell, taste, feel) and your overall impression in order to indicate that you have legitimately tried the beer. Nonconstructive reviews may be removed without notice and action may be taken on your account.

Help Us Be Awesome

3.75 /5 rDev -10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Sample on tap at What’s Brewing Beer Festival, Stavanger. Black colour, tan head. Chocolate and vanilla in the aroma. Medium sweet flavour, chocolate and vanilla galore, some roasty coffee notes in the finish.

3.77 /5 rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Etre Gourmet, served at home in a snifter glass.
Black colour, medium beige head with short retention. No lacing.
Aroma of chocolate, cognac, molasses, notes of raisins, licorice and almonds. I can´t find coffee.
Medium body, sticky creamy texture, flat carbonation.
Taste follows the aroma.
Interesting but I really expected some more.

4.68 /5 rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

L: Jet black color, one finger brown head, spectacular thin lacing, no visible carbonation. Looks glorious!

S: Sweet, chocolate, coffee, almonds, alcohol.

T: Sweet, chocolate, coffee, almonds, alcohol. Just WOW!

F: Full bodied, creamy, thick, all the flavouring you can imagine. Smooooooth.

O: World class imperial porter.

4.21 /5 rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the can of indeterminate age, it pours a very dark brown with a lighter brown head that lasts. In the nose, it is coffee, roasted malt and a bit of vanilla and chocolate. In the mouth, incredibly smooth roasted malt, coffee, chocolate and vanilla. Wow!

4.5 /5 rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

De Mikkeller. En copa Teku. Jugando a Slay the Spire, luego viendo Desencanto 2x01y luego MR Robot 2x01. Aunque no se le nota el cafe y se sube a la cabeza bastante, tiene un excelente fondo chocolatoso con feel ligero. El cafe no se lo noto

3.57 /5 rDev -15.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bought from liquor store 16 oz can dated 3/1/19 (2 months old) "brewed by Westbrook brewing co for Evil twin in South Carolina". Poured into mini snifter.
Really nice color with a small tan somewhat rocky head that dissipates quickly.
Smells mostly like coffee, dark chocolate, strong hints of bourbon, vanilla. Didn't really get almonds until I read the can. Very subtle.
Taste: not hops characteristic as expected in this style, strong on the coffee and vanilla and chocolate. Not so much Carmelly or bready notes you might expect for a pastry.
Feel: well carbonated but not overkill, not as syrupy as I expected which is good
Overall they could have just called this a chocolate imperial stout or something instead of the misleading doughnut thing. Not sure what kind of doughnut tastes like this. But hey, the name got me so I guess it worked! Over all good beer. Would buy again.

4.12 /5 rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampling a 16 oz can at cellar temp poured into my snifter. Can is datestamped 2-6-2018. Beer is a gift from my friend Erik, thanks!
The beer pours a jet black coffee color with dense tan head of about 1 cm. this foam fades pretty quickly to a sturdy edge layer and wispy islands on the surface. Many streams of carbonation rise to the surface in the center of the beer based on the active bubbling.
The aroma is robust and present right after the pour, no need to dig in with these bold aromas. I get dark chocolate, brown sugar and molasses, some sweet vanilla and roasted coffee grounds. No hops showing up and the booze is pretty hidden here too. Nice big malty nose.
First sip reveals a silky smooth texture with fairly thick body and leaves a sticky coating on my palate. Carbonation is fine and fairly gentle but still present to give a little tingle on the physical side of this beer.

Flavor is what I expect from the description and the nose on this beer. I get sweet chocolate and dark cacao, with some brown sugar and vanilla and a good bit of coffee grounds too. There is a bit of a sweet biscuit doughy note and some slight bite of booze on the swallow.
A bit of a sipper but surprisingly easier to drink than I thought it would be at 11.5% and pretty sweet.
A decent dark malty brew, it doesnt wow me but Im enjoying the can.

4.52 /5 rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured to a BrewDog snifter.

A: Body is pitch black and highly viscous, assuming right away a more alcoholic beverage, close to some good liquor. The head is dark brown, very dense and with very high retention. This does indeed look delicious.
S: Aroma is genius of crazy amounts of fresh coffee, nutty, dark dried fruits, almonds. It's very sweet and looks to be delicious again.
T: Taste starts off with a good amount of milk chocolate with a nutty tone on top, followed by the sweetness and bitterness of mildly dark, freshly roasted coffee. In the end, a very small bitter tone incoming from a more low profile hop style. This is a dessert like many Omnipollo creations.
M: Body is very high. Carbonation is spot on. Alcohol goes ALMOST unnoticed. For a 11.50%, that's a very good job. Bitterness is very low, sweetness is high but very enjoyable.
O: I guess I should really start paying attention to Evil Twin. Been having so many good stuff from them.

3.9 /5 rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Evil Twin brewing has been a hit or miss for me. I have had a few beers that were phenomenal and some duds. The beer is 48 degrees and served in a tulip glass. The pour on the beer produced a two finger very dark tan head. The head dissipated somewhat slowly leaving no lacing on the glass. The color of the beer is SRM 38 dark brown nearly black. The beer is opaque. The appearance is typical for these dark beers.

The aromas in the beer are coffee, chocolate, dough, sugar, nutty, anise, dark roasted malts, toffee, and bready,

The flavors of the beer are dark roasted coffee, toasted sugar, bready, doughy, nutty, dark chocolate, toffee, anise, dark roasted malts.

The mouthfeel of the beer is dry and coating.

The body of the beer is full, medium carbonation, and a full finish.

I am not sure what to think of this beer. I get this dry, bready, and doughy beer. The beer is just meh for me. I think this beer is a gimmick and needs help. Another dud beer for me from Evil Twin.

3.87 /5 rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16oz can into a Speiglau stout glass.

Look is pitch black with a thin dark tan head.

Aroma is astrigent roast dark malt with a hint of almond.

Taste is a little muted despite all the adjuncts. Very very very sweet.

3.97 /5 rDev -5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours like a good coffee stout, although the coffee found within is not as strong as I like. The nose is just okay, with stove burnt brown sugar at the forefront. The taste however is nice (albeit a tad too sweet) - definitely better than anything with chili pepper Evil Twin is so high on. A bit too expensive to buy for the good, but not outstanding return, but I would drink again if given a chance.

4.34 /5 rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Jet black with tan head and fantastic lacing.
N: Coffee, malt, almonds, sugar, and chocolate.
T: Follows the nose, semi-sweet feel with lots of chocolate, coffee, and almonds.
M: Medium
O: Very tasty porter, loved the flavor mix and feel.

3.85 /5 rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2016 release, let’s see how it’s held up.

Dark, nearly black pour. Looks a bit thin on the pour, with minimal lace and a thin ivory ring of foam around the glass.

Sweet vanilla and dark fruit on the nose. Really pleasant aromas, with not much coffee to speak of.. we’ll see from the flavors if it’s fallen off. Very mild oxidation on the tail.

Again, sweet flavors with a predominance of chocolate, subtle booze, flat coffee, and a tail of very slight oxidation and vanilla. This beer has held up well but definitely over the hump.

Smooth, clean, warm and light booziness. Sticky in the finish, still retaining medium carb.

Folknasty from South Carolina

3.32 /5 rDev -21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very boozy tasting. Don't really get chocolate or coffee and definitely don't get doughnuts. All of those flavors are probably hidden behind the 11.5% alcohol content.

4.25 /5 rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a beautiful onyx black color with a dark tan head that leaks to mahogany on the edges. The nose is loaded with sweet aromas, primarily rich milk chocolate and I’m guessing sugary doughnuts, though I wouldn’t have guessed that as an aroma.

The coffee isn’t really present on the nose, but I get loads of roasty coffee on the taste, which fits really well with the rich chocolate flavors. Again, not really getting a doughnut flavor, but there’s definitely a sweetness that I guess is attributable to the doughnuts.

This is definitely a sipper, because it’s got a noticeable alcohol content, and it’s very sweet, but it’s also very enjoyable spread out over an evening. Glad I took a run at this.

4.38 /5 rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Super dark and thick, dark tan thick head that lingers for minutes. Jam packed full of chocolate with a very nice desert like doughnut after taste (tho gimmick sounding flavors like that always make me wonder if I would taste it had I not read the flavor. Regardless it’s delicious and thick and another great beer by Evil Twin

arizcards from North Carolina

4.09 /5 rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up a single at the Downtown Chicago Binny's on 5-11-18 for $7.99. Canned on 2-6-18 consumed on 10-2-18.

Beer poured dark brown with a nice tan head initially that dissipated pretty quickly.

Nose is dark chocolate with a touch of coffee over a moderate roast malt base.

Taste is pretty sweet chocolate is most noticeable over a sweet malt/doughnut base. Some coffee comes in to try to offset the sweetness but does not really accomplish this. Not cloyingly sweet but definitely a dessert brew.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and very smooth.

Overall an interesting concept beer, hats off to the brewer for coming up with a good recipe. Definitely recommend if you are looking for a dessert beer.

4.35 /5 rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Solid black color . Medium light carbonation with an above average body.
Aroma is coffee, vanilla, almonds and a slight yeasty dough smell
Taste is mildly bitter black coffee with almond and a slight sweet vanilla taste.
This is a beer that definitely needs to be served a little warmer than most. As it warmed towards the end of the beer a glazed, sugary, doughy, doughnut taste showed up . Despite the doughnut taste this is far from a overly sweet beer yet still works as a dessert beer. I would get this again in the future

4.53 /5 rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black and thick like motor oil no light black around edges even when held to the light. the head is a finger and half of dense dark tan almost coco colored head that falls incredible slow and laces well. This is one fu**ing good looking dark beer.

Aroma is lots of sweet chocolate and sugars, coffee and molasses, good roasted malts loaded down with glazed doughnut sweetness. Almonds and vanilla hints are an after thought on this big boy.

Taste is like the nose big on sweetness lots of chocolate smooth and creamy fades to coffee and roasted malts dark fruit notes and vanilla. Lingering sweetness, molasses, vanilla earthy notes and hints of anise some light nuttiness but doesn't really remind me of almonds. More like those sugar coated nuts my mom likes. This is one big ass sweet can of goodness no hops really noted but they have to be there or this would be way to cloying and its just wonderful chocolate doughnut sweetness.

Mouthfeel is big full and smooth carbonation is a non issue hardly noticed.

Overall this is one sweet treat of a beer, damn wish I could find this locally, time to check the local liquor stores. I want more enough said.

4.02 /5 rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Very chocolate and sugary flavor like a glazed donut. Dark black/ brown color like soy sauce. Rich dark/ bitter chocolate flavored beer here. It's dangerous! Will sneak up on you. Doesn't taste like 11.5% alc/ vol at all. This is a good dessert drink. Flavors of coffee/ espresso, dark chocolate, almond, vanilla, sugar, and doughnuts. This is a sweet treat. Paid $10 for a pint of this brew. I Recommend Imperial Donut Break for coffee & chocolate lovers.

4.3 /5 rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Served in a goblet from the can.

Appeaeance: Semi thick black body with a slight dark tan head rising roughly one finger's length off the body.

Smell: Light mocha sweet sugar coming off straight into the nostrils.

Taste: Sweet chocolate cake with hint of vanilla and a bit of coffee.

Mouth: Medium carbonatkon with a full body. He after taste is super sticky and feels like the chocolate lingers, no complaints here.

Overall: Good brew, little over priced which is not over the time coming off at nearly 30 bucks for a 4-pack. Personally I say grab one and you will thank me later. Lots of complexity in the beer which make it an attraction to anyone. Salud.

4.34 /5 rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Heard a lot about this beer and only just found it locally. Pours an opaque brown-black with lacing that lingers transiently. Smell is of almond, coffee, roasted sugar, and bread. Dark chocolate, big biscuit, vanilla prevail on the palate. Salted caramel and sugar glaze deliver with an unexpected black pepperiness. Mouthfeel is lingering dark chocolate and despite the high abv the alcohol is neatly hidden. Overall, lived up to the hype. Not phenomenal, but certainly worth the added expenditure.

4.21 /5 rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours incredibly dark, a completely blacked out liquid that lets zero light in. The fluffy head is a tan/khaki color that very slowly fades away. The smell is really nice, but extremely mild. Coffee, chocolate, & molasses. Tastes of a lot of great coffee, but very low bitterness. The sweetness of the "donuts" overpowers the java bitterness. It’s definitely on the sweet side, but not overpowering, I am also getting dark chocolate and a good amount of maltiness. Was much lighter than I expected but still highly enjoyable.

3.51 /5 rDev -16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

eyes.
look into the heart of darkness. and you will see nothing because it is pitch black in there ya silly goose, dark tan head composed of cloned micro bubbles that link themselves hand in hand in a quite unbreakable fashion, lacing ? you ask. yes, glorious sheets, nay curtains of dark foam coat the glass like black lava creeping across the helpless landscape, in plain this is damn perfect looking.

nose.
doughy sweetness, the kind of sweetness you encounter in a bakery shoppe in the early morning hours, some roasted coffee, chocolate hints, some slight rays of licorice also shine through and inform the nose, nice.

taste etc.
pretty light in the mouth actually, barely medium bodied, the carbonation is like a layer on top of the brew itself, you experience the sip in stages, the flavor is almost all sweet, thankfully there is JUST enough choc/coffee tone to make this drinkable (this one is walking the line of being cloying. which I can't stand, If I wanted something that sweet I would just call your sister), the ABV is so damn well hidden I think it grabbed my wallet when I wasn't looking

verdict?
still too sweet for me to go back to. well crafted to say the least but the taste profile does not fit me personally.

3.2 /5 rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I just can’t resist weirdness. Whether it’s a place to visit, a good to eat, a beer, or a band, let’s go check that out. Because. 16 oz. can split with my wife.

The pour mills around right on the edge of pure black & complete baldness. The nose includes plenty of sweetness, roast, whiff of nuts, & a touch of Door County black earth. The earth does not shake.

Imperial Doughnut Break – Glazed tastes like a liquefied dentists bill. Sweeter than purified Splenda, even with my lifelong love of sugar in all forms (I used to eat it by the spoonful when I was young), I can’t imagine someone drinking a full can of this inside-rotting beast. Plenty of brown sugar & vanilla, with a gentle sludge of nuttiness & background that I can’t identify – I’m going to attribute that to the doughnuts, since I’m very suggestible. Roast is missing, & would be a welcome balancer. 8 ounces is the upper end of what I’d like to ingest.

Doesn’t live up to the promise of the unusual adjuncts or a good glazed doughnut. Pretty good beer.


Sea Dog Blue Paw Wild Blueberry Wheat Ale

Coming in at just under $10, we've got a New England specialty. If you happen to order a pint of Sea Dog Blue Paw Wild Blueberry Wheat Ale. well, first things first, try to figure out a shorter name. That's a mouthful. And speaking of mouthfuls (segue!), you might find yourself chugging a delicious beer that's accompanied by a hearty helping of actual blueberries. It's not as gross as it sounds, we promise — and it's just when you order it at the bar.

When you enjoy a blueberry ale in the comfort of your own home, you can skip the actual blueberries if you want, because this beer packs enough of a flavorful punch without them. It's a great brew for enjoying an early summer weekend on the coast of Maine or, if you're not really feeling that vibe, it's just a delicious, fruit-flavored beer for occasions like. Tuesday. It's an award-winning beer, too. In 2007, it won silver at the World Beer Festival, in the fruit beer category.


Get Hooked on Homebrewing With These Three Easy Beer Styles

First brews can be exhilarating: You’re about to make alcohol! The same stuff you’d happily pay for at the bar, you’re about to make in your kitchen, like a Prohibition-fighting, bathtub-brewing speakeasy owner.

Brewing is fun, but it’s also work. It involves heavy lifting, temperature monitoring, and a whole lot of waiting. It finally culminates in five gallons of magical liquid poured into a sterile container with yeast that will turn into beer — two or three weeks later.

When it’s finally time to crack open a bottle of homebrew, the first-time brewer faces her moment of truth: absolute amazement, or sheer disappointment.

Every Beer Lover Needs This Hop Aroma Poster

Having a successful first brew day starts with your recipe. A good rule of thumb is to start with relatively simple styles that are also forgiving — in other words, beer styles that naturally cover up potential flaws.

For that first brew day to turn into more brew days, and maybe even a few competitive medals, try these three styles that are as beginner-friendly as they are delicious. Although we can’t guarantee success, the styles and the recipes below should put you on the path to hearing your friends say, “Yeah, I’d drink a bunch of this.”

If You Love a Classic: American Wheat Ale

American hops give the easy-to-brew wheat beer an edge.

IPAs and pale ales are wildly popular at the local bottle shop, but they are not ideal for a first-time brew. Two major factors lead to IPA disappointment: Hop blends that come in kits don’t have the pungent, fresh flavor of juicy pints from the brewery down the street. And, if a beer doesn’t ferment out completely — meaning yeast quit metabolizing sugar before it was all gone — the beer will be too sweet and bready to showcase the hops.

American wheat ales are quintessential American craft, using citrusy hops like Centennial, Citra, and Cascade, as well as American yeast. Compared to an IPA’s bitter bite, American wheat beers balance hops with a rounder mouthfeel.

When sourcing a homebrew kit, especially for hoppy styles like this, skip the gift shops and grocery stores and look for homebrew suppliers like Northern Brewer or More Beer (or Brooklyn Brew Shop for those interested in all-grain homebrewing). Old hops will not only have a stale, lifeless flavor, they can also cause the off flavor isovaleric acid, which tastes and smells like stinky cheese or — gross! — feet.

Whatever style you choose for your first brew day, avoid additives. Kits with added adjuncts like chocolate, peppers, coffee, or dried fruits include these ingredients to camouflage off flavors because the kit is expected to make off flavors. There are plenty of chipotle IPA kits at big-box stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond or Target, but the finished beer will taste like a full-blown pepper fest, and leave almost no recognizable grain or hop character.

Good Go-To: German Hefeweizen

Hefeweizen, or Hefe for short, is a German-style ale popular in warm-weather months because of its drinkability and average alcohol content (4 percent to 5.5 percent ABV). The German yeast varieties used give distinct fruity and spicy aromas, like banana and clove. This helps cover up trace off-flavors, like diacetyl, which has a buttery aroma and mouthfeel, and acetaldehyde, which gives off green apple or grass aromas. These unwanted compounds result from unfinished fermentation or stressed yeast.

A grist consisting of at least 50 percent malted wheat creates a purposeful fullness on the palate that can mask the sweetness of a beer that didn’t ferment fully. Plus, the yeast is forgiving when it comes to fermentation and will create its signature banana and clove flavors anywhere in the 62-to-72-degree Fahrenheit range.

For Chef-y Types: Porter and Stout

A roasty American stout boasts flaw-hiding flavors of coffee and chocolate.

For fans of roasty flavors, like coffee and chocolate, porters and stouts are a great place to start. Dark malt provides strong aromas and flavors that hide potential fermentation flaws, like the aforementioned diacetyl (buttery) and acetaldehyde (green apple). Specialty malts like crystal malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, or black patent malt create complex flavor combinations that avid home cooks will appreciate as they try their hand at brewing.

Process lovers might also enjoy the extra step of steeping specialty grains before adding malt extract and boiling. This method requires attention to detail and temperature control, giving your first-ever brew day a little more spectacle.

Recipes for Your First Brew Day*

*These recipes have been modified from their original versions by Mandy Naglich. Credit: Jamil Zainasheff / byo.com

American Wheat Ale

Ingredients

  • 7 lb (3.2 kg) Briess wheat liquid malt extract or similar (3 °L)
  • 4.15 oz Willamette pellet hops (0.83 oz/24 g of 5% alpha acids)
  • 0.5 oz Citra pellet hops (11% alpha acids)
  • 0.5 oz Cascade pellet hops (5% alpha acids)
  • Wyeast 1010 (American Wheat) or Fermentis Safale US-05 yeast

Directions
Mix enough water with the malt extract to make a pre-boil volume of 5.9 gallons (22.3 L). Stir thoroughly to dissolve the extract and bring to a boil.

Add the Willamette hops and boil for 60 minutes. Add the Citra and Cascade hops just before shutting off the burner. Chill the wort rapidly to 65°F (18°C) and let the break material settle. Rack to the fermenter and pitch yeast.

Ferment in a cool place like a closet or basement (you’re looking for a temp around 65°F) until the beer attenuates fully (bubbling and any sign of activity will completely stop at this time). With healthy yeast, fermentation should be complete in a week. Rack to a keg and force carbonate or rack to a bottling bucket, add priming sugar, and bottle. Target a carbonation level of 2.5 volumes.

Finished beer stats: OG = 1.052 (12.8 °P) FG = 1.012 (3.0 °P) IBU = 20 SRM = 5 ABV = 5.3%

German Hefeweizen

Ingredients

  • 4.85 lb wheat liquid malt extract (4 °L)
  • 0.65 oz Hallertau pellet hops (4% alpha acids)
  • Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan Weizen or White Labs WLP300 (Hefeweizen Ale) yeast

Directions
Mix enough water with the malt extract to make a pre-boil volume of 5.9 gallons (22.3 L). Stir thoroughly to dissolve the extract and bring mixture to a boil.

Add the bittering hops and boil for 60 minutes.

After the boil is complete, chill the wort rapidly to 62°F (17°C) and let the break material settle. Rack (transfer) wort to the fermenter and pitch the yeast.

Ferment in a cool place like a closet or basement (you’re looking for a temperature of low 60s°F) until the beer attenuates fully (bubbling and any sign of activity will completely stop at this time). With healthy yeast, fermentation should be complete in a week. Rack to a keg and force carbonate, or rack to a bottling bucket, add priming sugar, and bottle. Target a carbonation level of 2.5 to 3 volumes.

Finished beer stats: OG = 1.049 (12.1 °P) FG = 1.013 (3.2 °P) IBU = 13 SRM = 5 ABV = 4.8%

American Stout

Ingredients

  • 8.51 lb Light Liquid malt extract 2 °L (or similar)
  • 14.46 oz Briess black barley 500 °L (or similar)
  • 10.93 oz crystal malt 40 °L (or similar)
  • 10.93 oz Briess dark chocolate malt 420 °L (or similar)
  • 1.16 oz Horizon pellet hops (13% alpha acids)
  • 0.85 oz Centennial hops (9% alpha acids)
  • White Labs WLP001 (California Ale) or Wyeast 1056 (American Ale) yeast

Directions
Mill or coarsely crack the black barley, crystal malt, and dark chocolate malt and place loosely in a grain bag (or make a bag with cheesecloth). Steep the bag in 1 gallon (

4 liters) of water at roughly 170°F (77 °C) for 30 minutes. Lift the grain bag out of the steeping liquid and rinse with warm water. Allow the bag to drip into the kettle while you add the malt extract. Do not squeeze the bag. Add enough water to the steeping liquor and malt extract to make a pre-boil volume of 5.9 gallons (22.3 L). Stir thoroughly to dissolve the extract and bring mixture to a boil.

Add the Horizon hops and boil for 60 minutes. Add the Centennial hops with 5 minutes left in the boil. Chill the wort to 67°F (19°C) and add yeast. Ferment at 67°F (19°C) until the yeast drops to the bottom of the fermenter (all bubbling and yeast activity will stop at this point).

Allow the yeast to settle and the stout to mature in the fermenter for two days after fermentation appears finished. Rack to a keg and force carbonate, or rack to a bottling bucket, add priming sugar, and bottle. Target a carbonation level of 2.5 volumes.

Finished beers stats: OG = 1.072 (17.5 °P) FG = 1.017 (4.4 °P) IBU = 73 SRM = 48 ABV = 7.2%


Cooking with Beer

Add flavor to your favorite recipes with a splash of brew.

Related To:

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Matt Armendariz, Copyright 2015

If you're a beer lover, chances are your favorite way to serve beer is straight up in a big, frosty mug. But don't confine your preferred brew to the cup – many dishes, including stews, soups and yes, even sweets, can be flavored with beer.

The Basics

Why cook with beer? Beer adds a rich, earthy flavor to soups and stews that makes them taste like they've been simmering for hours. Beers with a sweet or nutty taste can add depth to desserts. And don't worry about getting drunk – virtually all of the alcohol evaporates during the cooking process.

While some recipes call specifically for beer, many recipes that call for wine can be prepared with a brew – they'll come out with a more malty, toasty flavor. Just like wine, you should never cook with a beer that you wouldn't drink. If you don't like the flavor in a cup, chances are it won't appeal to you on a plate.

Different Beers, Different Flavors

Different beers pair well with different foods, so it's important to learn the taste differences before you hit the kitchen. Beer can be divided into two main groups: ales and lagers. Ale, the original beer, is brewed in a way that results in fruity, earthy flavors. Lagers make use of more modern brewing systems to be lighter and drier. Each type of beer has a distinctly different flavor that pairs well with certain foods. Below, you'll find a breakdown of several common types and some recipes that use each one.


Best Beer Batter Recipe: How to Make It & 6 Must Know Tips

Learning how to make the best beer batter recipe is very rewarding, but getting it spot on requires more than just a great recipe.

There are 6 critical things needed to make the best beer batter. Before I jump into these, rest assured there is an awesome beer batter recipe below.

So what are the 6 most important things when making beer batter?

They're simple, and once you know them you'll never forget them. Guaranteed to make you look like a master chef and impress friends and family!

1. Only Use a Cold Beer

Some beer batter recipes will say to add ice or place the beer batter in the fridge to 'rest' for 30 minutes.

Adding ice will water down your batter and refrigerating the beer batter just takes time. Simply start with a cold beer and you'll be one step ahead.

Two more reasons to use a cold beer?

The secret to great batter is to go from very cold to very hot, very quickly.

And if you take a cheeky sip while preparing the beer batter it's better cold than warm!

2. Use Self Raising Flour

There is no need for bicarb soda or yeast. Just use self raising flour. Also, the flour does not need to be sifted.

Self raising flour will make the batter light and crisp.

3. Don't Overwork The Batter.

Having some lumps in the beer batter is OK.

People often overwork their beer batter with a whisk. Not good. This takes extra effort and isn't necessary. A few lumps here and there in the batter is a good thing.

4. Choose The Right Beer

Skip this step at your peril. This one choice can make or break your dish. Here’s a simple guide to selecting the perfect beer to compliment the fish you’re using.

Frying something in oil that isn't hot enough results in soggy food. The goal is light and crispy.

heat your oil to 180º C (350ºF)

6. Don’t Overcrowd

Overcrowding the fryer or pan can lead to soggy food.

Placing too many cold pieces of fish into hot oil will make the oil temperature drop.

The secret to great batter is to go from very cold to very hot, very quickly.

If you are doing a lot of pieces of fish either get a larger pot with more hot oil or deep fry batches of fish at a time. Once each batch is cooked you can keep them warm in an oven set to 100º C until the final batch is cooked.

Now for the recipe.

Ingredients:

Fish of your choice (boneless and skinless)

330ml of cold beer of your choice

220g (1 ½ cup) self raising flour

½ cup rice flour (or plain flour)

Salt and pepper to season

1. Cut fish into even pieces to ensure cooking times will be consistent.

2. Make the beer batter by gently mixing the beer with self raising flour, salt and pepper in a bowl. Use a fork to mix and do not overwork the batter. Some lumps are OK.

3. Coat each piece of fish with rice/plain flour. This will give the batter something to attach too.

4. Dip each piece of fish into the batter and place in oil.

5. Cook until golden brown and then place on paper towel to absorb residual oil.


Rock Green Light Latrobe Brewing Co.

Protips: Explain why you're giving this rating. Your review must discuss the beer's attributes (look, smell, taste, feel) and your overall impression in order to indicate that you have legitimately tried the beer. Nonconstructive reviews may be removed without notice and action may be taken on your account.

Help Us Be Awesome

2.18 /5 rDev +16%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.25

Sorry but this looks super weak straw yellow and a terrible thin 1/6" head that is gone before it arrives. Aroma was clean and watery, just like the appearance.

Lots of carbonation and water all over this one. I mean, there's no off flavors, there's barely "flavors". I guess if you need to drink something after running or whatnot you might like this. Step down from Rolling Rock OG, which wasn't all that hearty to begin with. Almost like mineral water.

If you want malt, hops or yeast, look elsewhere.

1.29 /5 rDev -31.4%
look: 1.25 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 1.25

Remembering a few years back when I had rolling rock for the first time. ahhh yess, good role completely flavorless beer..

So I see a 16oz bottle of this is a local drug store and I get intrigued at how they could take something already flavorless and make it even lighter.

Look - Very clear yellow with a touch of soapy head with no lacing. Dead carbonation.

Taste - Bland as can be. Seltzer water.

Feel - Light bodied with no carbonation.

Overall - If a beer could talk this one would say " shoot me ".

Smell - Well it smells like. maybe a bit of. wait a minute. hmmm.

1.36 /5 rDev -27.7%
look: 1.75 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.25

What should I say? Rolling Rock was marketed well as a top level beer when I was back in college and I bought this thinking I could drink fancy beer but not get the calories. Honestly, I couldn't really even get this stuff down in college.

Green bottle, pouring a barely golden clear color with half finger white head. Aroma of skunks, a bit of hay and hops. Flavor followed pretty closely. While this was mostly just water flavor, it had an unpleasant skunk flavor and rather dirty, rough lager finish. Light mouthfeel for sure, but I wouldn't choose this even on the hottest of days.

2.43 /5 rDev +29.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Faint straw yellow beer, this one looks like it has lots of water/malt ratio, flimsy head. Aroma was clean, crisp, mild skunk, really thought this was the best thing about the beer, not bad at all.

Lots of carbonation, super easy to drink beer, not offensive, just nothing going on beyond a faint impression of a light adjunct beer and lots of water. Definitely has a place, its less than 4%, it doesn't taste like shit, its worthy when you need to cleanse the palate, or its super hot, or you want a beer but you have to drive your kid somewhere soon.

1.41 /5 rDev -25%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Reviewed from notes. Poured into a pint glass.

The pour is a faint golden color with a two-finger white head that dies down quickly and there is no lacing to be seen on the glass. The nose is a bit of grainy husks and some light grass. The taste is really off and astringent. My goodness is that bad. Peels over to the feel and is just wrong. Does not taste good and has a horrible feel this is just a bad beer and I'm glad it's retired.

2.88 /5 rDev +53.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours an almost competely clear yellow color with a small head. The smell is very faint, maybe a hint of grain. The taste is very light, there is a sweet malt taste with a very little hop bite. The mouthfeel is crisp and clean with a lot of carbonation. Overall there is nothing to stop you from drinking this beer, however, the is really nothing to it either. The faint taste would grade it above other mass produced light beers.

2.82 /5 rDev +50%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sometimes a plain beer is all I want. This one is one of the better ones out there. There is no bad aftertaste. and it has a nice mouthfeel. It actually has an average taste for a mass prodcued beer that isn't trying to break any rules. go for one.

3.05 /5 rDev +62.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours very light and clear. Not too much in the aroma area. Lots of carbonation. Taste is actually pretty good I think for a Light beer, very drinkable. Does come though as a bit bland in the mouth. Not a bad beer to drink after a hot day working in the yard but that is about it.

3.07 /5 rDev +63.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

The appearance is ok, with a pale straw yellow color and no real head or lacing. Smell is ok, a bit skunky and a bit of hops coming through. Taste is pretty good, some hops and a bit of sweet malt. The skunkiness is gone. Mouthfeel is too light, but not awful. Drinkability is good.

2.63 /5 rDev +39.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, yellow body bordered by a thin ring of white bubbles.

Smell: Not much present beyond some light pale maltiness and vaguely floral hints.

Taste: Pale malts with a mild cereal sweetness. A touch floral. A quick, watery finish and it's all over.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Best club soda I've had in quite some time!

1.33 /5 rDev -29.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Doesn't have much of a head to cover the clear, straw yellow color. Light grainy/bitter smell. Flavor has a bit of yeasty grains with a very faint hoppiness. Not the worst malt selection. Light body and very fizzy. I suppose it is well marketed like most of the others. Drink it cold. Drink it very cold.

1.76 /5 rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Pours very light with a white head that sticks around a decent amount of time for the style. A bit of lacing sticks.

A slight whiff of corn husk - not much at all. Nothing too offensive, but - well - almost nothing.

The taste is . some corn oil. tonic water. A vague hint of (grainy?) sweetness. No finish.

Some prickly carbonation is the only hint that this has anything going on. Watery, even for the style.

Carbonated water with a vague corn huskiness.
Wow - probably the most tasteless "beer" I've ever had.

3.7 /5 rDev +96.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer / pale ale gets blasted by folks trying to compare it to formal heavy beers. That is not the point with this review. This beer is what it is.

A light beer that must be served cold that has a light body and a fresh, clean finish.

Green Light carries 83 calories per 12 ounce serving so would be welcome for the average drinker who wants a beer without the average 150 calories.

In my opinion it is better than most of the mexican imports if that is your thing and may be even better if you add a lime slice.

This beer is a good choice for a woman who is not a heavier beer drinker but wants a low calorie, refreshing tasting beer.

1.98 /5 rDev +5.3%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Although very bland, even in comparison to other light beers I've come across, Latrobe's light offering does score for being what it strives to be: a relatively inexpensive, low-calorie, low-carb, light offering. For the more health and weight conscious drinkers out there, this might be a good choice, but if you're looking for flavor and style, just pass this one up.

1.05 /5 rDev -44.1%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Ever had schwepps seltzer water? That's exactly what it tastes like. And mostly what it smells like. On one hand, that means it's no thinner than any other crappy light beer (yes, it earned itself a 1.5 on the mouthfeel category because it's no worse than 5 incredibly well-selling, but awful beverages). But for someone who doesn't care what their beer tastes like so long as it has some measure of alcohol and lets themselves keep their weight down, it serves as an easy to choke down party beverage.

1.77 /5 rDev -5.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Why I tried this I will never know, I hate American pale lagers and especially light ones. Virtually no taste, subtlety, or character. Bland. I guess this was an attempt to keep up with the Michelob Ultra's of the world. Only 83 calories. I would rather have a hefeweizen packed with 200 calories than tasteless 83 calorie swill anyday. At first I thought I was actually drinking a no alcohol beer, but I found out it was 3.7 % abv. Avoid.

1.13 /5 rDev -39.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

I actually think this is the worst of the "low carb" beers (the best being michelob ultra amber . by a wide margin).

Pours a thin, watery yellow. As you may imagine, the mouthfeel is pure water, with almost no carbonation and no real hops, malt, or other flavoring. Maybe a slight alcohol/malt taste to it.

The strangest thing, though, is that it just tastes like it was brewed from nothing that normally is used to make beer. I have no idea what substance this was concocted with, but it just doesn't turn out right. Completely unpalatable.

1.88 /5 rDev 0%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - Poured out a golden yellow color with a white, bubbly, one-finger head. It was highly carbonated and left no lace.

S - It smelled of corn and not much else.

T - Tasted of corn and a little watery.

M - It starts a little sharp and then becomes thin and watery. A very light bodied beer.

D - Not very good even for light lagers.

2.72 /5 rDev +44.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I used to drink a lot of Rolling Rock and to this day I still like to have Rolling Rock the other day. I saw the Green light in a bar and thought well I give it a try. I was very disappointed

Appearance- A very weak pale amber.

Smell- A very watered down odor barely anything at.

Mouthfeel- Slightly carbonated but a little thin.

Drinkability- Very easy to drink and hardly any aftertaste.

2.03 /5 rDev +8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Rock Green Light pours a darker golden color than I would have expected from a green twelve ounce bottle. There is a thick white head that laces the glass as it fades. The aroma is adjunct. Tastes mostly of adjunct, maybe a little hop or malt toward the beginning, but not much.

1.75 /5 rDev -6.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

I have always been a fan of the "Rock" Lager as a refreshing drinking beer with a unique flavor (compared to other mass produced varieties). So I tried one of these lights to see how it held up. Not well. A light golden color with a ridiculous arrangement of gigantic bubbles where a head should be. The bubbles burst away quickly and you see a steady, light carbonation. The aroma is pretty much missing in action, maybe a touch of mustiness. Although the 83 calories is impressive, the taste value took a big hit as well. I don't sense much of the old Rolling Rock flavor here, just a hint of rice, no corn. Very watery, fizzy. I would look elsewhere for a light beer if I really needed one (which I don't).

1.23 /5 rDev -34.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Rerated 3/15/2007: Sharp and clear golden yellow beer with virtually no head. Big cooked starchy, grainy aroma, like a grain silo in the heat of summer. Very thin body, virtually no flavor . just a bit of vegetable and malted grain. Not much here. Maybe not as bad as my original, but pretty bad. Original rating: Poured stark yellow, extremely still with zero head. Starchy aroma. Literally, this tastes like water with a bit of grass in it. Awful.

1.98 /5 rDev +5.3%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Yes even these super mainstream beers need to be reviewed. Plain yellow body with off white head. Nose is a slight stink that is faint to pick anything up. Enters the mouth and you just keep searching for a distinguishable flavor. So you wait and do get a slight yeasty hue on the end twords the finish. Very crisp overall. Makes a refreshing summer water-like beer style. Good beer for someone who doesnt usually like beer.?

1.9 /5 rDev +1.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured (not sure why) from a 12 oz bottle.

A- Pours a pale yellow color. Clear. Slight carbonation. Big foamy bright white head that settles to nothing.

S- Some sort of adjunct. Not sure if its corn, but it smells foul and rotten.

T- Almost nothing to speak of. If you want to taste this beer make sure you don't eat a chip or a pretzel or you wont be able to taste a thing. Slight hops and malt, metallic, plastic.

M- Feels flat when freshly opened. Ice cold is the only way to drink it. The carbonation doesn't seem to be anywhere.

D- C'mon, don't do it to yourself. The only reason I had this is because a friend had some and didn't want it and I took one to write this review. Horrible.

1.23 /5 rDev -34.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Sample at AleFest Dayton: Still trying to figure out why I wasted a ticket on this. Weak straw color with a minimal white head that dissipates quickly. Next to no lacing. Metallic smell. Light-bodied with hardly any flavor or substance. The finish is watery but is the only place where there is even a suggestion of hops. Worthless.


Mash Temperature and Beer Body in All Grain Brewing

Great beer balances bitterness, color, flavor and body. As an all-grain brewer, you need understand how to control the body of your home brewed beer using mash temperature. By altering your mash schedule to match the style of beer you are brewing you can achieve precise control over the body and mouth-feel of your beer.

Managing Beer Body in the Mash

The key step in mashing is called the conversion step. Frequently done at a temperature between 146F/63C and 156F/69C, the conversion step breaks down complex sugars in the grains into shorter chains of sugar that can be consumed by yeast. If you are doing a single step infusion mash, the conversion step is your single step.

The temperature of your conversion step determines, in large part, what percentage of the complex sugars are broken down into simpler sugars. This is due to the enzymes active in the mash that break down complex sugars into simpler ones.

The two main enzymes active during the mash are alpha and beta amylase. Alpha amylase, which is most active in the 154-167F/68-75C range, creates longer sugar chains that are less fermentable, resulting in a beer with more body. Beta amylase, which is most active between 130-150F/54-65 C trims off single maltose sugar units that are more fermentable. This results in a more complete fermentation (higher attenuation) and a cleaner beer with a thinner body.

A more complete explanation is as follows: both enzymes work to break longer sugar chains into smaller maltose units that yeast can ferment. Alpha amylase is very flexible as it can break sugars chains up at almost any point, and is useful for creating shorter chains for beta amylase to work on. Beta amylase, in contrast, breaks off single highly fermentable maltose units of sugar, but can only work from the ends of the sugar chain. As a result beta amylase is better at creating single molecule maltose sugars that yeast loves, but it takes longer as it works only from the ends of the molecule. The two enzymes work best when applied in combination which is why we usually mash in the middle temperature range around 153F/67C.

A low step temperature (146-150F/63-66 C) emphasizing beta amylase will therefore result in a more complete conversion to simple sugars, but will take longer to complete. These simple sugars will ferment more readily, producing a highly attenuated beer that has higher alcohol content but less body and mouth-feel.

Conversely, a high temperature conversion step (154F-156F/68-69 C) emphasizing alpha amylase gives you more unfermentable sugars, resulting in lower alcohol content and a full bodied beer with a lot of mouth-feel. Moderate conversion temperatures (150-153F/65-67C) result in a medium body beer. In BeerSmith the mash profiles are labeled light, medium and full bodied to make this selection easy.

Conversion time also varies with temperature. Complete conversion of your malt for a low temperature, light bodied profile takes longer than a high temperature, full bodied mash profile. For my BeerSmith software, I actually built this into the latest version – using an adjustment factor when estimating the final gravity of the beer based on the mash conversion step temperature.

A Hybrid Mash Conversion Profile

One trick I see some advanced brewers use is to include a step both at a low conversion temperature (say 145F/63 C) and a second mash step at high conversion temperature (say 155F/68 C). This results in very high sugar conversion, and a very clean, light bodied beer. It does this by activating both the alpha and beta amylase in sequence. It is useful primarily for beers that require a clean, dry finish – and is most often associated with lagers.

Designing your Beer

How does this apply to all-grain beer design? It depends upon the style. Some styles, such as lagers have a clean, low bodied finish. Low temperature, light body mash profiles are appropriate to use with these styles. Sweet Stouts, Pale Ales and other full bodied beers will benefit from a full bodied, high temperature mash profile. Refer to the BJCP style guide for your target beer style to determine whether a light, medium or full bodied mash profile is appropriate to your style.

Thanks again for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Please subscribe to the BeerSmith newsletter or my podcast for more articles and episodes on home brewing.


Does beer taste better from a can or bottle?

Are we really still questioning the merits of canned beer? In 2018? I guess we are, because I recently came across a comment on one of my Beer Of The Week columns informing me that the beer I was recommending must be total crap because it comes in a can, not a bottle. To that commenter: 2003 called and it wants its misinformed beer opinions back.

Despite much evidence to the contrary, some people continue to believe that bottles are in and of themselves a sign of beer quality. It’s a misconception left over from decades ago when premium and “imported beer” brands—remember when that was a phrase people used unironically?—tried to sell Americans on their superiority to pop-top cans. Bottled beers were priced higher than canned beer, and advertising departments worked to convince drinkers this is because bottles meant higher-quality beer. Can bad. Bottle fancy. Bottle better.

This hasn’t been true for decades—if it ever was. We’re long past the days when only domestic light lagers came in cans. ( Dry-hopped Berliner weisse with sauvignon blanc grapes from a can, anyone?) Cans have a number of advantages over bottles, some of which have to do with keeping beer fresh. Let’s break them down for the naysayers:

Cans keep light out completely.

Light exposure is the enemy of fresh beer, because when light hits beer, it causes oxidation and the dreaded “skunked” flavors. Brown bottles are better at keeping light out than green or clear bottles—the green bottles are part of the reason Heineken is notorious for its skunked aroma—but cans are better than all of them. Light can’t penetrate aluminum, giving them a big advantage in terms of freshness.

Cans are well-sealed.

This aspect probably doesn’t matter much if you’re drinking beer within the first three or four months it’s packaged—the recommended shelf life for most beer—but can make a difference over a long period of time. A bottle with a cork still allows for micro amounts of oxygen to enter the bottle in a process called micro-oxidation that’s why Belgian beers that still have residual yeast in the bottle will continue to ferment slightly and “age” in your cellar. In the case of bottle-conditioned Belgian beers, that’s a good thing, but if you want a 100 percent sealed vessel, a can is it. (The jury is still out on how much micro-oxidation occurs in a bottle with a regular beer cap. The regular beer cap is a single seal on a plastic-type material beer cans are a double seal, theoretically giving twice the oxygen protection.)

Canning technology has improved in the last decade.

This is true, especially in regards to how much oxygen it leaves in the package. Total packaged oxygen (TPO) is a measure of how much oxygen is left in the liquid itself—dissolved oxygen—plus how much is left in the headspace of the can or bottle. The higher the dissolved oxygen and/or TPO, the faster that beer’s aromas and flavors will break down. When it comes to packaging, oxygen is the enemy. “The technology has gotten so good on the can-filling side,” says Matt Brynildson, brewmaster at Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Paso Robles, California. “I think it used to be that bottles always had lower dissolved oxygen rates than cans, but now our canning lines runs right on track with our bottling line, if not ahead of it, in terms of total packaged oxygen.”

Can manufacturers are ditching BPA.

Consumers don’t want BPA in their water bottles, and they probably don’t want it in beer cans, either. Previously, BPA was used in the interior coatings of most beer cans, but now companies have come up with BPA-NI (BPA-non-intent) can liners. Many craft beer makers have since switched over, especially those in California where products packaged with BPA must carry a warning.

That metallic taste in your beer isn’t coming from cans.

Can critics swear aluminum packaging leaves a metallic taste in beer, but cans are lined (see above) and metallic tastes can be the result of problems during brewing—not packaging. If beer comes into contact with anything less than stainless steel, it can leach metallic flavors during the brewing process, which isn’t much of a problem these days, as most professional breweries use stainless steel. Water chemistry or improperly stored brewing grains could also produce off-flavors one could describe as metallic.

Aside from cans’ technical merits, I tend to choose canned beer because they’re just more convenient. They’re lightweight the six-packs stack easily in my fridge I can take cans hiking or on the water where I wouldn’t want glass and they’re easier to recycle through my local recycling program.

“It’s becoming the more expected package for beer,” Brian Strumke, founder of Baltimore- and Brooklyn-based Stillwater Artisanal Ales , tells me. (His is the brewery that cans the dry-hopped Berliner weisse with sauvignon blanc grapes I mentioned earlier.) “It’s the most environmentally responsible package, I think, at the moment. It’s lighter for shipping it’s more compact for recycling.”

So, even if you don’t trust my opinion on cans, you can’t argue that they’re not brewer-approved.

“I don’t take bottles home unless it’s a beer we only put in bottles,” Brynildson tells me. “If people can just get over that stigma that there’s a quality difference—it’s a perceived-value aspect our parents were taught based on pricing, probably—there’s no compelling reason to go for bottles over cans.”

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.


Kölsch

My first time wandering the streets of Cologne was a magical moment. In between dramatic cathedrals and luscious chocolate factories, I slipped from one brewery/pub/restaurant to another sampling Kölsch, the beer of Cologne. The waiters (or Köbes as they are called) serve the beer in a tall, narrow 200-mL glass called a Stange. With each additional delivery, they make a mark on your beer coaster, indicating the number of beers you’ve been served and how much you owe when done. They continue to bring beer and make more marks around the perimeter of the coaster until you put the coaster on top of the glass to indicate you are finished. I sat in the first pub for quite some time, as I enjoyed watching the parade of marks march their way around the perimeter of the coaster like a formation of skinny ants.

Kölsch, according to the Kölsch Konvention, can only be called Kölsch if it is brewed in the Cologne metropolitan area. The Kölsch Konvention also demands that the beer must be pale in color, be top-fermented, hop-accentuated, highly attenuated and between 11 and 14 °P. Of course, as any good brewer knows, that still leaves considerable wiggle room. While the different breweries do produce beers with a range of character, it is interesting to note how small a range of characteristics they span even though the Konvention technically allows much more.

In today’s bold craft beer landscape, Kölsch is a relatively subtle beer. It is very pale gold to light gold color with a light grainy malt character and a soft mouthfeel. A few examples have a slight touch of malt sweetness up front, but all follow through with a crisp enough finish that the beer never really seems sweet. Hop bitterness ranges from medium-low to medium, usually resulting in an even balance. Drier beers may seem a bit more bitter in the balance, and sweeter versions balanced even to very slightly sweet. Hop flavor and aroma are generally low to non-existent, but there are some examples where noble hop character is apparent.

A mistake some brewers make with Kölsch is to take any mention of fruitiness in the BJCP style guide and use that as carte blanche to brew really fruity beers. While there is some fruitiness, in most good examples it is very subtle. In Kölsch, fruitiness should be a character left more to the imagination rather than being outright obvious. When sampling your own Kölsch, if your first thoughts are about the fruity character, then it is way too much. The same can be said for sulfur. During cold fermentation, if activity is slow, the beer will end up retaining unacceptable levels of sulfur. Yes, you might find some sulfur in a few examples of the style, but I would argue that you won’t find it in the best examples. Make sure your fermentation procedures minimize the production of fruity esters and sulfur.

I prefer a nice German Pilsner malt for brewing Kölsch. I have used other pale malts with acceptable results, but the light, grainy taste of high quality Pilsner malt is right on target for this style. That is all you need for a great Kölsch. You can enhance the malty flavors with a small addition of Vienna or light Munich malt, but keep the percentage to 5% of the grain bill or less. Using these malts can also make the beer too dark. You don’t want to overdo the clean, restrained malt flavors of this beer and you never want to add additions like caramel malts. The sweetness and flavor of caramel malts will quickly overwhelm the intended light character of this style.

In the past, a number of sources suggested that Kölsch-style beers were made with a sizable portion of wheat malt, up to 20%. The current Beer Judge Certification Program style guidelines correctly indicate that this is rare in authentic Kölsch. A small portion of wheat malt is OK the same as adding Vienna malt. Wheat can add a gentle bready note to the beer and can improve head retention. Overall, try to keep it simple. Limit yourself to no more than one grain in addition to the base malt and keep that to no more than 5% of the grist. A single infusion mash around 149 °F (65 °C) strikes the proper balance between fermentable and non-fermentable sugars.

Extract brewers can use a Pilsner-like malt extract, although in a pinch any light colored extract will suffice. Most light colored extracts will attenuate fairly well, but try to avoid any extract that won’t attenuate in the vicinity of 80% apparent attenuation. There are several good Pilsner or Pilsner-type extracts out there, so finding a good extract should not be too difficult for most brewers.

Target a bitterness-to-starting gravity ratio (IBU divided by OG) between 0.4 and 0.6. You’re trying to achieve an even or very slightly sweet start to the beer, with a balanced overall character, and a slightly dry finish. Normally, a single addition at 60 minutes is all you need. If you want a beer with some hop character, a moderate later addition, say 1⁄2 ounce (14 g) 20 minutes or later is acceptable. Hop choice for bittering and flavor is fairly flexible. Ideally, stick with German noble hops Hallertau, Tettnang, Spalt or Hersbrucker. If you’re having trouble sourcing those, any German hop will work as will US versions of traditional German hops. Overall, think German lager hop character, not West Coast pale ale character. Never use citrusy or catty American-type hops.

Yeast selection and fermentation temperature control is very important. It is impossible to get the right flavor and aroma without the right yeast at the right temperature. You want the beer to attenuate enough so that it doesn’t have a sweet finish and you want to ferment it cool enough that any esters are restrained and the beer has a fairly clean character. Two great yeasts for this style are White Labs WLP029 German Ale/Kölsch and Wyeast 2565 Kölsch. You can’t go wrong with either product. These yeasts provide the right, low-ester profile and proper attenuation for a dry enough finish.

No matter what yeast you choose, however, you’ll still need to pitch the proper amount of clean, healthy yeast and keep a close eye on fermentation temperatures to ensure good attenuation and flavor development. Fermentation temperatures around 58 to 62 °F (14 to 17 °C), depending on strain used, is a good range. One thing to keep in mind about most Kölsch yeasts is that they do not flocculate easily. It can take quite a bit of time, finings or filtering to clear the beer, and it is important for the style to be brilliantly clear. If you’re patient, the easiest way to clear the beer is to lager it near freezing for a month or more.

Kölsch’s delicate character won’t hide flaws, like oxidation or poor fermentation practices. Pay strict attention to sanitation, yeast health, and treat your beer gently during transfers. After lagering and as soon as the beer reaches its peak of flavor, it is time to start thinking about consuming the beer fairly quickly. Kölsch is best served fresh and around cellar temperature. If you can serve your Kölsch in a tall, narrow, straight-sided glass, it will also make a difference in your perception of the beer.

Recipes

Kölsch

(5 gallons/19 L, extract)
OG = 1.048 (11.9 °P)
FG = 1.009 (2.3 °P)
IBU = 25 SRM = 4 ABV = 5.1%

Ingredients
6.6 lb. (3 kg) Briess Pilsner liquid malt extract (2 °L)
4 oz. (113 g) Munich or wheat liquid malt extract (optional)
5 AAU Hallertau pellet hops (1.25 oz./35 g at 4% alpha acids) (60 min.)
White Labs WLP029 (German Ale/Kölsch) or Wyeast 2565 (Kölsch) yeast

Step by Step
The all-grain version of this recipe uses a small amount of Vienna malt. While you can try steeping 0.5 lb (227 g) of Vienna malt, the problem is that it will add unconverted starch to your beer. It is better to omit it or use extract instead. I don’t know of any Vienna malt extracts, so Munich or wheat extract is the best substitute. Many folks have a hard time sourcing 100% wheat or Munich extract (Weyermann makes a 100% Munich malt extract), with most being a blend around 50/50 or 60/40. However, all is not lost. Just count the non-Munich or non-wheat portion of the extract against the base malt. For example, if a recipe called for 1 lb (0.45 kg) of 100% Munich and you had a 50/50 blend instead, increase the amount of Munich extract to 2 lb. (0.9 kg) and lower the base malt amount by 1 lb (0.45 kg).

Mix enough warm, chlorine-free water and the malt extract to make a pre-boil volume of 5.9 gallons (22.3 L) and a gravity of 1.041 (10.2 °P). Stir thoroughly to help dissolve the extract and bring to a boil.

The total wort boil time is 60 minutes. Add the bittering hops once the wort begins to boil. Add Irish moss or other kettle finings with 15 minutes left. Chill the wort rapidly to 60 °F (16 °C), let the break material settle, rack to the fermenter and aerate thoroughly.

Use 2.5 liquid yeast packages or make a starter with fewer packages. Ferment at 60 °F (16 °C). Allow the beer to lager for at least four weeks before bottling or serving. When finished, carbonate the beer to approximately 2.5 volumes and serve at 50 °F (10 °C).

Kölsch

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.048 (11.9 °P)
FG = 1.009 (2.3 °P)
IBU= 25 SRM = 4 ABV = 5.1%

Ingredients
9.25 lb. (4.2 kg) Durst continental Pilsner malt (2 °L) or similar
0.5 lb. (227 g) Weyermann Vienna (4 °L)
5 AAU Hallertau pellet hops (1.25 oz./35 g at 4% alpha acids) (60 min.)
White Labs WLP029 (German Ale/Kölsch) or Wyeast 2565 (Kölsch) yeast

Step by Step
Mill the grains and dough-in targeting a mash of around 1.5 quarts of water to 1 pound of grain (a liquor-to-grist ratio of about 3:1 by weight) and a temperature of 149 °F (65 °C). Hold at 149 °F (65 °C) until enzymatic conversion is complete. Raise the temperature to mash out at 168 °F (76 °C). Sparge slowly with 170 °F (77 °C) water, collecting wort until the pre-boil kettle volume is around 6.5 gallons (24.6 L) and the gravity is 1.037 (9.3 °P).

The total wort boil time is 90 minutes, which helps reduce DMS levels in the beer. Add the bittering hops with 60 minutes remaining in the boil. Add Irish moss or other kettle finings with 15 minutes left in the boil. Chill the wort rapidly to 60 °F (16 °C), let the break material settle, rack to the fermenter and aerate thoroughly.

Use 2.5 liquid yeast packages or make a starter with fewer packages. Ferment at 60 °F (16 °C). Lager for at least four weeks before bottling or serving. When finished, carbonate the beer to approximately 2.5 volumes and serve at 50 °F (10 °C).

Kölsch II

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.049 (12.3 °P)
FG = 1.010 (2.6 °P)
IBU = 28 SRM = 3 ABV = 5.2%

Ingredients
9.5 lb. (4.3 kg) Durst Continental Pilsner malt (2 °L) or similar
0.5 lb. (227 g) Great Western Wheat Malt (3 °L)
5 AAU Hallertau pellet hops (1.25 oz./35 g at 4% alpha acids) (60 min.)
2 AAU Hallertau pellet hops (0.5 oz./14 g at 4% alpha acids) (15 min.)
White Labs WLP029 (German Ale/Kölsch) or Wyeast 2565 (Kölsch) yeast

Step by Step
Mill the grains and dough-in targeting a mash of around 1.5 quarts of water to 1 pound of grain (a liquor-to-grist ratio of about 3:1 by weight) and a temperature of 149 °F (65 °C). Hold the mash at149 °F (65 °C) until enzymatic conversion is complete. Raise the temperature to mash out at 168 °F (76 °C). Sparge slowly with 170 °F (77 °C) water, collecting wort until the pre-boil kettle volume is around 6.5 gallons (24.4 L) and the gravity is 1.038 (9.6 °P). The total wort boil time is 90 minutes, which helps reduce DMS levels in the beer. Add the bittering hops with 60 minutes remaining in the boil. Add the Irish moss or other kettle finings and the late hops with 15 minutes left in the boil.

Chill the wort rapidly to 60 °F (16 °C), let the break material settle, rack to the fermenter and aerate thoroughly. Use 2.5 liquid yeast packages or make a starter with fewer packages. Ferment at 60 °F (16 °C). Allow the beer to lager for at least four weeks before bottling or serving. When finished, carbonate the beer to approximately 2.5 volumes and serve at 50 °F (10 °C).


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