Rice in US Beers


Beer experts... Generally speaking, is it true that the major US brewers use rice in addition to barley in making their best-selling beers? If so, in ballpark terms, what proportions are we talking about?
Reply to
Webster
>Beer experts... Generally speaking, is it true that the major US brewers >use rice in addition to barley in making their best-selling beers? If so, >in ballpark terms, what proportions are we talking about?
If by "major US brewers" you mean brewers of light lagers such as Anheuser-Busch, Miller, and Coors, then yes, their mainstream products use adjunct grains (corn or rice) to the tune of 25-40% of the grist (I think by weight, but it may be by % of fermentables; either way it's roughly the same). (Anheuser-Busch tends to use rice; I think the rest use corn.) --
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Reply to
Joel
> Beer experts... Generally speaking, is it true that the major US brewers > use rice in addition to barley in making their best-selling beers? If so, > in ballpark terms, what proportions are we talking about?
The History Channel has a Modern Marvels program about brewing that was just on again the other day. In it, they feature Anheuser Busch in St. Louis and show the brewmasters tasting various infusions made from their ingredients and one of them is the brewer's rice. The program didn't go into it, but they must have one hell of a rice cooker!
Miller used to use corn, but from what I have heard (may not be true) they have switched to corn syrup.
Michelob is all-malt again and I think Coors Original is too.
Reply to
Randal
Thanks for the replies. I saw part of the History Channel show, which prompted my original question. While not a beer connoisseur by any means, I have tended away from the offerings of the large domestic producers just because I like a more flavorful brew. As evidence of my unsophisticated beer palate, my favorite is bottled, ice-cold Guiness. Please tell me that Guiness is not adulterating their product with filler! I might have to get all beer-snobby and switch! >> Beer experts... Generally speaking, is it true that the major US brewers >> use rice in addition to barley in making their best-selling beers? If >> so, >> in ballpark terms, what proportions are we talking about? > > The History Channel has a Modern Marvels program about brewing that > was just on again the other day. In it, they feature Anheuser Busch in > St. Louis and show the brewmasters tasting various infusions made from > their ingredients and one of them is the brewer's rice. The program > didn't go into it, but they must have one hell of a rice cooker! > > Miller used to use corn, but from what I have heard (may not be true) > they have switched to corn syrup. > > Michelob is all-malt again and I think Coors Original is too.
Reply to
Webster
>> Beer experts... Generally speaking, is it true that the major US brewers >> use rice in addition to barley in making their best-selling beers? > > Miller used to use corn, but from what I have heard (may not be true) > they have switched to corn syrup.
Well, SOMEBODY'S using a lot of syrup, that's for sure- and considering that A-B, Miller (plus Miller-brewed Pabst brands) and Coors account for around 90% of US beer production totals, they'd be the only ones to have a dramatic effect on raw material usage, as noted in a great statistical pdf Excel file downloadable here-
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According to Page 8, "Materials Used" in the past dozen or so years (a period which included the demise of two major brewing companies, Heileman and Stroh), while malt, hops and rice usage have stayed relatively static, "Corn and Corn Products" usage has been cut nearly in half (from 1 billion lbs in '95 to about 1/2 billion in 2006) and at the same time "Syrups and Sugar" have gone in the exact opposite direction- 500 million lbs to a billion pounds. Also interesting is the rise in the use of other grains, like the tripling of wheat, "Barley and barley products" usage increasing more than 10 fold from '93 to '06 and even a tiny, brief flitation with sorghum. Now, some of that recent "other grain" usage might be attributed to the whole corn-ethanol deal, but seems to me to be a definite trend by at least one of the megabrewers. > Michelob is all-malt again Not that one can notice any difference, taste-wise . It's as if they deleted the 20% of so of the grain bill that was rice, but didn't replace it with anything! I made the mistake of buying it last winter when it came out -tho', it was only the second A-B purchase I've made in decades. I also fell for the confused A-B marketing copy that *implied* the initial version of that Budweiser Brewmasters Reserve was the (in)famous undiluted "high gravity" Budweiser. (This years version is a new recipe, reportedly a pretty good Dopplebock- I think I'll pass until I'm offered a free sample or find it at a party or something this time.) > I think Coors Original is too.
That seems really unlikely but stranger things have happened, I suppose- it's a pretty neglected brand of Coors anymore and one would think they'd do a big campaign if they'd switched back to an all-malt version..
Getting back to the OP question, US breweries have always been pretty open about their use of corn and rice as adjuncts (A-B's been literately bragging about their use of rice in Budweiser for more than a century) and it's usually noted on the label, even when the vague "choice grains" is used. Sometimes "grains" is used since the recipes would vary with the rise and fall of the agricultural prices of the rice and/or corn and, as noted, above other grains.
Rolling Rock was one of the few beers that once clearly stated they used both (maybe Special Export in the Heileman days also did?).
Reply to
jesskidden
> Please tell me that Guiness is not adulterating their product with > filler! I might have to get all beer-snobby and switch!
That would be silly. If you like Guinness, drink Guinness. If you don't like it, it doesn't matter whether they're using adjuncts or not.
Drinks have been brewed using rice and maize for centuries. Both are capable of making excellent beverages, and it would be the height of foolishness to dismiss them out of some misplaced notion that doing so somehow elevates you above your less discriminating fellow drinkers.
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Reply to
Paul Arthur
> As evidence of my unsophisticated beer palate, my favorite > is bottled, ice-cold Guiness. Please tell me that Guiness is not > adulterating their product with filler! I might have to get all beer-snobby > and switch!
Well, there's no one "Guinness"- they make a number of different stouts, sold in different markets around the world (17-19 by last count, IIRC). If you're in the US, you could be talking about the "Guinness Draught" that's sold in the bottles with the nitro "widget" or you may be talking about Guinness Extra Stout, which is not an Irish product from the Guinness brewery, but is brewed in Canada (and clearly noted on the label). Depending on the market, brewed by either Labatt or Moosehead, GES is "reportedly" just the local ale with Guinness extract added. Neither product is very well-respected by Guinness purists, and most of the various Guinness stouts being sold today (with a couple of hard-to-get exceptions) aren't very well thought of by many of the "beer snobs" (to use your phrase). I personally don't mind an ocassional (and redundant sounding) draught "Guinness Draught" but there are a lot of greater stouts on the shelves today.
I'm in the minority of "beer geekdom" tho', and don't necessarily reject corn and rice as adjuncts (or consider them "adulterations"). I'm of the small (but growing) segment that doesn't understand the acceptance of wheat, various sugars, spices and fruits in their beer but reject corn and rice simply because of the brewers who most use it and the beers they brew.
Reply to
jesskidden
Previously on alt.beer, jesskidden@LYC0S.C0M said: > I'm in the minority of "beer geekdom" tho', and don't necessarily reject > corn and rice as adjuncts (or consider them "adulterations"). I'm of > the small (but growing) segment that doesn't understand the acceptance > of wheat, various sugars, spices and fruits in their beer but reject > corn and rice simply because of the brewers who most use it and the > beers they brew.
Wheat beers have a specific style to them. Spices, fruits, etc, give other flavors.
Rice and corn, otoh, don't.
To the best of my knowledge, and some of this came from a Budweiser brewery tour, where rice and corn are used in beer, it's done for the specific purpose of a "filler". IOW, by substituting a portion of barley malt with rice, you reduce the cost of the product (and flavor, btw), without reducing the end result alcohol content.
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Reply to
Jeffrey Kaplan
>I'm in the minority of "beer geekdom" tho', and don't necessarily reject >corn and rice as adjuncts (or consider them "adulterations"). I'm of >the small (but growing) segment that doesn't understand the acceptance >of wheat, various sugars, spices and fruits in their beer but reject >corn and rice simply because of the brewers who most use it and the >beers they brew.
I've found that homebrewers tend to be a little more accepting of various adjuncts than random beer geeks. But maybe only a little. --
Joel Plutchak "They're not people, they're HIPPIES!" $LASTNAME at VERYWARMmail.com - Eric Cartman
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Reply to
Joel
>Previously on alt.beer, jesskidden@LYC0S.C0M said: > >> I'm in the minority of "beer geekdom" tho', and don't necessarily reject >> corn and rice as adjuncts (or consider them "adulterations"). I'm of >> the small (but growing) segment that doesn't understand the acceptance >> of wheat, various sugars, spices and fruits in their beer but reject >> corn and rice simply because of the brewers who most use it and the >> beers they brew. > >Wheat beers have a specific style to them. Spices, fruits, etc, give >other flavors. > >Rice and corn, otoh, don't. Rice, maybe. Corn definitely adds a particular flavor. I can taste it in Rolling Rock and Shiner lager (and Bock), to name a couple well-known examples. >To the best of my knowledge, and some of this came from a Budweiser >brewery tour, where rice and corn are used in beer, it's done for the >specific purpose of a "filler". IOW, by substituting a portion of >barley malt with rice, you reduce the cost of the product (and flavor, >btw), without reducing the end result alcohol content.
Look into the history of brewing in America, and you'll find it's not quite as cut and dried as all that. --
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Reply to
Joel
>> Michelob is all-malt again > >Not that one can notice any difference, taste-wise . It's as if they >deleted the 20% of so of the grain bill that was rice, but didn't >replace it with anything!
Actually, doing a tasting at a Bud plant can be very informative. When you taste their products side by side, in as fresh a condition as it can get short of sipping directly from the lagering tanks, I think it's easy for anyone with anything approaching a discerning palate can taste a difference. --
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Reply to
Joel
>>> Michelob is all-malt again >> Not that one can notice any difference, taste-wise . It's as if they >> deleted the 20% of so of the grain bill that was rice, but didn't >> replace it with anything! > > Actually, doing a tasting at a Bud plant can be very > informative. When you taste their products side by side, > in as fresh a condition as it can get short of sipping > directly from the lagering tanks, I think it's easy for > anyone with anything approaching a discerning palate can > taste a difference.
Yeah, I was being a wise-ass, of course - tho' I found the new all-malt bottled Michelob pretty underwhelming compared to the pilnsers and light lagers coming out of some craft breweries. Agree that fresh, draught Michelob at the brewery is pretty amazing- I had it once back in the 80's in Columbus and, after that, whenever I came across a Michelob was always a disappointed. I had hoped the new version would be closer to that sample I had years ago.
Reply to
jesskidden
> Previously on alt.beer, jesskidden@LYC0S.C0M said: > >> I'm in the minority of "beer geekdom" tho', and don't necessarily reject >> corn and rice as adjuncts (or consider them "adulterations"). I'm of >> the small (but growing) segment that doesn't understand the acceptance >> of wheat, various sugars, spices and fruits in their beer but reject >> corn and rice simply because of the brewers who most use it and the >> beers they brew. > > Wheat beers have a specific style to them. Spices, fruits, etc, give > other flavors. > > Rice and corn, otoh, don't. And (tho' you and I might not care for the result) that "lack" of flavor (which the brewery probably calls"lightness" or "clean tasting") is something that brewer *wants* in his beer. The use of wheat can result in a pretty "bland" beer, as well- much of the unique flavors of German & Belgian wheat beers are due to brewing styles and the yeasts. There are a number of pretty bland US-style "wheat beers" which, without the additional spicing or addition of lemon and poured into opaque glassware (hidding the cloudiness), would be just as "tasteless" as typical "Industrial Light Lager". > To the best of my knowledge, and some of this came from a Budweiser > brewery tour, where rice and corn are used in beer, it's done for the > specific purpose of a "filler". As Joel notes elsewhere, those "fillers" were necessary in 19th century US brewing (due to differing US barley) and the resulting "light" taste (which started out trying to mimic European pilsners) became one that the vast majority of US beer drinkers came to favor. And the sugar used by some UK and Belgian breweries is just as much an empty "filler" adjunct as corn or rice. > IOW, by substituting a portion of > barley malt with rice, you reduce the cost of the product
This is not as clearcut as the "beer geek common wisdom" suggests- rice, at times, can rival the cost of malted barley and preparing the adjuncts in separate "cereal cooker" vessels requires addition equipment and steps (granted, some of those costs are one time fixed ones).
Reply to
jesskidden
> Wheat beers have a specific style to them. Spices, fruits, etc, give > other flavors. There are all sorts of wheat beers brewed. Some have diverse flavors; some are quite bland. I wouldn't say wheat's got any special place in brewing, other than being used moderately frequently in a couple prominent beer regions. > Rice and corn, otoh, don't. Corn is frequently used in English bitters. > To the best of my knowledge, and some of this came from a Budweiser > brewery tour, where rice and corn are used in beer, it's done for the > specific purpose of a "filler". IOW, by substituting a portion of > barley malt with rice, you reduce the cost of the product (and flavor, > btw), without reducing the end result alcohol content.
If you search back in the archives, I think you'll find some information from Lew Bryson about the rice and the fact it's not a cost-saver. It is a way to create a lighter beer, both in body and flavor, while preserving alcohol content. Which is the primary motivator behind the heavy use of adjuncts in light fizzy yellow lagers.
-Steve
Reply to
Steve Jackson
>>>> Michelob is all-malt again >>> Not that one can notice any difference, taste-wise . It's as if they >>> deleted the 20% of so of the grain bill that was rice, but didn't >>> replace it with anything! >> >> Actually, doing a tasting at a Bud plant can be very >> informative. When you taste their products side by side, >> in as fresh a condition as it can get short of sipping >> directly from the lagering tanks, I think it's easy for >> anyone with anything approaching a discerning palate can >> taste a difference. > >Yeah, I was being a wise-ass, of course - tho' I found the new all-malt >bottled Michelob pretty underwhelming compared to the pilnsers and light >lagers coming out of some craft breweries. Agree that fresh, draught >Michelob at the brewery is pretty amazing...
Well, I didn't say it was *amazing*, just that one could tell a difference between it and the cereal adjunct brews. ;-) --
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Reply to
Joel
>> Yeah, I was being a wise-ass, of course - tho' I found the new all-malt >> bottled Michelob pretty underwhelming compared to the pilnsers and light >> lagers coming out of some craft breweries. Agree that fresh, draught >> Michelob at the brewery is pretty amazing... > > Well, I didn't say it was *amazing*, just that one could tell > a difference between it and the cereal adjunct brews. ;-) OK, you got me there. Re-reading that, I think I should have further explained my "amazement" (at tasting and smelling hops in a macrobrew) by saying "...amazing (compared to the relatively bland bottled and draught versions I'd had previously)" thus using this definition: > amazeĀ· (? ma-z?) > transitive verb > 1. to fill with great surprise
Reply to
jesskidden
> > While not a beer connoisseur by any means, I have tended away from the > offerings of the large domestic producers just because I like a more > flavorful brew. As evidence of my unsophisticated beer palate, my favorite > is bottled, ice-cold Guiness. Please tell me that Guiness is not > adulterating their product with filler! I might have to get all beer-snobby > and switch! >
One of the things I love about the tremendous variety of beers available to me here in the United States is that I cannot say what my favorite beer is. I may have a favorite-ish for the season (right now I find myself drinking Sierra Nevada Celebration quite a bit). On that note, you should try some of the many stout offerings from US craft brewers. Availability will be dictated by your location but here are some of my favorites (some of these are Imperial Stouts and may be a shock if you are used to the comparatively tame Guinness draught):
Rogue Shakespeare Stout Bell's Expedition Stout Anderson Valley Oatmeal Stout Sierra Nevada Stout Great Divide Yeti Victory Storm King
_Randal
Reply to
Randal
> Previously on alt.beer, jesskid...@LYC0S.C0M said: > > > I'm in the minority of "beer geekdom" tho', and don't necessarily reject > > corn and rice as adjuncts (or consider them "adulterations"). I'm of > > the small (but growing) segment that doesn't understand the acceptance > > of wheat, various sugars, spices and fruits in their beer but reject > > corn and rice simply because of the brewers who most use it and the > > beers they brew. > > Wheat beers have a specific style to them. Spices, fruits, etc, give > other flavors. > > Rice and corn, otoh, don't. > > To the best of my knowledge, and some of this came from a Budweiser > brewery tour, where rice and corn are used in beer, it's done for > the > specific purpose of a "filler". Didd Budweiser really say they were introducing products into their beers simply as filler, or to take up space? Personally, I doubt it. While i'm not a big fan of beers from Budweiser, Michelob, etc., I think it is safe to say that those brewers are very successful at at what they do. The decision to include corn, rice or wheat is based on how the end product is suppposed to taste. Rice is not free or cheap especially in the quantities Budweiser consumes it. > IOW, by substituting a portion of > barley malt with rice, you reduce the cost of the product (and flavor, > btw), without reducing the end result alcohol content. > > -- > Jeffrey Kaplan www.gordol.org > The from userid is killfiled Send personal mail to gordol > > Peter's Top 100 Things I'd Do If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord, #220. > Whatever my one vulnerability is, I will fake a different one. For > example, ordering all mirrors removed from the palace, screaming and > flinching whenever someone accidentally holds up a mirror, etc. In the > climax when the hero whips out a mirror and thrusts it at my face, my > reaction will be "Hmm...I think I need a shave."
Reply to
John S.
>In article > > Rice is not free or cheap >> especially in the quantities Budweiser consumes it. > >Compared to hops?
Especially compared to hops, given the relative amount of each that A-B uses. --
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Reply to
Joel

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