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"A Craft Chemist Making Over Big Beer"

Discussion in 'Beer News' started by TheBeerAlmanac, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Member

    Location:
    Michigan
    Yes, that is true. But it is all realtive. Russian River has more than half of the revenue from the Brewpub.

    You do know that the goldminers didn't make the big money in the gold rushes. It was the guys selling the shovels and supplies - Leland Stanford, and the clothes Levi Straus. The saloon owners and the prostitutes did OK.

    I have thought that the supply chain and other parts of the craft beer business must be doing well also.
  2. jtmartino

    jtmartino Member

    Location:
    California

    Ever tried beer from AC Golden? Try it, and you won't be implying that the big boys can't make great beer.
  3. kexp

    kexp Member

    Location:
    North Carolina
    Shareholders are not interested in this thought pattern.
    Beerandraiderfan likes this.
  4. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Member

    Location:
    New Jersey
    You can be sure the big wigs at AB see the wisdom of a program that makes 4 pack that retail for over $20.00.
  5. jfarrlley

    jfarrlley Member

    Location:
    Connecticut
    Love how everyone can pile on the macro's without a shred of evidence to back anything up and everyone happily accepts those claims...The minute you make even the slightest claim in favor of a macro...you need to back that claim up like you're publishing to a distinguished journal...
  6. salzar

    salzar Member

    Location:
    California
  7. 77black_ships

    77black_ships Member

    Location:
    Belgium

    Maybe no Craft breweries entered any beers that would qualify for the American lager category?

    A bit like 3F or Cantillon not winning any medals for Belgian-Style category has more to do with them not participating rather than Boon, Oud Beersel & Squatters Pub being better?
    Beerandraiderfan likes this.
  8. Peter_Wolfe

    Peter_Wolfe Member

    Location:
    Missouri
    Hey all,

    I am a brewing scientist with Anheuser-Busch and I thought I'd chime in here. I work with Rebecca (from the article) on a regular basis when designing brewing trials. She is very knowledgeable about beer and brewing processes; having a degree in chemical engineering certainly doesn't preclude a love for brewing! That article oversimplified things a little with respect to the development of Bud Light Platinum - there was a little more to it that, but it is the nature of a newspaper to make information accessible to a broad audience. The readers at beer advocate are a little more advanced, so if you have any specific questions I'd be happy to try and answer them. And speaking of beer advocate readers, I imagine that ya'll are probably not the target market for a light beer - they're still interesting from a brewing process perspective though (they're more difficult to make than you might think!).

    Also, you might be interested to hear that while the article discusses Bud Light Platinum specifically, the pilot brewery makes a huge variety of beers, constantly. It's used both for recipe development and for process development. We also use it to make a lot of single hop beers to evaluate the aroma of all of the different hop varieties currently in development (breeding programs) in the Pacific Northwest.
  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Peter, thank you for taking the time to post on BA!

    You stated: “Also, you might be interested to hear that while the article discusses Bud Light Platinum specifically, the pilot brewery makes a huge variety of beers, constantly. It's used both for recipe development and for process development.”

    I fully recognize that the pilot brewery is used to make a variety of beers and alcoholic beverages. The ‘new’ beers and alcoholic beverages that I am cognizant from AB are:

    · Bud Light Platinum

    · Bud Light Lime-a-Rita

    · Bud Light Starw-ber-Rita

    · Wild Blue Blueberry Lager

    · Budweiser Black Crown

    It appears that you joined BA yesterday but I am assuming that you are aware that what is of most interest to Beer Advocates is drinking beer that they think is ‘good’. I fully recognize that the word ‘good’ is subjective but I think you can understand that the majority of BAs do not ‘resonate’ with beverages (I personally refuse to call them beer) like Lime-a Rita and Straw-ber-Rita.

    So, while it is a noble thing that the AB pilot brewery is making various beers it is a bit disheartening to me (and I presume others) that what we see coming out of AB (what is sold at beer stores) are things like Lime-a-Rita, Straw-ber-Rita, Wild Blue, etc.

    I sincerely hope that AB makes a business decision to produce ‘good’ beers vs. what they have been introducing lately.

    Cheers!

    Jack

    P.S. About a month ago I was at my local beer store and they had free samples of Lime-a Rita and Straw-ber-Rita. I will admit that I was reticent at trying them. The beer store owner (who knows that I am a craft beer drinker) goaded me into trying them. I tried both alcoholic beverages and I disliked them both; in particular the Lime-a-Rita had a strong chemical taste. I will take your word for it that Rebecca is capable of brewing ‘good’ beer but the Lime-a-Rita tastes like something a Chemical Engineer would concoct.

    P.S.S. I hope that you will become an active participant on BA. It is always helpful to have input from those in the beer industry.
    THANAT0PSIS and kemoarps like this.
  10. RBassSFHOPit2ME

    RBassSFHOPit2ME Member

    Location:
    California
    He did state that we as BAs are not his target demographic...
    Cvescalante likes this.
  11. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    This is what Peter posted: “And speaking of beer advocate readers, I imagine that ya'll are probably not the target market for a light beer - they're still interesting from a brewing process perspective though (they're more difficult to make than you might think!).”

    I posted as a reply to his post that I personally am of the opinion that AB seems to be somewhat focused (from a production perspective) in making alcoholic beverages vs. beer. I personally would think it would be ‘better’ if AB made beer (even beer that is lighter in taste) vs. the –rita stuff they are making now.

    Cheers!
  12. PJHealy

    PJHealy Member

    Location:
    Ohio
    AB-InBev should be making whatever maximizes value for their shareholders. That might well be the -rita stuff.
    SupremePie, Alexmc2, dar482 and 2 others like this.
  13. jesskidden

    jesskidden Member

    Location:
    New Jersey
    It sounds as if Peter Wolfe agrees. That is, if he is the same AB employee by that name quoted here, in an article about college-level fermentation science majors:
    ...but perhaps there's a level of management between him and Carlos Brito which doesn't agree. That's how giant corporations work. :D

    Still, pre-Prohibition style American lager. Wouldn't that be Classic, an American Pilsener? ;)
    palmdalethriller likes this.
  14. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I really like the Peter Wolfe that was quoted in that article!

    Below is something I posted in the thread entitled: Pretend you are a BMC executive....

    “A flavorful beer that the BMC breweries could easily make is a Classic American Pilsner. Why not brew this beer for both craft beer drinkers and the mainstream drinkers who are adventurous enough to try a beer that their grandfathers and great-grandfathers drank before prohibition?

    Below is something I posted previously:

    So, believe it or not, before prohibition American breweries made tasty lagers. At that time they did not call them Classic American Pilsners. They were just American lagers.

    A Classic American Pilsner is an easy beer to make: I homebrew them a lot. The BJCP style guidelines provide all the information you need.

    In a nutshell:

    · Grain: 80% 6 row malts, 20% corn

    · Hops:

    - For Bittering: Cluster hops 25-40 IBUs (I prefer 40 IBUs)

    - For Flavor: Medium to high hop flavor from noble hops

    - For Aroma: Medium to high hop aroma from noble hops

    · Lager yeast

    A well-made genuine CAP beer is a very enjoyable beer to drink. Any of the BMC breweries or Regional Breweries (e.g., Genesee, etc.) could very easily make CAP beers. All they need to do is back off the amount of adjunct (corn) they use in their regular AAL beers and up their hopping rates (bittering, flavor and aroma hop additions).”

    Would it be appropriate to state great minds think alike!?!

    Cheers to Peter Wolfe!

    I sure hope that he has the ability to influence things at AB so that they make flavorful beers vs. malt alterative beverages.
    Peter_Wolfe likes this.
  15. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Member

    Location:
    New Jersey
    You are 100% right. AB is making alcoholic beverages for drinkers who don't like beer. All the BMC drinkers I know and drink with would no more drink the- rita stuff than I would
  16. Peter_Wolfe

    Peter_Wolfe Member

    Location:
    Missouri

    The truth is that AB has multiple focuses. Lime-a-rita and the like were not developed to compete with beer; they were developed solely to compete with distilled alcohols and cocktails. They're not beer, and no one at AB is calling them beer. Lots of people like to drink them, though. Likewise, Bud Light Platinum is not targeted at craft beer drinkers who are trying to lose weight, it is targeted at younger folks going out dancing (or something similar) who like beer but in that context don't want something heavy. Some of us (myself included) find that concept somewhat strange - when I go out to the club I still want an IPA. That being said, craft beer drinkers are still the minority of the market and millions of people prefer and ask for light beers.

    Now, with respect to AB making beer, that is and always will be the main focus. AB made something on the order of 100 million barrels of beer and beverages last year (if I recall correctly), and 1 million barrels of that was the Lime-a-rita family. It's actually a little under 1% of our production. As an aside, which some of you may find interesting, to be a successful brand that stays around, a new AB product needs to sell at least a million barrels. This is why Budweiser American Ale (which many craft beer drinkers actually quite liked) didn't stick around. It struggled to consistently hit that mark.

    So, brass tacks: here's what you really want to know, I think. Will AB ever make a hoppier beer that can stand on it's own against a craft ale? I'm assuming we're going to leave Goose Island out of the discussion; even though they're doing quite well at competitions and such people don't consider them to truly be AB beers (which I suppose is fair - even though they are wholly AB owned now most of the recipes were developed before they merged with Anheuser-Busch). The answer to that question was hinted at above - if it sells. Can AB make such a beer? Certainly. Easily. Despite what you may think, we have some of the best technical brewers and equipment on the planet. But will a hoppy beer sell millions of barrels, especially when the target market for it is so vehemently anti-AB? I don't know. We could come out with the best IPA in the world tomorrow and they people who really enjoy such a beer might say, "Meh, it's Anheuser-Busch, I'm not going to touch it".

    So let me ask you this; would you try it if we did? Would you give it a fair shake? I have a personal stake in this; I'm pushing hard for beers with more hop flavor and hop aroma - I get 2 cases of free beer a month and I want hoppier beer ;)
  17. Peter_Wolfe

    Peter_Wolfe Member

    Location:
    Missouri



    That is indeed me! I should point out though that in that article I was talking about American Lagers in general, not AB specifically. There is a trend (which you could track solely looking at IBUs) that began in the 1950s and continued until the late 90's where less and less hops were used in American Lagers. German Lagers did not follow the same trend. Bear in mind; this wasn't some business decision on the part of corporate guys - this was the result of consumer surveys and focus groups. People preferred less hoppy beers, apparently. I think people's palates are now shifting back in the other direction, and I'd like to go back to where we were in the early 1900s in terms of hop flavor in lagers.
    THANAT0PSIS likes this.
  18. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Peter, thanks again for your participation! As I stated previously, it is useful to have participation from beer industry folks on BA.

    Some comments to what you posted:

    “The truth is that AB has multiple focuses. Lime-a-rita and the like were not developed to compete with beer; they were developed solely to compete with distilled alcohols and cocktails. They're not beer, and no one at AB is calling them beer.” While it may be true that nobody at AB is explicitly called the –rita beverages as being “beer” they are indeed marketing them under the banner of Bud Light; the lime-a-rita beer is labeled: Bud Light Lime-a-Rita. The last time I checked, Bud Light is indeed a “beer”.

    You stated: “As an aside, which some of you may find interesting, to be a successful brand that stays around, a new AB product needs to sell at least a million barrels.” Can you please provide to me the volume (how many barrels a year) that AB produces of Ziegenbock beer? Do they truly make over 1 million barrels per year of that beer? Ziegenbock is an example to me of a beer (Amber Lager) that AB makes which is somewhat distinctive from there ‘regular’ beers of Budweiser, Bud Light, Busch, etc. It is amber in color and has a little bit of caramel flavor. It is not a ‘run of the mill’ AAL.

    You discussed AB making a hoppier beer like an IPA. I am not a beer industry person and I am definitely not a beer marketer. I would opine that AB going into the IPA market is not a good idea:

    · The IPA style is very, very much associated with the craft beer industry

    · If AB were to make IPAs to compete with breweries like Stone, Russian River, Firestone Walker, Sierra Nevada, etc. would likely not be viewed favorably with the craft beer drinkers.

    On a related matter, I would be willing to bet that the IPA that Mitch Steele made at the AB brewery in New Hampshire in the 90’s was a very tasty beer.

    If making an IPA is not a good fit for AB, what other hoppier beer could they make that may not be construed as an ‘assault’ on the craft brewing industry? How about a CAP? A CAP is a hoppy lager and this beer has zero association with the craft brewing sector. AB could market this beer as: Your Great Grandfathers beer of choice (or something like that).

    Permit me to answer your questions but within the context of AB making a CAP:

    · “So let me ask you this; would you try it if we did?” Absolutely!

    · “Would you give it a fair shake?” Most definitely!

    Cheers!
  19. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    You state: “There is a trend (which you could track solely looking at IBUs) that began in the 1950s and continued until the late 90's where less and less hops were used in American Lagers.” The trend of using less and less hops started much earlier than the 1950s (unfortunately). There unfortunately has been a consistent trend of American beers getting lighter (lighter in hops, lighter in flavor, etc.) since the end of Prohibition. Below are some values of hops/barrel on ten year marks (via Brewers Almanac):

    · 1935: 0.70 lbs./barrel

    · 1945: 0.43 lbs./barrel

    · 1955: 0.38 lbs./barrel

    · 1965: 0.29 lbs./barrel

    · 1975: 0.21 lbs./barrel

    · 1985: 0.21 lbs./barrel

    · 1994: 0.21 lbs./barrel

    “I think people's palates are now shifting back in the other direction, and I'd like to go back to where we were in the early 1900s in terms of hop flavor in lagers.” I agree wholeheartedly with this statement! Why doesn’t AB make a circa 1900 American Lager (what we call a Classic American Pilsner now)?

    Cheers!
    Crusader likes this.
  20. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Member

    Location:
    Michigan
  21. Peter_Wolfe

    Peter_Wolfe Member

    Location:
    Missouri

    Do you happen to have a link?
  22. phooky

    phooky Member

    Location:
    New York

    Good beer is good beer- If you could make a delicious IPA that was as affordable and accessible as Bud Light, I would DEFINITELY purchase many many quantities of it.

    I've actually had this same question before, as to why ABI isn't making a decent beer to compete with the huge craft boom:
    http://beeradvocate.com/community/threads/why-doesnt-big-beer-get-it.81967/
  23. williamjbauer

    williamjbauer Member

    Location:
    West Virginia
    This is a great discussion! Loving your input Peter
    Beerandraiderfan likes this.
  24. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Member

    Location:
    Michigan
    OCB is the Oxford Companion to Beer, so no link.

    If you speak German you can do a search for "Hopfen und Malz verloren" and watch the video from a German TV station that documents the dumbing down of German Beer. They just got stated later on the downward trend compared to the US.

    Michael Jackson had Jever at 44 IBU in the 90s. This has it at 35, scroll down to the table.

    http://hobbybrauer.de/modules.php?name=eBoard&file=viewthread&tid=5361#pid
  25. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    One of the interesting parts of the Conrad Seidl write-up on German Pilsner in OCB:

    “In 1973 the average German Pilsner would have had a bitterness of 34 IBUs, with extreme samples going as high as 50 IBUs and the low end having only 16 IBUs. There was little change until 1985, but by 1995 the average bitterness was down to 30, and another decade it was 27. Statistics from 2008 indicate an average bitterness of 26.5 IBUs….”

    “In the style guidelines for the prestigious World Beer Cup competition, German Pilsner is still defined as having 30-40 IBUs, but the German brewers themselves have allowed the snappy hop character of pilsner to erode.”

    Cheers!

    P.S. Do you know how much Ziegenbock is produced annually?
  26. Peter_Wolfe

    Peter_Wolfe Member

    Location:
    Missouri

    Thanks for the info! There is a conflating issue here though. Both the process of pelletizing whole hops and the development of higher alpha varieties of hops meant that less mass could be used for equal bitterness. The movement towards higher alpha varieties actually began much earlier than a lot of people are aware - Wye College in the UK began breeding experiments in the early 1900's to increase the quantity of what they then called "soft resins" (which includes the alpha acids). Some of the hops used in Budweiser, for instance, were part of a breeding program from the 1970's which resulted in hops with 5.5% alpha acids, compared to the historical European levels of 2-3% alpha acids. The modern high alpha varieties, which I'm sure you're all aware of, can reach upwards of 12-18% alpha acids (I recall seeing a new variety last year with 21%). With all of that in mind, I think looking directly at IBU measurements is a more accurate way of tracking bitterness levels throughout the decades.

    Regarding your other comment, "Why doesn’t AB make a circa 1900 American Lager (what we call a Classic American Pilsner now)?" - I think it should be noted that the actual Budweiser recipe hasn't really changed much since 1876 (it wasn't particularly bitter then either). It wasn't the same as a lot of the American lagers, since it used rice instead of corn as an adjunct. The classic American Pilsner and the American Cream Ale styles, both iconic pre-prohibition, specifically use corn. Budweiser was always different since it had no corn then or now. There's probably room for for a classic American lager alongside it. It's interesting to me though, that you say if AB made an IPA it could be construed as a direct assault on craft brewers. I'm not sure I would agree - I think anyone can make any kind of beer they please, and people should drink whatever they enjoy. That being said, I think it will be baby steps for AB making hoppier beers - nothing is going to come out at 60 IBUs tomorrow, but we are moving in the direction of more hop flavor (and more malt flavor, for that matter).

    Cheers!
    FatBoyGotSwagger likes this.
  27. jesskidden

    jesskidden Member

    Location:
    New Jersey
    Google Books "Preview" of the OCB contains quite a bit of the book (tho' searching can be kinda squirrely), including these pages (click on "pg. 140") on German pils IBU's.
  28. BurgeoningBrewhead

    BurgeoningBrewhead Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    They'll never be able to create real craft beer because they don't want to. They just want to trick uneducated BMC drinkers into thinking that their pseudo-craft brands (Blue Moon/Shock Top/Batch 19/etc.) are fancier than regular macro swill. They know that actual craft drinkers would never drink any of their stuff, not just on principle but also because 99% of the time it's terrible. So all they'll ever accomplish with these "craft" efforts is making the same people who already drink their stuff think they're drinking craft beer.
  29. BurgeoningBrewhead

    BurgeoningBrewhead Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Also, I've had even pseudo-BMC craft efforts like Dundee (Genesee) and they've been mediocre at best, and are usually a complete mess. The big companies will just never spend the time and effort it takes to make good beer; they're too worried about their profits to shell out for quality ingredients; their craft efforts are a joke. Most BMC drinkers don't even know what a hop is, and they think ale and lager are synonyms for beer. That should tell you something.
  30. darienm

    darienm Member

    Location:
    Illinois
    Loving this thread and the well-worded and in-depth responses herein. I hope it breaks records for longest running thread on BA and that other beer industry folks come over and share their insights as well.
    Peter_Wolfe and alucard6679 like this.
  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    It is my understanding that the dominant hop used by American breweries (especially American Lager breweries) during the timeframe of 1935 – 1960s was Cluster hops. In fact, Cluster hops were exported heavily to the UK during the late 1800s – early 1900s (and beyond?) since they could not produce enough hops in the UK for their domestic hop production. The UK breweries would utilize the American (predominantly Cluster) hops for bittering their ales/stouts/porters and use the UK hops for flavor/aroma additions. I don’t have a specific figure for Cluster hops of the past but the present day Cluster hops typically have Alpha Acids of around 7% (my last batch was 6.8%). Even if you presumed that they were 25% less in the past (which I do not necessarily subscribe to), Cluster hops would have been over 5% AA.

    I recognize that AB used imported hops (e.g., Saaz) hops to make Budweiser but those hops would be reserved for flavor/aroma additions. Below is from a paper from 1936 (Journal of the Institute of Brewing)

    “Hops are usually added in the copper in three portions: two-fifths when the wort has shown a good first break; then forty minutes later when the wort shows a good second break, another two-fifths; the wort is then boiled twenty minutes, at the end of which time the last one-fifth of the very choicest quality hops is added, and the contents of the copper run into the hop back.”

    The “choicest hops” were the imported (European) hops.

    While there may have been higher alpha acid hops available in the UK, they would likely have predominantly been used for the brewing of domestic beers. As I indicated earlier, the British were (are) unable to produce all of the hops needed for their brewing industry and overall they were an importer of hops vs. an exporter.

    You stated: “I think it should be noted that the actual Budweiser recipe hasn't really changed much since 1876 (it wasn't particularly bitter then either).” Is there any way of knowing the amount of IBUs in an 1876 Budweiser? It is my understanding that the definition of IBU was not formalized until 1968; presently defined by the ASBC (American Society of Brewing Chemists) standard Beer-23.

    You also stated: “I think looking directly at IBU measurements is a more accurate way of tracking bitterness levels throughout the decades.” What you state there on the surface does sound ‘better’. Having said that, permit me to ask two questions:

    · Given that the IBU (a standard method of measurement) was not agreed upon until 1968, how do you quantify the beers prior to that date?

    · Wouldn’t the bitterness of beer vary from brand to brand? Do you happen to know how many IBUs a Schlitz, Miller High Life, Budweiser, Schaeffer, Piels, etc. beer would have (I suppose the earliest this would be known is 1968?)?

    Cheers!
  32. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Member

    Location:
    Kentucky
    Probably not.

    I used to drink a lot more Goose Island before the buyout, even during the partial ownership via CBA days. I will generally grab a Sofie or Matilda at a beer fest, but that is about it.

    I do Linux consulting work, I sometimes use a windows box at a client's office, but I dont have one at home. YMMV.
    nickfl likes this.
  33. Peter_Wolfe

    Peter_Wolfe Member

    Location:
    Missouri

    I think we could make an educated guess based on the hop bill (if we had access to it) that would come pretty close, but you're right, we couldn't really chart IBUs prior to 1968. I think we can rationally assume they somewhat correlate to the change in dosage you list above, but the decline wouldn't be quite as steep due to use of pellets, etc. And of course, all of it is brand specific. Not every brand changed bitterness levels at the same rate.

    From what I understand (and seeing as how you sound well educated on the subject, please correct me if I'm wrong), the first measurement of "soft resins" was undertaken in 1888. After that, when the bittering power was semi-quantified, brewers slowly (over several decades) started buying hops based on the soft resin content rather than the absolute poundage. Some of the early crosses were made from wild hops found in southern Canada and the Pacific Northwest crossed with East Kent Golding and Bramling. Ironically, the British brewers didn't care for the extra fruity aroma that the American varieties imbued, and they tried to breed it out. Increasing the soft resin content, and alpha acids by proxy, was the primary goal of those breeding programs. As to what brewers were using which hops in the 1930s, I actually don't know much about it. You've inspired me to do some reading, though!

    Before the more recent breeding programs (e.g. before late 1970s), AB was using mostly Saaz and Hallertau hops (Saaz was considered the "premium" hop). After the breeding programs, they added Willamette. I have no idea what the IBUs were in 1876, but I assume they would have been slightly higher since filtration was less advanced; the IBU measurement does capture polyphenol content to some extent and you can increase IBU levels (without increasing overall perceived bitterness much) simply by having an unfiltered/un-chill-proofed beer. Perceived bitterness was likely close to what it is today. Some of the old records regarding Budweiser from the period say that the finished beer should have "only the kiss of the hops".

    I don't know if Schlitz, Miller, Schaeffer, etc. also underwent changes in the hop bill throughout the early decades of the 20th century. I presume they did. It would be really interesting to see the hop bills as they changed throughout the decades - varieties appear and disappear.
    BrettHead likes this.
  34. southdenverhoo

    southdenverhoo Member

    Location:
    Colorado
    OK then, how about (without necessarily calling it that if marketing research indicates it will alienate, or is difficult to understand by, the American consumer) a nice Helles? I have been extremely impressed this summer by one brewed by Prost Brewing in Denver under contract to Tivoli Brewing (itself a resurrected brand from the first half of the 20th Century). Here's a style that showcases malt, doesn't use corn, is lightly hopped both in terms of IBUs and whirlpool or late hop additions--but has more noticeable hop flavor than current iterations of the main AB brands.

    And it's a challenge to brew well, a challenge, however, that would seem to me to be right in the AB wheelhouse, in that it requires technical proficience to avoid or eliminate even the slightest off-flavor, given the delicate nature of the flavor components involved. So doing one well would definitely win over craft drinkers not pre-disposed to view an AB product favorably...
    Crusader, Peter_Wolfe and jreindl like this.
  35. jreindl

    jreindl Member

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    While already "sketchy" for us "beer nerds", E'fin' up BCBS is a death sentence. No disrespect AB.
  36. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Peter, I highly recommend that you purchase the book For the Love of Hops by Stan Hieronymous. I have this book but I regret that I have read the book ‘properly’ (I have read selected portions on topics of most interest to me). I had a chance to discuss portions of the book with Stan at the recent NHC in Philadelphia.

    On pages 15 – 18 there is extensive discussion about the breeding program at Wye College from 1906 onwards. I am sure that this section would be of great interest to you. I could not locate the verbiage “soft resins” in the index of the book but that does not necessarily mean that it is not detailed in the book. I personally am unfamiliar with the concept of “soft resins”. On page 15 Stan writes: “In 1917 he (Ernest S. Salmon) presented a paper to the Institute of Brewing in London that he revealed his main objective was to combine the high resin content of American hops, including some found in the wild, with the aroma of European hops. This plan would take hops in a new direction.”

    You stated: “Before the more recent breeding programs (e.g. before late 1970s), AB was using mostly Saaz and Hallertau hops (Saaz was considered the "premium" hop).” Was AB really using Saaz and Hallertau hops for the bittering addition of beers like Budweiser? That makes zero sense to me. Why would AB use high cost, low alpha noble hops for bittering?

    For discussion purposes, the hopping schedule of the 1936 paper:

    · 2/5th at the beginning of boil (bittering hop addition): I would presume that something like Cluster would be used for this addition

    · 2/5th at 40 minutes of boil (flavor hop addition): Maybe a combination of Hallertau and Cluster?

    · 1/5that end of boil; “choicest” hops (aroma addition): Saaz hops for aroma

    Cheers!

    Jack
  37. Peter_Wolfe

    Peter_Wolfe Member

    Location:
    Missouri
    Jack,

    I just got that book in the mail; I will be reading it shortly. Stan actually interviewed my old professor/advisor Dr. Shellhammer when he was gathering data for the book; I was sitting a few feet away and listening the whole time.

    With respect to the soft resins thing, it is old terminology that has fallen out of use as the science of hop chemistry advanced (although the Germans still like to use it). The soft resins and hard resins were classified according to their solubility in ethanol; soft resins were soluble and hard resins were not. Basically it separated the lupulin fraction of hops into two categories: hop acids (soft resin) and the aroma oils (hard resin) - myrcene, for instance, is mostly insoluble in ethanol (you can certainly dissolve minute amounts in beer as with dry hopping, but the solubility is so low it's considered insoluble from a chemist's view). Now days we don't bother with those classifications since we can separate out all the molecules of interest specifically. I only referenced it because the "soft resin" fraction was a breeding goal when they were starting out.

    Is that 1936 paper you've discussed referencing Budweiser specifically? And yes, they did use what we now consider "aroma hops" for bittering for a long time. If you think about it, there really wasn't anything else to use in Germany and Czech Republic areas - they had no high alpha varieties until relatively recently. Budweiser was crafted as a homage to what Adolphus Busch thought were the best beers of those regions and he wanted no "inferior" hops in his prize beer.

    Addendum: I just grabbed that book; on page 15 he references a "wild manitoban" hop; I think that's the Canadian cross I recalled above. Interestingly, they also used an Oregon-grown Saaz and compared it to a German Saaz; amusingly they complained about the "American tang" and "pungent manitoban aroma" - I imagine the very qualities that are prized today. I'm going to bump that book to the front of my reading list; thanks for reminding me :)
    BrettHead likes this.
  38. JimKal

    JimKal Member

    Location:
    North Carolina
    I've gone back and read some of the reviews of your American Ale. It looks like, at least when it first came out, people were willing to give it a chance. If it were still around I think I'd give it a chance (By the time it came out I had pretty much abandoned beer in favor of wine). I know that Goose Island is wholly owned by AB, but have bought both Honkers and the IPA since they appeared here in NC. I would probably buy them more often if they were in a can. I do this even though I will admit to a preference for small ( or smaller) breweries as a political/economic preference on my part. But, I think you may be right. It would be difficult to meet your sales target given both the competition for this market and a negative perception of the brand in the craft community.

    Thanks for sharing and I hope you succeed in your wish for hoppier AB products. Lacking that, lets hope the you guys don't give up on Goose Island.
  39. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    “Is that 1936 paper you've discussed referencing Budweiser specifically?” No. it was a paper written by a British person (a brewer) based upon his visits to multiple US breweries. You can read the paper here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/j.2050-0416.1936.tb05678.x/pdf

    Thanks to Patrik (BA Crusader) for bringing that paper to my attention.

    “And yes, they did use what we now consider "aroma hops" for bittering for a long time.”

    “Budweiser was crafted as a homage to what Adolphus Busch thought were the best beers of those regions and he wanted no "inferior" hops in his prize beer.”

    The fact that AB would utilize Noble hops for bittering in a beer like Budweiser during the timespan of 1876 to the late1970s is still a notion that I have great difficulty getting my head around. I will have to take your word on this matter since I have zero knowledge of the specifics on the hopping schedule of Budweiser.

    Cheers!
  40. nhindian

    nhindian Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I would definitely drink a good, hoppy beer regularly if AB decided to make one. The beer doesn't need to always be thought of based on who brews (even though people do; people may unfairly underrate an AB beer, and people may unfairly overrate craft breweries - something like Hill Farmstead)

    I don't really like any of Leinenkugel's year-round offerings, but their Big Eddy series (Russian Imperial Stout, Imperial IPA, and Baltic Porter) is full of great beers. I'd like to see the big brewers put out something like that, which can truly stand with more 'favorable' craft beers, rather than the faux-craft they occasionally release.

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