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Beer as a "digestive"?

Discussion in 'Beer & Food' started by 4DAloveofSTOUT, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. I saw this word "digestive" in a beer review and its context got me to wonder. Basically the beer review implied that the beer was to aid in digestion after eating a meal.

    This interested me and was was hoping to gain a bit more knowledge about "beers that help digestion" and some specific examples of beer styles that would be good choices as a digestive aid. Or if you have anything that you can add that is interesting go ahead and post about it!

    As always, thanks in advance for any information that the community can provide!
  2. Bierlerner

    Bierlerner Savant (325) Oklahoma Aug 17, 2010

    Beer is shown to possess a number of digestive properties, which include stimulation of gastrin, gastric acid, cholecystokinin and pancreatic enzymes. Basically, calming spasms in digestive tract and easing the process overall. This is greatly due to the hops. It's been shown that hops are a direct syndicate in helping our digestive systems. Warm and heavy brews with higher IBUs are excellent as a digestif.

    Barleywines are pretty much perfect as a digestif. Imperial stouts and imperial IPAs are great. Winter warmer ales, eisbocks, doppelbocks, and some porters are also good as well. I imagine a scotch ale would be good too.
  3. Chinon01

    Chinon01 Savant (440) Pennsylvania Jan 23, 2007

    Digestive are high alcohol beverages such as liquors like Sambucca, Cointreau, and DOM, fortified wines like port or sherry, Scotch, Bourbon, Cognac. Beer digestive therefore may include DFH 120 Minute, DFH WWW, DFH Fort, Eisbock, Samishclaus, etc. These beers/styles are all in the 15% abv range or higher. There are stronger beers but the beers listed are all beers or styles that I've tried. I'll add too that I've always thought that a proper serving size for these style beers would be 3-4oz just like bourbon, port, etc and that they should be treated more like digestives.
  4. Sneers

    Sneers Savant (385) New Jersey Dec 27, 2009

    I've pulled out some high ABV, generally sweet beers after dinner for a digestif of sorts, but I think their biggest flaw as such is their carbonation. Adding gas to your stomach when you're trying to feel less full isn't always particularly helpful.
    Caterwaul and BeerSingh like this.
  5. This is all very interesting info! Thanks guys!
  6. Etan

    Etan Advocate (745) Wisconsin Jul 11, 2011

    You just don't burp often enough.
    BeerSingh likes this.
  7. Chinon01

    Chinon01 Savant (440) Pennsylvania Jan 23, 2007

    That's another reason for smaller serving size (again 3-4oz). When served in bars these extremely high abv beers are usually served in 10oz glassware. Could you imagine being served 10oz of Port? At my local bar Southern Tier Creme Brulee was served in a pint glass; which I thought was completely inappropriate considering not so much the abv (~9%) as much as the super sweet and spiced flavor profile. Diabetes in a glass.
  8. Does drinking a larger serving than the recommend serving size of 3-4oz negate the health benefits of the beer(being a digestive)?

    Example- drinking an entire 12oz bottle of Bourbon County Brand Stout @14% ABV instead of only 3 - 4oz.
  9. Completely agree with this, particularly in regards to serving size. Most of those super sweet, high gravity beers are too much to drink a full bottle of by yourself. Even J.W. Lees Harvest Ale, which comes in a 9 oz. bottle, I usually split with my girlfriend in small brandy glasses as a sort of digestif or nightcap.

    I'm going to add Baladin Xyauyu and Sam Adams Utopias to the list as some of the better digestif beers on the market. And, because of the strength of Utopias, oxidized elements of Xyauyu and lack of carbonation in both, they'll stay perfectly delicious for weeks, if not months, in the refrigerator after opening, making them perfect for small servings.
  10. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Champion (930) Arizona Jun 18, 2002

    Love this post.

    For me, having a digestif usually implies that a big, hearty or rich meal was enjoyed. If so, my tummy is full, so beer is really out of the question. Much better off with the spirits in my opinion.

    Beer is best as a meal accompaniment, I think.
    BeerSingh likes this.
  11. afrokaze

    afrokaze Advocate (620) California Jun 12, 2009

    Utopias would probably be the best example of this, both in ABV and character. It drinks like a nice sherry/port and 3 oz would be great after a big meal.
  12. EricCioe

    EricCioe Savant (445) Montana Aug 7, 2010

    After a big meal I'd really rather drink something like a Berlinerweiss or a gueuze, something with a smaller body, and then maybe only 6 oz of it.
  13. Chinon01

    Chinon01 Savant (440) Pennsylvania Jan 23, 2007

    Why "after" versus before or during?
  14. EricCioe

    EricCioe Savant (445) Montana Aug 7, 2010

    Because that's what a digestif is, an after meal thing. Before and during I'm willing to drink stouts and old ales and what have you. But after, something lighter with decent carbonation to start the shit train sounds about right.
  15. BeerSingh

    BeerSingh Savant (405) India Jul 25, 2009

    Because "before" would make it an "aperitif"
  16. Chinon01

    Chinon01 Savant (440) Pennsylvania Jan 23, 2007

    A digestif is meant to aid in digesting your meal not to be a laxative;] Furthermore beverages like Gueze, Champagne, and Berlinerweiss are classic examples of aperitif; light and effervescent w/ acidity that helps to whet the appetite.
    Not saying that you shouldn't drink what you want when you want however;]
  17. I always thought that an apertif, definitionally, was dry, light, bright, to sort of "wake up" the palate, with a digestif being more rich and sweet. I guess because I think of it in terms of the progression of a meal, from light to heavy. You wouldn't eat chocolate before a meal, then finish with ceviche, you know?

    But I could be off-base. I don't know what technically classifies something as an apertif vs. digestif from a definitional perspective.
    Bierlerner likes this.
  18. Bierlerner

    Bierlerner Savant (325) Oklahoma Aug 17, 2010

    I think you're right on the money, actually. Start light and work to heavy when eating food. Same goes to the beers. Light, bright, racy, and a touch dry is a great example as a kickstarter aperitif. While heavy, rich, hoppy, and sweet are the perfect ending digestif. I think MOST will agree as well.

    In backwards order, well....it just sounds backwardso_O

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