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Unibroue and "Natural Flavors" -- how disgusted should I be?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Avangion, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. Assuming your reply to me it absolute is true for ciders. We just pulled some from our shelves because we found out they contain HFCS and we don't allow it in anything we sell. Keep in mind that alcohol ingredient labeling is not regulated the same way as it is for food.
     
  2. I would love some stout aged in beaver ass gland barrels
     
  3. If I saw a beer label that read "brewed with natural flavors" (as opposed to "brewed with orange peel/coriander", "brewed with spices", etc), my first inclination would be to think they're adding "natural flavors" that they don't want to come out and name unless you ask.
     
    RyanLigeia and SammyJaxxxx like this.
  4. drtth

    drtth Champion (870) Pennsylvania Nov 25, 2007

    When? Source of information? Thanks.
     
  5. StuartCarter

    StuartCarter Savant (450) Alabama Apr 25, 2006

    friend of mine is a brewer. He makes a peanut butter porter with de-fatted peanut butter. TTB requires him to label the beer as "beer with natural and artificial flavors", despite the fact that it is just peanut butter with the fat removed (because we know how fat interacts with the beer's head!).

    In other words, you're probably making a big fuss about nothing ;)
     
    lancecenter likes this.
  6. Source was a rep for the importer. They should make a bigger announcement when they are certain all of the old stuff is gone.
     
  7. Flashy

    Flashy Advocate (615) Vermont Oct 22, 2003

    friend of mine is a flavor chemist and he says there is no difference between man made or natural chemicals, they are all chemicals. Used properly? That's a different story.
     
    lancecenter, mclaughlindw4 and MrOH like this.
  8. TheBoog013 likes this.
  9. Brunite

    Brunite Savant (430) Illinois Sep 21, 2009

    Imagine the money to be made if we could figure out a way to get the glands in a human's backside to work that way!!
     
  10. luwak

    luwak Savant (305) Arizona Mar 2, 2010

    This has been discussed before as there are several beers with this phrasing on the label.

    Shiner, Leinenkugel's, Clown Shoes and Magic Hat come to mind

    See for instance:

    http://beeradvocate.com/community/threads/ale-with-natural-flavor-added.17460/


    from the FDA:
    http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceCom...Documents/FoodLabelingNutrition/ucm166239.htm

    the key line of relevance may be:
    According the FDA website:
    spices, natural flavors or artificial flavors may be declared in ingredient lists by using either specific common or usual names or by using the declarations “spices,” “flavor” or “natural flavor,” or “artificial flavor.”
     
  11. Avangion

    Avangion Aficionado (110) New York Dec 14, 2012

    This has been really fascinating. Thanks, everyone. I looked at the other thread, and I wonder if Unibroue would just say "trade secret" like AV. On the other hand, a brewery that is doing contract beers for a supermarket chain may have gotten away from the whole craft concept. Anyway, I just don't feel comfortable with "natural flavors". I was going to say that Dogfish Head never does this, and someone else already did. I am also a big drinker of sake, and sake is just rice and water (sometimes a little added alcohol). Shouldn't beer just be barley, hops, and water? OK, I'm oversimplifying... There are some great beers that have other stuff added and the greatness of beer is in fact how malleable the recipes are. But adding spices is not the same to me as adding a chemical flavor produced in a factory, however it was derived. And I think the argument that anything humans create is as natural as anything any other animal creates is patently specious. There's too much great beer out there to compromise, in my opinion. But I think this has been a great conversation. I'm new here, so I REALLY appreciate it.
     
  12. Go read the Pangaea label and tell me how you feel reading that by itself, with no context.
     
  13. Avangion

    Avangion Aficionado (110) New York Dec 14, 2012

    Next time I see Sam C. at an event, I'll put it to him. He seems like a straightforward guy. You're right: no idols. No mercy.
     
  14. Hopdaemon39

    Hopdaemon39 Savant (370) New York Dec 27, 2011

    Good point that we can only really speculate as they don't specify on the bottle or on their website. Personally, I find all of Unibroue's beers disgusting because of their house yeast strain. The TJ's vintage ale (though brewed by them and still with the, IMO, offensive yeast) to me tastes better than their regular offerings, and is about half as expensive, so regardless of the "natural flavors", whatever they may be, I'll get it and maybe give it six months in the cellar.
     
  15. Hopdaemon39

    Hopdaemon39 Savant (370) New York Dec 27, 2011

    Is this true? If so, that's pretty awful... high fructose corn syrup is a major enemy to good tasting food/beverages...
     
  16. BEERMILER12

    BEERMILER12 Champion (770) Maine Sep 11, 2010

    I hate thread jacking... but I'm a chemist and naturally have a little problem with this statement. I have absolutely nothing wrong with your views here and fully support trying to only consume things that are organic, all-natural, etc. I'll just throw out a simple contradicting example and leave it at that....

    Yeast cultures...

    A little food for thought, maybe, on the reality that almost nothing is 100% "natural" anymore... It sucks, but it's true.
     
    TheBoog013, tewaris and MrOH like this.
  17. LeRose

    LeRose Advocate (605) Massachusetts Nov 24, 2011

    We are in agreement then. Havent gotten the quoting thing down here yet...but wasnt meant. Be personal, just general reply.

    You can't call a sweetener a flavor in fruit juices...ever. I remember a beet sugar scandal a decade or so ago. Manufacturer saying it was a colorant. I don't even know what you would call a cider with sugar or HFCS dumped in there. I don't know where to find the alcohol labeling rules. The juice ones are enough of a nightmare for me!
     
  18. Avangion

    Avangion Aficionado (110) New York Dec 14, 2012

    Hmm.. interesting point, but apples and apples? You really think so?
     
  19. CA_Infidel2o9

    CA_Infidel2o9 Savant (310) Dec 1, 2012

    I'm sure your getting what he finds so offensive.

    It's not orange peels, honey, fruits, vanilla extract, etc being added. It's "something" they obviously aren't too proud of so they use the phrase "natural flavors" to pretty it up and mislead you.

    I love everything Unibroue, but that "natural flavors" thing always threw me off...
     
  20. MrOH

    MrOH Savant (490) Maryland Jul 5, 2010

    Well, the BJCP would call it a New England Cider, Applewine, or Other Specialty Cider, depending on what else is going on. A long precedence for this.
     
  21. Avangion

    Avangion Aficionado (110) New York Dec 14, 2012

    Well stated... better than I did. As far as I know, "natural flavors" and artificial flavors are the same chemicals derived by different procedures. So vanilla extract may be a natural ingredient but it is not a "natural flavor." My confusion is whether or not something like orange peel or vanilla extract would be included under the natural flavor label as some have suggested. Btw, sorry for all the scare quotes! And it's pretty neat there are chemists around here. Good check on my tendency to be a sanctimonious purist.
     
  22. BEERMILER12

    BEERMILER12 Champion (770) Maine Sep 11, 2010

    Perhaps not apples to apples, but seed to seed... yes :)
     
    dachshunddude86 likes this.
  23. CA_Infidel2o9

    CA_Infidel2o9 Savant (310) Dec 1, 2012

    My thinking is, if i add all these awesome ingredients, i would list them proudly like most breweries do. But if i added something kinda sketch and was worried it would effect sales, i would either not mention it or if law dictates, file it under natural flavors.

    Pretty much, i would say you assumptions hold some ground. Your going to have to decide if it's that much of a problem, that you would give up on such an awesome brewery.
     
  24. The lost question in this thread is why you are cellaring Maudite?

    Seriously though, the reinheitsgebot and the rest of the 15th century are over that way...

    You're worrying about absolutely nothing, and is in fact extremely common in beer today. Plus, the difference between natural flavorings and artificial flavorings is more often than not a function of emotional depth charge more so than any meaningful impact to your health.
     
    StuartCarter, MrOH and franklinn like this.
  25. Avangion

    Avangion Aficionado (110) New York Dec 14, 2012

    Regarding Maudite: seemed like a good idea at the time. No?

    As for flavors, in my case it's less a function of health concern than personal preference.
     
  26. CA_Infidel2o9

    CA_Infidel2o9 Savant (310) Dec 1, 2012

    I didn't really want to bring this part up, as some ppl think artificial flavoring is poison, while others (like me) have no problem with it and use it on a daily basis.

    Touchy subject my dude. Like religion & politics ;)

    As for Maudite, i never thought to age it.
     
  27. Yeah, if you think they use water from Antarctica every time they brew a batch, you're just kidding yourself. But the label says so, so it must be true, right?:rolleyes:
     
  28. Who cares as long as it tastes good? :cool:
     
    NoLeafClover44 and Photekut like this.
  29. It's basically a dubbel, and dubbels hold up well for a couple of years but don't really improve. It's generally one to drink right off the shelf.
     
  30. "Natural flavors" is the biggest load of bullshit ingredient ever.
     
  31. You shouldn't be disgusted at all. All that label means is that Unibroue probably uses extracts instead of whole spices. Natural extracts are made by soaking real, natural ingredients in neutral-flavored alcohol to "extract" the flavor, then adding the alcohol to the finished beer. This is done for the purpose of consistency and is actually a fantastic tool for producing consistent spiced beers. I do this with homebrewing all the time and the results are indistinguishable from using whole spices, and are far easier to dial in.

    While we're on the topic, it's worth noting that Chimay uses both hop and malt extract after their beers are brewed, to fine tune the gravity and bitterness and put out consistent products. Russian River also did (and may still) use hop extract in Pliny in addition to real hops, for a whole host of manufacturing benefits. It isn't scary at all. It's a perfectly acceptable way to make great beer.
     
  32. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Texas Apr 11, 2012

    This!

    Everything is natural. Plastic comes from elements in nature. Just because it's altered doesn't make it not come from nature. I hate the fact that people think natural means better than anything else.

    That said, I'd prefer not to have plastic in my beer.
     
  33. I just wanted to pop in and mention that the TTB can require you to put "natural flavors" on a label even if you use orange peels or spices in it and not just a "flavor". Often times it seems that the TTB can just require you to put whatever they feel like on the label, I've had a beer approved with one thing on it, resubmitted the same beers keg neck label and been required to change the wording on it, even though that wording had been previously approved on the bottle label.
     
  34. Avangion

    Avangion Aficionado (110) New York Dec 14, 2012

    Maybe after a few I won't care anymore. Even if I am drinking plastic.
     
    DanzBorin likes this.
  35. baconman91

    baconman91 Savant (495) Ohio Dec 13, 2009

    excellent point -- 5 Stars ;)
     
  36. Beer is all natural anyway. It's made of water, malts, yeast, sugar, and hops. I am not as seasoned a home brewer as many other BA members but lots of the flavoring depends on how these ingredients interact with the yeast. So I wouldn't get too worried about Maudite promoting their beers as "natural flavor."
     
  37. I thought that if you did this you would have to force carb the beer since there would be no yeast left to naturally carbonate the beer.
     
  38. CA_Infidel2o9

    CA_Infidel2o9 Savant (310) Dec 1, 2012

    Just drink it yo, you'll get over it once you take a sip of anything Unibroue.
     
    MarioM likes this.
  39. Nutwood

    Nutwood Savant (405) Kentucky Jun 30, 2012

    To answer your question, I don't think you should be disgusted at all. Life is messy, don't sweat the small stuff, and don't let labeling like this freak you out. There are a lot of things out there on a lot of labels that should scare you way more than this.

    Pour it, drink it, enjoy it. When you get right down to it, the alcohol is by far the most toxic thing in the beer, and nobody ever seems freak out about that at all. So it goes.
     

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