Budweiser's Use of Rice: A Luxury or Cutting Costs?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by jaketodd, Jun 1, 2014.


How do you honestly feel about Budweiser?

  1. Horrible

    91 vote(s)
  2. Bad

    129 vote(s)
  3. Ok

    117 vote(s)
  4. Good

    28 vote(s)
  5. Excellent

    13 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
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  1. jaketodd

    jaketodd Initiate (0) May 14, 2014 Idaho

    In the Description section for American Adjunct Lagers, here on Beer Advocate, it says "...cutting flavor and sometimes costs with adjunct cereal grains, like rice..."

    However, from the Budweiser website, it is says that the addition of rice is favorable and an extra expense. See this snapshot:


    What do Y'All think?


    Roguer likes this.
  2. MTBrewr

    MTBrewr Initiate (0) Jan 9, 2014 Minnesota

    When Budweiser first came out it was a lot easier to say they were cutting costs by using rice. However, since then rice has spiked a ton in price. I definitely don't agree that it is a "favorable and extra expense" however. Yes, it is an extra expense now compared to what it used to be, but Budweiser isn't going to change up it's recipe now just because rice got more expensive.

    Budweiser's marketing team is just trying come up with something to combat the craft brewers. I've never heard of any homebrewer brewing with rice in my personal experience.....there's too many different kinds of barley out there, and plenty of barleys can give you a nice crisp "snap" if you incorporate them right.
    smutty33 and Shroud0fdoom like this.
  3. djsmith1174

    djsmith1174 Initiate (0) Aug 21, 2005 Minnesota

    It definitely began in an effort to use cheaper adjuncts to cut costs. Nice spin job by the marketing team at Budweiser, I expect nothing less from them.
  4. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,136) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    Bud used to be okay just a few years ago, but now it's like drinking watered down beer. Can't stand it. Ugh!
  5. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    It did? I thought German brewers began using rice to lighten flavors years before Budweiser was ever brewed. Can you do a @jesskidden for us and document your claim?
  6. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (6,066) Mar 25, 2013 Connecticut
    Moderator Society Trader

    I've heard for a long time that the rice is more expensive than other ingredients. The corn that most BAs object to is another matter.

    Regardless, I have never liked the taste of Bud or Bud Light. I actually liked Bud Ice back in my cooking days; it had a place and a time, and more importantly, a flavor (other than skunk, which is all I get from Bud Light).

    I certainly don't trust Bud's marketing team, but I also wouldn't dismiss the "higher cost for rice" claim out of hand. Still hate the beer, though.
    2beerdogs, neenerzig and cavedave like this.
  7. frazbri

    frazbri Initiate (0) Oct 29, 2003 Ohio

    Without knowing AB's actual costs, it's all guesses and opinion. What using rice does, is add fermentable sugar without adding much flavor, body, or color to the finished product. As far as the beer, it's hard to ding it much from a reviewing standpoint. It's a spot on AmericanLightAdjunctLagerOrWhateverWereCallingItNow. Personally, I don't like it.
    Beer21, 5thOhio, Brolo75 and 3 others like this.
  8. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,926) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    It's definitely added as a source of fermentables that doesn't add much in the way of flavor or proteins. That in and of itself doesn't make it a good thing or a bad thing- it's just how the ingredient is used. Sugars in Belgian ales serves mainly the same purpose.

    As to the cost and quality of the rice used in Budweiser- there was an excellent post by @Peter_Wolfe recently that cuts through a lot of the usual BS:
  9. djsmith1174

    djsmith1174 Initiate (0) Aug 21, 2005 Minnesota

    I could be wrong on the cost savings, I just assumed that was the case knowing that brewing at that scale would likely involve bean counters. Maybe it's for consistency in their case. But I would not be surprised if in the bulk they purchased that it did not end up being cheaper than malted barley.
    neenerzig and BubalooBrewMaster like this.
  10. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    You may want to follow the link provided by TongoRad in his post above. Some of your assumptions may be wrong.
  11. djsmith1174

    djsmith1174 Initiate (0) Aug 21, 2005 Minnesota

    Interesting read. It still does not prove anything about rice producing a superior product over other adjuncts. I'm not going to do a comparison of adjunct prices since their inception in AALs, either. We can just say I was uninformed on that and made a bad assumption. I never said they used inferior rice. Kudos to them for sticking with it even under rising costs. They control the consistency of their product very well. And many people obviously find it to be very palatable.

    I've never found it to be offensive in any way, just somewhat dull. I also have no idea what they mean by crisp, because that is not something I associate with AALs. But we all have different palates. Bottom line is marketing speaks way more for their beer, as do their main competition, than the beer speaks for itself.
  12. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,726) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Well, I'm one of the two votes for "excellent." I think Budweiser is brewed incredibly well, every.....single.....time.

    The fact I don't enjoy that level of adjunct in my beer is irrelevant to how well it's made.
  13. Knobs303

    Knobs303 Aspirant (257) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    I would ask you the same thing. Can you document that German brewers were using rice long before Budweiser. Germany has the purity laws of 1516, and more recently 1993, where no mention of rice is an acceptable ingredient. I am not an expert, but I am fairly sure German brewers do not/have not used rice.
    Roguer and drtth like this.
  14. Brolo75

    Brolo75 Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2013 California

    I used to drink it in my pre craft days, I drank it more than any other
    2beerdogs and cavedave like this.
  15. frazbri

    frazbri Initiate (0) Oct 29, 2003 Ohio

    The Reinheitsgebot was a Bavarian law, and Germany wasn't a unified country until 1871. As for the documentation, I'll leave that to one of our brewing history experts.
    5thOhio likes this.
  16. Knobs303

    Knobs303 Aspirant (257) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    drtth, I did the searching myself and found that German brewers that moved to the US had a hard time brewing with the six-row barley readily available and used rice and corn to mellow/dilute the flavor of malts(pg. 696 of the Oxford Companion to Beer). I read your comment as German brewers that were brewing within Germany at the time. Whereas, the Purity Laws would be enforced, not those brewing in the US. Guess I should of done a little more research myself.
    drtth, malvrich and spartan1979 like this.
  17. Knobs303

    Knobs303 Aspirant (257) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    Or Maybe The Internet?
  18. marquis

    marquis Champion (803) Nov 20, 2005 England

    As mentioned earlier, the Reinheitsgebot was a purely Bavarian measure and wasn't applied to the rest of Germany until 1906.Up to this date there were many styles of brewing which have now been lost.By the way, nobody brews these days to the 1516 version http://www.europeanbeerguide.net/reinheit.htm
    It appears that rice was being used in increasing quantities in Germany in the 19th century simply because people liked the lighter beers it produced.
    Ron has done much research on the topic;
    http://barclayperkins.blogspot.co.uk/2007/07/rice-beer.html etc
    It's clear that the addition of rice allowed American brewers to use domestic malt which was of poor brewing quality because of the continental growing climate. This would certainly help in keeping costs down.But basically you have to brew with what you've got , which is where our styles came from.
  19. BlindSalimander

    BlindSalimander Initiate (0) Aug 16, 2010 Texas

    Since "Indifferent" wasn't an option I voted "Excellent".
    slackattack likes this.
  20. HoppyBastard

    HoppyBastard Defender (617) Sep 6, 2013 Nebraska

    It makes no difference to me what impact the cost of ingredients has on Budweiser. They make a decent lager beer that appeals to the masses, it's pale, fizzy and clear just like the average American likes and competitively priced. Anheuser-Busch (Inbev.....whatever) does more market research than anyone in the business and they have confirmed this is what most people like so they can sell more product and make more money. If YOU like this beer what does it matter? I'm not a big fan of lager, too boring for me but, if you listen to you're own palate and buy what you like the question is irrelevant.
    mnredsoxfan69 and marquis like this.
  21. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,219) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    That's not what Adolphus Busch told the US Congress during 1901 Pure Food Hearings (emphasis added - click on quote for full view):
  22. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,855) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Kuhnhenn in Mi makes an award winning Double IPA named DRIPA. The R=rice. Makes for a crisp light colored IPA.
  23. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,029) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    Even homebrewing involves "beancounting", but all commercial brewers are intimately aware of their costs, small brewers arguably moreso than large.
  24. utopiajane

    utopiajane Initiate (0) Jun 11, 2013 New York

    I do not care for it. It's the rice. it tastes like boiled rice water. It's bloating and very filling. I would not ever have it again.
    2beerdogs, russpowell and GCBrewery like this.
  25. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,219) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Anton Schwarz, a Bohemian brewing chemist, is usually credited with popularizing adjunct brewing in the US. Here’s how 1902’s American Handy-Book of the Brewing, Malting and Auxiliary Trades (available on Google Books) by Wahl & Henius puts it :
    Schwarz was a student of Balling and studied at the Polytechnic Institute in Prague. He would later found an early US brewing school, The Brewers’ Academy of the United States. I’d imagine that adjuncts were also being researched and experimented with at other European brewing schools at the time.

    As for the Germans using adjuncts, this quote from from Cochran’s history of The Pabst Brewing Co. always amuses me, considering the current belief that adjuncts are used only to "cheapen" beer. In mentioning that by the late 1860’s (in the US) corn meal and rice were being experimented with to brew a lighter (more pilsner-like) beer.
    And a few more US brewers' quotes from ads about their preference for, and the added expense of, rice from half a century ago. It was not just Anheuser-Busch that boasted of the superiority of rice as an adjunct:

  26. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,855) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    On a homebrew scale flaked rice is more expensive then most malted barley. It is equal in cost to premium floor malted barley from Bohemia.

    Rice and corn have high gelatinization temperatures, which means they have to be cooked at boiling or near boiling temperatures to explode the starch granuals. This allows the starch to be soluble and the enzymes from the barley can then convert the starch into sugars. I mention this because large brewers have cereal cookers to do this, which add another process, equipment, and energy costs to the process.
  27. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Here's a bit more data you might find interesting reading.

  28. nhindian

    nhindian Initiate (0) Feb 26, 2010 Pennsylvania

    Flaked rice is the cost of convenience for homebrewers not having / wanting to do a cereal mash.
    ElmiraBeerGuy, 2beerdogs and cavedave like this.
  29. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,855) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

  30. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Initiate (0) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    I voted good because Budweiser is an fine example of an AAL. I would have voted excellent but I'm sure it has been dumbed down over the last 30 or more years. There is no reason why a brewery can't make a much better AAL than the ones being made now.
    Harnkus likes this.
  31. 5thOhio

    5thOhio Initiate (0) May 13, 2007 South Carolina

    Except the poll doesn't ask if it's a good example of the AAL style. It asks how the reader honestly feels about it. For that reason, I voted negatively, since I don't like AALs. If the OP had asked "How well does Budweiser meet the style guidelines of an AAL" I would have voted "excellent."
  32. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Initiate (0) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    Good point but I still do enjoy Budweiser on tap when it's the best choice.
  33. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,771) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Meh, it's ok for what it is, Rolling Rock uses Corn, not awful by any means. I can flip a coin between all the BMC stuff neither is better or worse for the most part, only stuff like Busch, Bud Light, Ice brews turn me off, most malt liquors. The only truly horrible beer I've had was a Steel Reserve, I've never drank anti freeze obviously, but I imagine it's close.
  34. 5thOhio

    5thOhio Initiate (0) May 13, 2007 South Carolina

    When Budweiser's the best choice, I go elsewhere. :wink:
    jdell15, A2HB, 2beerdogs and 4 others like this.
  35. SCW

    SCW Initiate (0) Jul 25, 2004 New York

    excellent find - really interesting to see how what's promoted on a website is so different than the testimony given to Congress 100 years prior
    jRocco2021, GCBrewery and cavedave like this.
  36. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Initiate (0) Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

    Between Miller & Bud I've always felt that regular Bud had more of a "toasty oat" thing goin on & Miller seemed to have more of the rice coming thru, sadly these days I seem to be exposed to High Life & Milwaukee's Beast more often among my more cost conscience circle of friends. I swear I can smell a beer & know if it's Miller, based on their formula, crazy as that sounds.
  37. spartan1979

    spartan1979 Aspirant (284) Dec 29, 2005 Missouri

    Currently, at the Biergarten in St. Louis, AB has a beer on tap that is a recreation of an 1884 recipe that was made for a local restaurant, Tony Faust's St. Louis Oyster House. It's not the Faust that AB made in the 80's.

    It's 30% rice, two row and 60L crystal. It's really good. Flavorful, but light and crisp.It's a easy drinking beer. Of course, the brewing process is impeccable. We went to the Biergarten two Fridays in a row to have that beer. I'd love to see it on tap around town.

    But the point is that you can have a really nice beer made with rice.
    nc41, russpowell, TongoRad and 5 others like this.
  38. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Initiate (0) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    Sometimes one does not have the choice to go or would rather stay for other reasons.
    2beerdogs and neenerzig like this.
  39. BubalooBrewMaster

    BubalooBrewMaster Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2013 Nevada

    I was thinking along the same lines about the bulk part.A major corporation like Budweiser isn't gonna spend extra money for flavors sake.They have to always make money that makes their pockets fatter.Not a beer that tastes better for the consumer.The facts don't lie.

    Ps...I also feel that BMC agents and propaganda saturate this website ,this thread included. :sunglasses:
  40. 5thOhio

    5thOhio Initiate (0) May 13, 2007 South Carolina

    Then I drink iced tea and yearn for a beer I would enjoy.
    I simply don't like the taste of AALs. Just like I don't like the taste of some other foods & drinks.
    2beerdogs and russpowell like this.
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