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Ingredient Preference Help

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by OakGuy, Feb 4, 2019.

  1. OakGuy

    OakGuy Initiate (16) Feb 4, 2019 California

    I am looking for beers that fulfill the following criteria: Only ingredients are:
    Barley (no extracts)
    Hops (no extracts)

    No: colorings, flavors, etc.

    I thought this would be easy however it has come to my attention that the ingredient statement laws are loosey goosey in the USA when it comes to beers. I'd focus on Canadian or Euro beers as I believe they require proper ingredient statements but I can't find confirmation that they apply those rules to product meant for consumption in the USA.

    Not looking for any guidance as to why this doesn't matter to some (respectfully - I don't care), or that beers that use caramel color, maltoferm, hop extracts, corn syrup, etc taste great (I am sure they do), or that the additives in question are perfectly healthy (I already concede that for my own personal concerns).

    I am just exhausted from doing web searches on beers and beer companies trying to find beers where the company explicitly states on the label (but a solid website statement would suffice) that they are fulfilling this criteria that I seek for my own personal reasons. So far I think I can count on Sierra Nevada and Gordon Biersch but would appreciate other leads.

    Looking for Maiboch styles, stouts, low hopped amber ales in particular but open to other styles as well. Thanks in advance for any useful leads
  2. larryi86

    larryi86 Poo-Bah (3,344) Apr 4, 2010 Delaware
    Society Trader

    Sounds like you are looking for beers that fit into Reinheursgebot, the old German Putity Law, and from my understanding a lot of traditional German beers should meet these requirements.

    I know it will be hard to tell if breweries are using malt extracts instead of barely, but I feel you have a better chance with smaller craft breweries of having an all malt base with no extracts. Checking some breweries websites might help, some breweries are actually pretty open about what goes into their beers even though it’s not on the label.
    dcotom and Troutbeerbum like this.
  3. surfcaster

    surfcaster Crusader (755) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Where are you? That will help others give you recommendations.

    Here in NC we have OMB as a completely 100% authentic German style brewer and as authentic as it gets. Bottle most everything they sell.
    RochefortChris and dcotom like this.
  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,862) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    You can go to this AB InBev website; they list the ingredients of their beers.


    The first beer that comes up is Becks which lo and behold has the following ingredient list: “Ingredients: Water; Barley Malt; Hops.”

    Yeast is not explicitly listed but needless to say without it beer does not ‘happen’.

    Squire and dcotom like this.
  5. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,319) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    Welcome to the BA site, OakGuy. You've joined a site that can be very helpful to answer posts like yours. However, all of us are in the same boat with you and do not have the benefit of seeing a list of ingredients, so it is not any easier to compile a list of beers that fit your requirements than it is for you to do so.

    I can generalize and say what was said in the post above that craft breweries are likely where you will find these beers. You can look at a beer's label and determine if flavorings such as fruit, coffee, chocolate, etc. have been added, and you can also eliminate certain beer styles that traditionally are brewed with some wheat, rye, etc. I'm going to guess that 80% of the remaining beers that aren't excluded above will fit your criteria, but it will be difficult to determine in the remaining 20% that might use malt or hop extract.

    Some BA members might be aware of beers that 100% fit your cruteria, but to avoid you compiling a list of these beers, some of which you would be unable to easily acquire because of limited geographical distro, I suggest that you update your personal profile info to include your state so that local beers can be recommended to you by members in your state/region.
    #5 PapaGoose03, Feb 5, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  6. OakGuy

    OakGuy Initiate (16) Feb 4, 2019 California

    Im in southern california, and would appreciate any tips based on that. And I'll share if I find any as well.
    #6 OakGuy, Feb 5, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  7. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,747) Sep 24, 2007 Washington

    I would think most beer fits into your parameters. But, your parameters also rule out Wheat and Rye beers.
  8. OakGuy

    OakGuy Initiate (16) Feb 4, 2019 California

    Actually Id like to try beers that swap out the barley for other quality grains but I thought I'd start with barley as that is my usual preference.
  9. zid

    zid Savant (972) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    The recommendations for German beers might be leading you off track. Reinheitsgebot regulations will allow things like hop extract.
    Domingo, steveh and jesskidden like this.
  10. MerryTapster

    MerryTapster Disciple (307) Mar 6, 2010 Pennsylvania

    Anything by Schneider Weiss or Weinstephaner are go too for me as far as being reihehietsgabibble certified
    dcotom likes this.
  11. OakGuy

    OakGuy Initiate (16) Feb 4, 2019 California

    Yes they do, and they also allow for sugar in ales, and a coloring agent made from beer concentrate if I read a pretty extensive document correctly. And that is why I did not cite Reinheitzgebot directly. But it could be a starting point if I can find manufacturers that will confirm their use or lack of use of those things.
  12. OakGuy

    OakGuy Initiate (16) Feb 4, 2019 California

    Those look good. Websites give good indication of no hop extracts. Thanks
  13. stevepat

    stevepat Devotee (498) Mar 12, 2013 California

    I think your best bet would be to swing into local breweries and put your premise to the bartender on duty. my experience is that many (most?) small US brewers are meeting your standards, at least in their more basic styles. You might excluded from trying some of their more experimental offerings but I would think most of their ambers, pales, browns, IPAs, porters/stouts, would be fine by your guidelines
    mambossa, PapaGoose03 and TongoRad like this.
  14. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,124) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    Hey OakGuy, welcome to BA. If I lived in SoCal I believe I'd attend a BrewFest and ask the brewers themselves.
    PapaGoose03 and AZBeerDude72 like this.
  15. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,285) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Beer is, by definition, made from malt extract.
  16. OakGuy

    OakGuy Initiate (16) Feb 4, 2019 California

    Fine. But in case its not clear, my reference to "malt extract" was indicative of preprepared, usually highly concentrated material rather than what is technically a "malt extract" that one obtains when one grinds one's own barley and extracts it in water for immediate preparation of wort. My own view is that the use of the word "beer" allows for the use of a "malt extract" derived by either method. My interest is only in beers that use the latter method. With no offense meant to those beers that rely on the former, of course.
  17. JrGtr

    JrGtr Disciple (376) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    Most craft breweries use malt - there are a very few that will use malt extract, but they are far between. It comes to cost - a one-time cost of a mill and mash tun, and being able to buy whole grain, versus buying extract for every batch, which is much more expensive.
    Hop extracts are more common, but still not really widespread, except in some cases for duper hoppy beers.
    Very very few, if any, craft brewers use colorants other than roasted or highly kilned barleys (or wheat, etc)
    Flavorings are where things get a bit trickier, with the proliferation of fruited IPAs and such (grapefruit, mango, etc) Those will normally be right on the label, if not part of the name itself.
    Then there are vanilla, chocolate, bourbon aging, and so on.
    If you have questions, most breweries are happy to answer questions.

    IN short, you shouldn't have any problems finding beers that are just those 4 ingredients.
    TongoRad and PapaGoose03 like this.
  18. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,405) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    A few smaller places don't have mills, but order precrushed bags of grain from the suppliers.
    SFACRKnight and jesskidden like this.
  19. OakGuy

    OakGuy Initiate (16) Feb 4, 2019 California

    Great, I'll take it ok. If they fit the remaining criteria please let me know Id like to check them out. Thanks
  20. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,405) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    I'm not familiar with all of the CA breweries. The ones I was talking about are ~1000 bbl or less in MI.

    The post was to say there are small Breweries that don't own a mill that still mash the grist.
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  21. JrGtr

    JrGtr Disciple (376) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    The main point is, you'll be hard pressed to find breweries that DON'T use malt as their fermentables - as I said, if you have questions, most breweries are happy to answer them.
    Where in California are you? It's (obviously) a big state, and narrowing things down will help people familiar with the area give you some recommendations.
  22. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Zealot (524) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    This sounds like you are creating a problem for one that doesn't necessarily exist. Most craft brewers like to brag if they dabble outside of the four base ingredients you listed, and are part of the sacred yet silly purity law. As such, the vast majority of beer on the market doesn't use, nor need color that is already available from the grain choices, or the fruit, or the tea, or what have you that is an additional factor and will be listed because brewers tendency to brag about such things. No artificial colorants are necessary where beer is concerned. Hop extracts. Not sure why this would be an issue, but okay. It won't be something to create a need to worry about with the range of beers you mentioned. Maltoferm? Huh. Doubtful that will turn up unless you start hanging out with homebrewers, or get a hankering for a really high abv beer from a small brewery. Corn syrup occasionally gets used, but I've only heard of it and also seen it getting used in higher abv beers as a way to thin out the body, and to also give the drinker a painful hangover.
    Flavors, as already stated. Most every single brewer who is going to dabble outside of the purity law ideal is also going to brag about that fact, or call their stout a milk stout.
  23. OakGuy

    OakGuy Initiate (16) Feb 4, 2019 California

    All of this is good information and commentary, thanks everyone. For the record, while what I seek is almost defined by the purity law, I also think having a purity law is silly. But I personally would want to know if flavors, colors, malt extracts, hop extracts, corn syrup was used and I think its becoming clear finding out this information is not always that easy and I am not convinced that even craft brewers don't take advantage of the loose labeling laws. Maybe some will talk and sign certs, maybe some wont

    For now I have a friend in the industry who is going to try and hunt down a confirmable brew or to that I can find here in Los Angeles. Beyond that I will spend time looking for German imports that I can confirm don't use hop extracts. Silly or not, that purity law at least narrows it down to one item of concern.

    So thanks for everyones input. I would like to pose one question just for kicks amongst the group: my read (which might be wrong) of labeling requirements for beers in the USA would result in no ingredient labelling needed for the following beer recipe:

    Froot Loops (yellow ones removed due to yellow 5 or maybe it was 6, either way)
    hop extract
    caramel color
    corn syrup

    This is assuming the flavor ingredients in the froot loops don't include the few on the FEMA list that are on the TTB list requiring labeling (its been a long time since I dealt with TTb, when they were called atf in fact). In that case the flavor might get rejected or require labeling but lets just go with the assumption that it would not be flagged in that manner.

    So if you dont mind playing along tell me what needs to be mandatorily disclosed as an ingredient for my froot loops beer with link to assiciated regs. Thanks
  24. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,416) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    That is your entire recipe? If so, without malted barley it ain't a "malt beverage" and as such, your product is going to fall under the mandatory labeling requirement of the FDA.

    The FAA Act's definition of "malt beverage*" which is what the TTB regulates is:

    An alcohol or alcohol-free beverage made by the alcoholic fermentation of an infusion or decoction, or combination of both, in potable brewing water, of:
    · malted barley comprising not less than 25% by weight of the total weight of fermentable ingredients
    · hops (or their parts or products) in an amount equivalent to 7.5 pounds per 100 barrels (3100 gallons) of finished malt beverage
    AND, with or without
    · other malted cereals
    · unmalted or prepared cereals
    · other carbohydrates (or products prepared therefrom)
    · carbon dioxide
    · other wholesome products suitable for human food consumption

    For more info, check out the TTB's site or the Feds' Malt Beverage Labeling Rules. Look for Ruling 2015-1 for new rules on what were previously "non-tradtional" ingredients.

    * Note, too, that " 'Malt Beverage' is the general name given in the Federal alcohol labeling regulations for all products made at a brewery with malted barley and hops. It includes things like beer, ale, lager, flavored malt beverages, and even 'near beer'..."
    NeroFiddled, cavedave and PapaGoose03 like this.
  25. OakGuy

    OakGuy Initiate (16) Feb 4, 2019 California

    Whoops forgot the malt extract. Nice catch lol. Thanks for the details also. 2015-1 has some specufic examples where the term "natural flavors" must be added so that is good. So at least "froot loop" flavor or similar term would need to be added. Can't speak for the other stuff involved but that is actually good info I was unaware of.

    Thanks again
  26. readyski

    readyski Aspirant (234) Jun 4, 2005 California

    Welcome to the site. I think most of us wouldn't mind if they listed the (detailed) ingredients, but we're still trying to get the brewers to put a simple date on the bottle or can.
  27. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,285) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    What do you have against malt extract? I'm curious.
    dcotom, PapaGoose03 and cavedave like this.
  28. OakGuy

    OakGuy Initiate (16) Feb 4, 2019 California

    When it comes to malt extract, corn syrup etc I really don't have anything against them that would prevent me from eating or drinking products that contain them in most circumstances. If I'm eating a candy bar, a peanut butter sandwich, or even knocking back some Miller lites with friends I couldn't give a crap.

    But when it comes to buying and consuming products where I am searching for an artisan/craft experience I want to know all about it and know that no shortcuts were taken. I want to even experience the batch to batch variation that could occur. I'll admit to being a pain in the ass when it comes to coffee, chocolate, distilled spirits, ciders, and now beer since I learned what a porta potty fire the labeling situation is.

    As for malt extract specifically, it is an evaporated standardized product. Its not a tool of a true craftsman in my opinion. It's a shortcut. It might have lost some inherent character before being used to make the wort. I could probably go on but hopefully you get the idea. But I've enjoyed learning as I look into this and I've added even another criteria, no hop pellets, only cones. Added that one after I read that Hofbrau uses pellets and then read up on pellets vs cones. And no forced carbonation and no bottle conditioning with anything except wort.

    See, I'm a real pain in the ass but it's what I want. I have a message in with Anchor Brewing. I think they might fit the bill but unfortunately don't offer a Maibock.
  29. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,416) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    You just made your list of breweries very short by eliminating a LOT of beers.
    hopsputin, JrGtr, dcotom and 4 others like this.
  30. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,285) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    I would suggest taking up homebrewing. I would be surprised if you can find a beer that is all grain, whole cone hops, bottle conditioned, and a maibock. I'm under the impression SNPA fits your ingredient and bottling criteria, but obviously not the style you want. I also wouldn't be surprised if every brewery out there keeps some malt extract on hand just in case, and while not always using it for a batch, may use it without advertising the fact.
    JackHorzempa and PapaGoose03 like this.
  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,862) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Jason (@SFACRKnight) wins the Gold Star with his answer of "homebrewing". Given your onerous list of criteria this is by far (and perhaps only?) option.


    P.S. Please feel free to post your homebrewing questions in the BA Homebrewing forum.
    SFACRKnight and PapaGoose03 like this.
  32. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,416) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Might also change his mind about the use of hop pellets, corn sugar for bottle conditioning, malt extract and (if he kegs) force-carbonating.
  33. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,862) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    JK, you are more optimistic here than I am. It is not easy to read 'tone' in electronic communications but OakGuy sure seems to have some 'issues' here.

  34. OakGuy

    OakGuy Initiate (16) Feb 4, 2019 California

    I've actually been thinking about the home brew option. Could be a good way to work out all my 'issues" lol.
    Ranbot, stevepat, SFACRKnight and 2 others like this.
  35. zid

    zid Savant (972) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    I'm convinced that they benefit from not providing info. You might want to focus on European brewers since it is often the case that their ingredients (or some acknowledgment of) are on the package. There's a European brewer that fits the mold of a pricey modern craft brewer perfectly... and one of their stouts had this on the label: "natural & artificial flavors & artificial caramel color added." I would imagine that if labeling regulations were stricter in the US in regards to beer ingredients, we'd see a lot of similarly labeled craft beers.

    Be honest, did you start this thread as a result of a Super Bowl commercial? Perhaps indirectly. I'm not knocking you if you did, I'm just curious. If you haven't looked at it already, you'd be interested in the current Rice vs Corn thread regardless.
    In that case, just suck it up with a pellet hop Maibock as well. You should feel lucky if you have access to ANY Maibocks. Otherwise, add your criteria and kiss Maibocks goodbye.
    I knew the topic of whole cone hops was going to eventually come up from you... I swear. Generally speaking, look to the older craft brewers for their use - places like Sierra Nevada and Victory. Keep in mind that some brewers will not use whole cones exclusively. Anchor also uses pellets.

    OK. Even though you added "anything except wort" to your bottle conditioning bit, you're not seeing the forest for the trees... or you're confusing your objectives (shortcuts vs quality of ingredients). Bottle conditioning is not an example of a shortcut... regardless of the form of sugar.

    Why stop there? You've barely scratched the surface of shortcuts. Why not only buy beer from triple decoction mash brewers? But do they kiln their own malt? Forget it. You should really eliminate the clutter and focus only on authentic Oude Gueuze producers... but wait, some of those lazy bums don't even make their own wort! What about genuine Biere de Champagne producers who employ riddling? $40 a bottle? Yikes!

    The only satisfying solution is a focus on the extreme farmhouse brewers. Every ingredient is foraged for or grown on their farm (grain/malt and hops included). The yeast is found on the farm too... or maybe the yeast finds the wort instead. Batch to batch variation pushed to its limits. Carbonation is a crapshoot. Dang it! But maybe they're using stainless steel instead of copper and wood. There goes that solution.

    I know I might have come across as dismissive to your concerns, but I'm really not trying to be. I'm just using humor and trying to provide a little food for thought.
  36. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,862) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Chris, how do you think that OakDude would react if he saw the labs where brewers yeast is produced!?!:astonished:

    JrGtr, SFACRKnight and zid like this.
  37. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,018) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    Trumer Pils.

    You're welcome.

    @zid The snark is well-deserved, especially if you just registered with BA and post a new thread that very same day on an already discussed instead of just utilizing the search tool or Google effectively. This is a borderline trollin' thread.
    #37 tzieser, Feb 7, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  38. OakGuy

    OakGuy Initiate (16) Feb 4, 2019 California

    Super Bowl commercial inspired? Nope, but the timing of that commercial was humorous to me. I actually stumbled into the beer labeling poopsicle when researching cider and distilled spirit concerns last week.

    Well, I see I've worn out my welcome. Didn't come here to spread or receive bad vibes but oh well. Thanks to those who provided me with good information and corrected me when I was factually wrong, particularly with regard to the 2015-1 regs. I think I've got a better handle on what I'm looking for after this thread attempt.

    Anchor uses Pellets! Oh for cripes sake thats not what the website says at all. Oh well. I'll see if they respond to my email seeking clarification about that among other things

    You guys enjoy your beers, I'll seek out ones that will bring me satisfaction as well.

    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  39. zid

    zid Savant (972) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    You haven't on either front.
    PapaGoose03 and SFACRKnight like this.
  40. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,018) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    It was not my intention to be rude, my apologies that it came off that way. My only suggestion is to do a bit of searching around then post here! My reccomendation of Trumer was a serious one, though. World class Pilsner via Austria, brewed right up in Berkeley, CA. I promise you’ll like it. You’re lucky to have such easy access to it (I love that beer so damn much that I’d be more than willing to do a trade for some).

    Anyway, best of luck in your search. Don’t be a stranger :beers: