Is Pabst and Hamm's the same beer?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by BeerDrinkinGuy, Jan 1, 2019.

  1. BeerDrinkinGuy

    BeerDrinkinGuy Initiate (48) Nov 2, 2018 Minnesota

    So the every couple month controversial topic came up once again on a Hamm's facebook beer group claiming that Pabst and Hamm's are the same exact beer. People that do or used to work at Miller in the group claim that they literally change cans and fill them up with whatever the Hamm's/PBR concoction is.

    I do know a little about something and I can tell you they are two different beers. I even did a side by side test once. The abv is 4.6 for Hamm's and 4.74 for Pabst. The Ibu ratings were not available for Hamm's but Pabst came in at 10.

    I will say they do have the same color and the aroma is slightly similar but both beers differ in flavor. Hamm's has the classic corn/grain American beer flavor while Pabst tends to lean towards the German pilsner bitterness side of a lager.

    So here's the question, Is Hamm's and Pabst different recipes or does Miller Brewing secretly make one beer and put them in two different packages for an easy buck? Anyone anyone Bueller ?
     
    nicholas2121 likes this.
  2. Giantspace

    Giantspace Crusader (713) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Not the same.

    I was a pbr drinker but moved toHamms after reading an article here on BA

    Hamms is better, less bitter, nicer carbonation/smoother, Pabst does have a minor hop smell.

    Enjoy
     
  3. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,098) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Have you ever conducted a blind triangle taste test?

    In a recent New Beer Sunday thread I discussed:

    “With the help of my lovely wife I will first conduct a triangle taste test using small opaque cups (opaque in case my guess of similar appearance is wrong) to see whether I can determine one beer from the other in a blind tasting. As a reminder the purpose of the triangle taste test is to pour the same beer into two cups and the other beer in the third cup and see if the taste tester can determine the ‘odd man’ out. In the below photograph two of the cups were marked with A on the bottom and one with B on the bottom.

    [​IMG]

    https://www.beeradvocate.com/community/threads/new-beer-sunday-week-722.600217/#post-6318816

    Cheers!
     
  4. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,084) Sep 24, 2007 Northern Mariana Islands
    Trader

    I've long suspected that it's not peeber and Gamma, but all of the Pabst brands. Ranier, Oly, et al.
     
  5. miwestcoaster

    miwestcoaster Savant (955) Jan 19, 2013 Michigan

    My opinion- not the same beer.
    Pabst- sweeter and less hop flavor. More corn syrup taste.
    Hamm’s- far less sweet syrup flavor. It looks better in a glass with a pillowy head of foam. I prefer Hamm’s by a wide margin.
     
    nicholas2121 and gatornation like this.
  6. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,464) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Trader

    I would love to do a blind tasting. I’m sure they are different though. I have no bias towards either beer but have never liked PBR in maybe 4-5 different tastings and always like Hamm’s quite a bit.
     
    nicholas2121 likes this.
  7. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,865) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Trader

    I’m quite sure I couldn’t tell them a part, the local Wally carried cases of Hamms for $13/case. Haven’t seen it in forever. I’m not so jaded that I’d say they’re all the same, but it’s essentially so. Of course there’s the odd one that’s purly lousy, but I think you could throw most of them into the same boat. I might guess a regional preference,or a bit of a nostalgic twist. I thought Rainer was really ok on my visit to WA, I thought Lone Star and Pearl were ok as well back in the day. My palates not very sensitive I think, I like Budweiser as much as any other, Gansett is pretty good too. Of all the major aal’s I’d say Miller High Life comes off as a bit sweet. I’d love to do an aal testing it would certainly be interesting.
     
    tmalt and TrojanRB like this.
  8. mambossa

    mambossa Disciple (380) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio
    Society

    Hamm’s is a little sweeter IMO. PBR a little bit “hoppier” and a little more dry. That’s just me.
     
    nicholas2121 likes this.
  9. Bear1964

    Bear1964 Zealot (502) Dec 12, 2012 Nebraska

    I prefer Hamm’s for the smooth sweetness, PBR is alright but lacks any real flavor compared to Hamm’s. Strictly speaking I’m talking about ice cold Tallboys while grilling...and they are 2 different brews for sure.
     
    nicholas2121 likes this.
  10. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,311) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Then it's settled. :wink:
     
  11. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,311) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Do it... and do it blind. Yes, it is interesting. If I remember, you're a Bud drinker, so be sure to include that one.
     
  12. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,247) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    They're much the same in the way that hamburger chains are, yet some differences.

    PBR is weightier in the body and the hops are on the spicy side.

    Hamms has a little less body, the hops lean toward floral, and it's better balanced.

    I can take either and the primary difference is price. Around here a 6x16 of PBR is $4.99, the same in Hamms is $3.99, and there isn't a dollars worth of difference between them.
     
  13. pro100

    pro100 Disciple (302) Oct 12, 2014 California
    Society

    Does it even matter?
     
  14. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (280) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    If you have not done so already I would think that it would be easy to find out if you drink both beers side by side at normal room temperature. With such a mild style of beer the cold is bound to cover up/smooth out some of the distinguishing features of the beers. In this style I would expect the distinguishing features to come down to fermentation profile, balance of sweetness to dryness and the potential presence of hop flavor, all of which are aspects which I think are affected by cold.
     
  15. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,247) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    They both taste better in repeated doses.
     
  16. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,596) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Trader

    I heard they both use the same five ingredients.
     
    Shanex, crobinso, Coronaeus and 12 others like this.
  17. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (280) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    I thus agree with this viewpoint:

    "Very often laboratories connected with the brewing industry are
    called upon not only to make a chemical and biological exami-
    nation of a sample of beer, but also to render an opinion upon
    its taste and flavor. This apparently simple matter demands
    the close observance of certain points, which have been clearly stated by
    R. Foerster (see the preceding article). The chief fact to be noted is that
    beer is often too cold to be properly tasted with regard to its quality.
    The preference of the consumer for cold beer is well known, and must
    be respected, although it is an open question whether he gets the benefit
    of the fine flavor and aroma. Still it can scarcely be doubted that too low
    a temperature makes it impracticable to give a reliable judgment on the
    comparative merits of different beers, which is really the important point
    from the brewer's standpoint. When dark beer is drunk too cold the
    strong malt aroma is not preserved, and according to Sautmann, cold
    pale beers taste more or less alike when the temperature is below a cer-
    tain limit. According to Foerster, the best temperature for the exercise
    of a discriminating taste is between 10° to 20 C. In accordance with this
    principle, the beer to be tested should by all means be allowed to stand
    several hours at room temperature until it has warmed up to 15 to
    20° C."
     
    DogbiteWilliams and JackHorzempa like this.
  18. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,824) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society

    So ---- no?

    A former Miller - Ft. Worth employee who used to post on BA (LAD) once stated that
    So, it wouldn't be out of bounds to think that MillerCoors uses the same basic recipe or base beer for both their own and Pabst's economy brands.

    Older versions of Pabst's websites for PBR noted that it was "... aged at high gravity..." so like most beers coming out of macro (and some "craft") breweries, they are brewed and fermented at high gravity with deaerated, carbonated water added to bring it down to shelf strength.

    Many of the Pabst's brands are suspiciously close to the same ABV of 4.6% give or take a few hundredths (PBR's 4.74 a notable exception) - easily accomplished by a slight variation in the quantity of water added, and given the probable use of post-fermentation hop extract, it wouldn't be hard to change beers' taste simply by that means, using the same base beer or blending two different recipes, etc.

    From the early 1980s to 1999, Hamm's was a Pabst brand, sold by them to Miller at the same time the two brewers divided up the vast Stroh/Heileman portfolio when Stroh went out of business. Of course, there have been some vague suggestions from MillerCoors that they've since "tweaked" the Hamm's recipe to appeal to modern craft/hipster crowd.
     
    #18 jesskidden, Jan 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
  19. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,042) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    This was my initial thought as well.

    Wouldn't it be illegal to fudge the ABV on either beer?

    If so, then they're definitely not the same EXACT beer.
     
  20. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,824) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society

    Well, the legal tolerance in the US is:
    ...but given how many of Pabst's other brands* come in exactly at 4.6% or slightly more or less, why would they bother? Unlikely that 0.14% would sell more beer, especially since it doesn't appear like their labels list ABV.

    * Old Milwaukee (4.6%)
    Rainier (4.6%)
    Olympia (4.6%)
    Old Style (4.64%)
    Piels (4.65%) [obsolete]
    Lone Star (4.65%)
    National Bohemian (4.52%)
     
  21. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,042) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Ha, 4.74 is exactly 0.14, or + 0.3% more than 4.6.

    Interesting.
     
  22. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,824) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society

  23. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,311) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    What kind of recipe tweak would appeal to hipsters and craft drinkers? I guess it must be repackaged PBR after all. :wink: (and it seems like it's working)
     
    JimboBrews54 likes this.
  24. JimboBrews54

    JimboBrews54 Champion (859) Apr 22, 2018 Michigan
    Trader


    These two are very different, Hamm's is sweeter while Pabst reminds me of bud light gone skunked.
     
  25. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (959) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Hamm's was at Harris-Teeter Friendly Ave. last week at $11.99 a case. To my senses PBR and Hamm's are not the same beer.
     
  26. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,098) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Maybe @miwestcoaster and @mambossa will be willing to conduct some blind taste testing (including a blind triangle taste test) and report back to us?

    Conducting this taste test on non-cold beers as per Patrik's (@Crusader) post would be helpful.

    Cheers!

    Edit: Another important consideration is that the two beers should be approximately of the same age. They do not need to be brewed on the exact same day but drinking one beer that is 1 month old vs. the second beer being 4 months old may result in a differing flavor profile due to staling aspects.

    @FBarber
     
    #26 JackHorzempa, Jan 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
  27. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,824) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society

    "Mo' Hops" ?

    In the case of Hamm's, that'd probably only mean enough hop extract to reach the level at which humans can detect it?
     
    Spikester, Bitterbill, John_M and 6 others like this.
  28. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,825) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Society Trader

    Ok, that quote is interesting because I've enjoyed Stag when I had it, but hate Old Milwaukee. Im going to have to secure some of each and blind taste it to see if there is any actual basis to that distinction in my mind.
     
  29. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,098) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Woo-Hoo! We have one volunteer to conduct a blind taste test.

    I look forward to reading your findings.

    Cheers!
     
    Bitterbill and FBarber like this.
  30. miwestcoaster

    miwestcoaster Savant (955) Jan 19, 2013 Michigan

    I will do a blind test as well, maybe adding Old Milwaukee to the mix. I will attempt to ID the brewery location. The last time I checked the Hamm’s cans, it came from Trenton, NJ. The code on the bottom of the can gives the brewery. If you know what the code means, and I have to find that info again.
     
    JackHorzempa and FBarber like this.
  31. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,824) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society

    That's Trenton, OHIO. :wink:
    In 2010, they claimed the brewery produced beer under 67(!) different labels, with Pabst's brands accounted for about 15% of the total barrelage. With the closure of Eden, NC might be even more these days (altho' the Coors built "Shenandoah" brewery in Virginia supposedly picked up a lot of that production, too.)

    2nd and 3rd digits of the second line of the MC code.
    [​IMG]
     
    #31 jesskidden, Jan 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
  32. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,464) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Trader

    My best guess is different people respond to different labels and marketing so they can capture a wider audience. Recipes are probably slightly tweaked as well.
     
    meefmoff likes this.
  33. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,824) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society

    My comment of "...why would they bother?" was in response to AlcahueteJ's suggestion that they may have "fudged" the ABV claim of Pabst Blue Ribbon, not why they bother to market their 3 dozen or so current labels :grin: (supposedly they own the rights to around 75 IIRC).

    The few webpages that Pabst has for their many brands that are active* and that do list specific ingredients sometimes have different hop schedules, while many are very vague, such as
    "Schaefer accentuates its total complexity with six varieties of hops..." or "Pabst Blue Ribbon ...a unique combination of Pacific domestic hops blended with an imported Yugoslavian variety..."

    * A number of them currently have this image after you agree you're 21:
    [​IMG]
     
    #33 jesskidden, Jan 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
  34. pat61

    pat61 Poo-Bah (5,579) Dec 29, 2010 Minnesota
    Society

    Neither beer is one I would normally buy unless I needed something to cook brats in or steam a chicken with.
     
  35. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (4,236) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    I suppose they don't realize that describing something as "an imported Yugoslavian variety," is a functionally valueless statement, as:
    -Yugoslavia has not existed since 1992, and even then only existed for ~74 years.
    -There is no distinctly "Yugoslavian" culture or history - unlike the various nations which comprised it, such as Serbia, which has a political history dating back to at least the 13th century, or the different ethnic peoples (Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, et al) whose cultural histories in the region can be traced back to the first millennium AD.

    Calling something "Yugoslavian" to try to make it sound fancy (ooh, imported hops!) is like saying, "We used only the finest British Raj oils!" to describe your imports from modern-day Pakistan. :rolling_eyes:
     
    meefmoff, AlcahueteJ and Bitterbill like this.
  36. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,098) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    They are likely referring to hops grown in Slovenia (formerly of Yugoslavia). My guess would be Styrian Golding hops.

    There was an interesting article on the topic of hops from Slovenia in BA:

    https://www.beeradvocate.com/articl...ng-nobility-hops-from-the-styrian-hinterland/

    Cheers!
     
  37. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (4,236) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    Pretty fair guess, but it's a really dumb term to use. It's like they wrote it down in the recipe book in the '70s, and then just blindly typed it into the website decades later. :wink:
     
    Bitterbill likes this.
  38. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,824) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society

    Well, whadaya expect? The Pabst Brewing Co. only lasted about a decade longer, closing their last breweries (Allentown, PA and San Antonio, TX) in 2001. Maybe they had a lot of Yugo hop extract in storage and, given their ever decreasing barrelage, haven't run out yet?

    (Ha, didn't even notice that - that'll happen with copy/paste - why read it, too?

    And here I used to make fun of a once [80s-90s] great beer bar in New Jersey, The Old Bay [now-defunct], which as late as 2008 still had this description in their beer menu:

    "Pilsner Urquell - $3.25/$4.50
    The original Pilsner style beer brewed in Czechoslovakia since 1842, golden colored, with the rich bouquet of Zatec hops which gave the bitterness needed to balance the soft malt body. Czechoslovakia's is like the dark horse of the brewing industry. I mean, the first pilsner ever! Who would have thought? Tell you what, I don't know about you, but I'm going to be keeping an eye on the Czechoslovakians. It's like one day you're like, "What's Czechoslovakia?" and the next day you're saying, "Damn, those Czechoslovakians! They're so wise."
     
    #38 jesskidden, Jan 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
    LuskusDelph, BJC, surfcaster and 3 others like this.
  39. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (4,236) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    LMAO that's freaking hilarious! More like: "It's like one day you're like, "I'm keeping an eye on those wise Czechoslovakians," and the next day you're saying, "What Czechoslovakia?"" :rofl:
     
    Bitterbill likes this.
  40. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,098) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Yup.

    Geography used to be so easy back in the 'old days'. Maybe all this change is a conspiracy started by the globe and map manufacturers!?!:wink:

    Cheers!