Is Schoenling Little Kings the same recipe as back in the 70's?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Hoppenstein, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. Hoppenstein

    Hoppenstein Initiate (105) Sep 11, 2017 Alabama

    We used to quaff a few Little Kings back in the 70's (I'm 60) and it seemed very strong and skunky. I likened the flavor to Schlitz Malt Liquor. We bought it because it was strong and the bottles were small enough to put in your pocket or down your boot. It didn't take many to get you where you wanted to be. I tried some about a year ago and it did not seem quite the same strong, skunky beer that I remembered. My question is, is it brewed the same way as back in the 70's or has the recipe been watered down?
     
  2. bbtkd

    bbtkd Meyvn (1,333) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Supporter Subscriber

    So, was skunky the characteristic you missed? :wink:
     
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  3. Hoppenstein

    Hoppenstein Initiate (105) Sep 11, 2017 Alabama

    LK's never were a great tasting beer, just a strong little beer that we tried back then. A couple could give you a buzz, we weren't beer snobs. I just don't think it is as strong as it was back then.
     
  4. Giantspace

    Giantspace Zealot (514) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I remember LK in large bottles , was it 48 oz? It was a cream ale I think.

    Enjoy
     
  5. Hoppenstein

    Hoppenstein Initiate (105) Sep 11, 2017 Alabama

    Little Kings came in a 7 oz bottle and a 12 OZ can. Hence Little Kings, and Slim King cans.
     
  6. Hoppenstein

    Hoppenstein Initiate (105) Sep 11, 2017 Alabama

    And yes it was a cream ale.....
     
  7. LuskusDelph

    LuskusDelph Aspirant (276) May 1, 2008 New Jersey

    I drank a lot of LITLE KINGS back in the day...and I don't ever remember it being "skunky", and I can't imagine the brewery intentionally aiming to make it "skunky"...probably the ones you were drinking were simply light struck. If so, it's an easy fix (if you actually like "skunky" beer that much):
    Just leave the bottles out exposed in the sun for a bit before sticking them in the fridge.
     
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  8. Hoppenstein

    Hoppenstein Initiate (105) Sep 11, 2017 Alabama

    We're WAY off topic here. I just asked if the recipe for Little Kings had changed over the years. Never said I liked or disliked "skunky" beer. Although I have read many reviews of LK's that refer to it as having a " skunky" taste. Some here on BA.
     
  9. ovaltine

    ovaltine Meyvn (1,442) Apr 6, 2010 Texas
    Supporter Beer Trader

    Before Mrs O was Mrs O, we used to skip our MBA classes on occasion and split a King Case.

    Don't tell her I told you - she has selective memory.

    #GoodTimes
     
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  10. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (5,082) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Supporter Beer Trader

    5.5 %abv is strong? Lol.
     
  11. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,260) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Subscriber

    The big bottle was a 64 oz'er.
    [​IMG]
    Also came in 40s (illus., as noted from the 40 oz. website) and, IIRC, earlier in quarts.
    The 16 oz. "slim" cans are a recent creation, not original from Schoenling or, after the mid-1980's merger, Hudepohl-Schoenling. IIRC, they came when owner-Christian Moerlein was contract-brewing LK at The Lion in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

    Little Kings' brewing site has bounced around a bit so it would not be unusual for the recipe to be "tweaked" as it moved from brewery to brewery. Pretty sure that when it was brewed at the old Fredericks brewery in MD (now owned by Flying Dog) owner Snyder Int'l even announced they were changing the recipe (maybe going to 2-row malt and/or back to top fermenting ale yeast?). Wouldn't be surprised that it was bottom-fermented at The Lion.

    CM brought the brand back to Cincinnati last year.

    As @Bitterbill notes above, it's always been around 5.5% ABV and, as @LuskusDelph wrote, any "skunkiness" was due to it being light-struck. (I recall a period when the cases of 3 X 8 packs were packed in an "open" flat, and covered it clear shrink-wrap. I avoided those for fear of light-struck beer.)

    Seems I've read recently that CM is using a Light Stable Hop Extract for LK, which would prevent "skunking".
     
    #11 jesskidden, Sep 12, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
  12. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,260) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Subscriber

    Opps - The slimline cans are, of course, the height of a 16 oz. can, but contain the standard 12 oz.

    Actually found it - not sure how reliable the DRAFT mag info is:
    In the Schoenling days, Little Kings was supposedly hopped with imported Hallertaus. I would have thought it was higher in IBU's than 20 - closer to 25-30 would have been my guess - but it was certainly hoppier than Genesee's Cream Ale (then pretty much the archetypal US cream ale, inauthentic as it was).
     
    #12 jesskidden, Sep 12, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
  13. rgordon

    rgordon Crusader (705) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Yes. Little Kings were "sharper" tasting than many (then) contemporary beers. We used to say it had a different bite. Many of us preferred LKs to Rolling Rock ponies for our endless forays into the nearby mountains- they were easy to hide, as the OP mentioned- and they really were tasty and easy to drink. I don't really recall any notable skunkiness.
     
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  14. zid

    zid Crusader (799) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Beer Trader

    It can be. It's all relative.
     
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  15. Squire123

    Squire123 Meyvn (1,468) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    If you try really hard.
     
  16. patto1ro

    patto1ro Defender (618) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands
    Subscriber

    Based on what I've seen in archived brewing records, I'd be amazed if the current recipe was the same as that from the 1970's.
     
  17. John1985

    John1985 Defender (658) Nov 5, 2001 Tennessee
    Subscriber

    I drank a fair amount of Little Kings in the 70's; generally in 7oz but occasionally found them in 12 oz bottles. Decent for underage and college drinking at the time. I believe corn was used as an adjunct. Despite the green bottles, I don't remember any skunkingness like with Molson Golden (back then). Haven't seen any in Tennessee for several years.
     
  18. djtothemoney

    djtothemoney Initiate (199) Nov 30, 2015 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    As a Cincinnatian I approve of this thread.

    My friends and I will pick up a case and toss them back on occasion.
     
  19. rangerred

    rangerred Poo-Bah (1,607) Dec 20, 2006 Tennessee
    Subscriber

    What part of Tennessee are you in? Little Kings is all over East TN.
     
  20. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (8,664) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    If I might interject on the strength aspect, one of the things about the 7 oz. bottles was that you would somehow drink them faster than you would 12 oz. bottles. Why that is/was, I don't know, I'm not a behavioral psychologist or student of the brain and human reactions, but it seemed to me that you'd drink 2 1/2 to 3 of them in the same time that you'd drink a 12 oz. before you'd start to slow down. Because of the size it didn't seem like you were drinking that much, and of course because there were plenty of them it didn't seem like you'd made a real dent in that cooler full of beer. But that little extra start of an extra 5.5 or more ounces right off the bat made a difference, which might have made some people think it was a bit stronger than it was. I of course just kept drinking; I could polish off 10 or 12 of those little bottles with ease, which was actually about 77 oz. - or 6.4 beers in an hour... and I doubt I'd have drank that much beer if it were in 12 oz. bottles, I'd probably only have had 4. Another aspect to consider is that being only 7 oz. they didn't warm up as easily, you were almost done by the time it started to warm at all.
     
    #20 NeroFiddled, Sep 12, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
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  21. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Crusader (747) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I doubt that and beer that was being brewed back than is brewed the exact same way now.
     
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  22. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (8,664) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I just thought about this as well: until fairly recently (give me some leeway here, I'm old and years seem to stretch out and then retract like a rubber band into "yesterday", so it's probably a decade or more), in PA where I'm at, Budweiser was just 4.8% which in comparison is a fair difference if you're talking about a fair amount of beer. Bud is now 5.0% but ounce to ounce in quantity 5.5% is still something.
     
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  23. marquis

    marquis Crusader (722) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    No product made from ingredients which,being natural,vary from season to season uses a fixed recipe.Add to this that most varieties of barley are only around for a few years before being phased out. Hop varieties are constantly evolving too.You probably couldn't find the same ingredients that were used back then.
    Many beers which have been around for a long time have been tweaked to correspond to changing public taste.
     
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  24. zid

    zid Crusader (799) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Beer Trader

    You dissapoint me @marquis , I thought you'd chime in on the 5.5% ABV=strong aspect rather than the ingredients. :wink:
     
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  25. marquis

    marquis Crusader (722) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    OK then. Over here 5.5%falls into the "strong ale" category because of drinking habits. We do not open tiny bottles and sip the contents but drink pint after pint (20 ounce pints of course) at a time.And believe me,the difference between a Session Ale and a Strong Ale is profound after an evening. Stella Artois used to be called the Wife Beater because drinkers treated it as a session beer.
     
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  26. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (5,082) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Supporter Beer Trader

    Lol. Of course in the UK, that abv would be considered strong. Not so much in the US of A.
     
  27. zid

    zid Crusader (799) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Beer Trader

    The US of A defines a "standard drink" of beer at 5% :wink:
     
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  28. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (5,082) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Supporter Beer Trader

    I knew that. .5 over ain't gonna make me change my tune and say LKs is a strong beer.
     
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  29. WesMantooth

    WesMantooth Poo-Bah (2,154) Jan 8, 2014 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Very true. I have always poured 2, if not 3 at a time because they are small, so often 2 glasses is 2 bombers worth
     
  30. John1985

    John1985 Defender (658) Nov 5, 2001 Tennessee
    Subscriber

    Nashville now, came from Bristol 30+ years ago! I'll take a look next time I'm in Knoxville. Thanks Rangerred!
     
  31. LuskusDelph

    LuskusDelph Aspirant (276) May 1, 2008 New Jersey

    LOL...my bad. It just seemed that you were waxing nostalgic about the 'skunky' character (which was more than likely a mistaken description),
     
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