PBR recipe question

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by DaaBeersss, Sep 6, 2013.

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  1. DaaBeersss

    DaaBeersss Initiate (0) Apr 22, 2009 Illinois

    Just wondering if anybody knows if the PBR I'm drinking right now is the original recipe when it was established in 1844?

    Thanks
     
  2. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,193) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    1844 is the year the Jacob Best Brewing Co. was founded (that's what that "B" is doing in the middle of their logo) - later the Philip Best Brewing Co.

    [​IMG]
    It wouldn't become Pabst until 1889 (Pabst was Phillip Best's son-in-law, and eventually took over the company).

    The brewery introduced a beer called "Select" in 1882, which came with a blue ribbon tied around the neck. The beer's name was changed to Pabst Blue Ribbon in 1898. The recipe has been changed numerous times since then (just like probably every other beer from that era).
     
  3. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,982) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    I wonder if the Jacob Best beers of 1844 were lagers? Do you know when the first ‘mass’ produced lagers were made?

    For those of you that aren’t JessKidden, the first lager made in America was in 1840 by John Wagner (according to MBAA):http://www.mbaa.com/districts/Philadelphia/about/history/Pages/HistoryFirstLager.aspx

    Cheers!
     
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  4. LAD

    LAD Initiate (0) Apr 16, 2008 Texas

    Can not answer that with the limited information you supplied. Check the bottle code. If it reads A6-1844 you are enjoying the original formula. If the code is not legible, weigh the bottle. If the bottle weighs one pound or more chances are you are enjoying the original formula. If, indeed, it is the original formula please let us know how it tastes.
     
  5. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,193) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Supposedly, Best brewed the first lager in Milwaukee in 1851, from bottom fermenting yeast from Bavaria that another local brewer's brother sent to him. That brewer (coincidentally also named "Wagner"), assuming the yeast was no longer viable gave it to Best and his German-trained brewmaster, Max Fueger. After that, Best brewed both top- and bottom-fermented beers on a alternating schedule. (from 100 Years of Brewing and Cochran's Pabst Brewing Co.)

    I guess one would have to define "mass production" for the US brewing industry in the mid-19th century. Even nearly half a decade later, the yearly barrelage of the largest US brewers - 4 out of 5 primarily lager brewers - in 1885 was in the 375k-250k range (respectively, Pabst, Schlitz, AB, Ehret and Ballantine).

    There's been a lot of controversy, inaccuracies and mythology around the "First" US lager beer over the years (I stay out of it 'cause I wasn't there :wink: ) - Geo. Ehret, quoting Reading, PA brewer Frederick Lauer, says Wagner brewed the first lager in 1842. As that MBAA link even says:
    Maureen Ogle, in her Ambitious Brew supposedly even fell for an incorrect story about a brewery in Alexandria, VA - see brewery historian Rich Wagner's Defending a Legend: The Truth About America's First Lager

     
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  6. leftmindedrighty

    leftmindedrighty Initiate (0) Jun 18, 2006 New Jersey

    I know within the past two or three owners (and maybe longer), they changed the recipe to include corn syrup (which it contains today). No longer making it an "all-malt" beer as I have read it was when it won the Blue Ribbon.

    But with how much ownership and myth surrounds a beer that I still enjoy today, the only people that truly know are either dead or wearing expensive suits. My fridge always has at least one tall can of PBR in it, and always will.
     
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  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,982) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Aaron, do you know for a fact that Best Select -> Pabst Select -> Pabst Blue Ribbon were all malt beers? It was very common for American lagers of that era to be adjunct beers (mostly 6-row barley but some corn/rice as well).

    Cheers!

    Jack
     
  8. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,193) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Pabst was bought by the S&P Corporation (General/Falstaff/Pearl) in 1985. It had long been a corn-adjunct brew by that time - in the 60s and 70s they noted they used corn grits-
    [​IMG]
    --- from a 1970's era Pabst promotional book​

    ...so (like many other US brewers) they did change to corn syrup, as noted on their current website.

    Best (Pabst) began experimenting with adjuncts by the 1870s- first using rice, then corn -sometimes both. In the late 19th century, Pabst was still brewing a number of different German- and American-style beers, some of the former (under 10% of their production) were still all-malt but many were using corn at a typical rate of one part corn meal to two parts barley malt. The beer that became "Blue Ribbon", Select, was no doubt one of the adjunct brewed ones.
     
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  9. muck1979

    muck1979 Initiate (56) Jul 3, 2005 Minnesota


    Any idea when the big brewers switched from corn grits to corn syrup? I toured the Leinenkugel's brewery in Chippewa Falls recently and the tour guide made a point of noting that they used corn grits for Original and some of their other beers, even passing around a little jar of grits along with the usual malts and hops.
     
  10. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,982) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    I took a tour of Spoetzl Brewery (Shiner) last year and they brew with corn grits.

    Cheers!
     
  11. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,193) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    "Sugars and syrups" - as the Brewers Almanac calls them - usage has been around in the US brewing industry since the late 1800s (as has liquid hop extract for that matter) - kinda hard to put a specific date of when, which, and to what extent "big brewers" converted to what the industry sometimes calls "liquid adjuncts" or "brew kettle adjuncts" - as one can see, there are many different such syrups (inc. some barley malt, wheat or rice based, as well).

    In the early years of the post-Repeal 30s, the BD's vague "sugar and syrups" pound per barrel figure was quite high at over 3 lbs. That dropped down to under 1 lb by the mid-60s (when corn was being used by the industry at a rate of 11 lbs/bbl), and has risen steadily since then to today's 5.8 lbs. vs. 3.5/3.7 lbs for corn and rice respectively. As The Practical Brewer (1973) put it:
    My impression (since it's not the sort of thing that brewers advertise - "NOW BREWED WITH EASY-TO-USE CORN SYRUP!") is that it was a gradual thing - some large brewers using corn syrup for it's cheapest beers or to easily boost ABV for it's malt liquors, etc. Though it costs more initially, the savings later down the line (speeds the brewing process, fermentation and filtering, allowing more brews per day- increasing capacity, compliments high gravity brewing, etc) were seen beneficial for many brewers.

    Miller Lite, when it first hit the market and shook up the US industry in the mid-70s, was brewed with corn syrup as the adjunct according to a FDA complaint from AB - and by the 1980-90s Miller had de-comissioned its cereal cookers in most of its breweries, according to some sources. (They had to renovate the Milwaukee brewery after the MillerCoors merge to brew Coors products, so one can surmise that included being able to use regular adjuncts again.)

    Schlitz downfall is often attributed to its increasing use of corn syrup (among other changes in brewing process). Pabst even tweaked their crosstown rival in the 70's by noting that the Pabst Blue Ribbon brewing recipe included "cooked cereal" (corn grits) as opposed to "some brewers short cuts (of) syrup not cereal".

    There's an internet story that Stroh/Heileman converted Blitz-Wienhard to corn syrup adjuncts when they owned that brewery in order to brew some of its beers there. Yuengling recently switched from grits to syrup as well, as noted in a recent article about new additions to its newer Mill Creek brewery outside Pottsville - "The liquid adjunct tank will be used for the storage of corn syrup."
     
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  12. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    One corn syrup storage tank being added at one of three breweries signals a switch from grits to syrup? I'd agree that it indicates the use of syrup at Mill Creek, but switching from grits to syrup at all three breweries on the basis of one tank at Mill Creek seems a bit of a leap. Do we have any other information that would indicate a "switch?"
     
  13. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,193) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    So, you're saying that the legendarily frugal Dick, Jr. paid big bucks for something his brewery's plant manager calls a "liquid adjunct tank" that is to be filled with "corn syrup" - for a use other than a beer ingredient?

    As I noted above:
    but I have read several secondary sources- on the internet :grimacing: no less, so making them even less reliable:wink: - about the use of various corn syrups in Tampa, as well.

    But, to be more clear I should have written (tho' it strikes me as redundant, so I crossed out the finally term):
     
  14. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    No, I'm not suggesting the Leopard has changed his spots, but one can put a saddle on a single horse without saddling the whole stable. Especially when you have a new horse in the stable...
     
  15. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,117) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    And, from what I've read, Pabst won a blue ribbon at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. PBR's history seems to rest on that accolade.
     
  16. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,982) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    You might be interested in this account as published on the internet (Wikipedia):

    The company has historically claimed its flagship beer was renamed Pabst Blue Ribbon following its win as "America’s Best" at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Even though it earned that name, it never actually won a blue ribbon.

    Whether the brand actually won an award in 1893 is unclear. Some contemporaneous accounts indicate that many vendors were frustrated by the fair's refusal to award such prizes. One account says that the only prizes awarded by the executive committee were bronze medals, in recognition of "some independent and essential excellence in the article displayed", rather than "merely to indicate the relative merits of competing exhibits".[3]

    “ This is the original Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer. Nature's choicest products provide its prized flavor. Only the finest of hops and grains are used. Selected as America's Best in 1893. ”

    —Quote from PBR label, referring to the award it received at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.[2]

    Cheers!
     
  17. TNGabe

    TNGabe Initiate (0) Feb 6, 2012 Tennessee

    Sure, assuming it's an 1840's vintage.
     
  18. misterid

    misterid Initiate (0) Apr 3, 2009 Wisconsin

    jesskidden just makes this shit up off the top of his head and everyone buys it because it sounds good, right? :wink:
     
  19. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,117) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I read in The Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen that PBR was one of the products spawned and boosted by the '93 World's Fair. Anyway, the book's a hell of a read for anyone interested. Just your basic serial killer mystery! Cheers.
     
  20. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,828) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
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    AB had a corn processing plant in Lafayette IN, which was there in 1970. I have a vague memory of a friend who's dad worked there saying it made corm syrup for the Busch line of beers. That plant is still there, but it has been sold a couple of times. Current owner is Tate and Lyles.
     
  21. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,193) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Yeah, AB had gotten into corn syrup even before they brewed a beer with a corn adjunct*:

    [​IMG]

    At the time they also, of course, sold barley malt syrup to the baking and confectionery industry in 55, 30 and 5 gallon drums, and like many brewers also offered "small containers of malt syrup...for household use [:wink:] ...both plain and hop flavored..."​
     
  22. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,828) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
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    Quote from JK.

    * "This company has never used any corn or glucose or preservatives or coloring matter. Corn does not make a high grade of beer, because of certain oily substances which it contains. They are partly transformed into fusel oil after fermentation." --- Aldophus Busch, at Pure Food Hearings, 1902"

    When Homebrewing a CAP, one needs to find degermed corn. The oils will also be head killers.


    Edit - I wonder when degermed corn/maize became common?
     
  23. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,982) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    “I wonder when degermed corn/maize became common?”

    Some separate but related questions:

    · Did Pabst, Schlitz, etc. use degermed corn grits when they made their lagers in the late 1800s?

    · Do the brewers of today who use corn grits (e.g., Spoetzl, Leinenkugel, etc.) use degermed corn grits?

    Cheers!
     
  24. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,828) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
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    It seems degermed grits could be readily found. A tour of Spoetzl might now be on my radar for a future Trip in TX.
    http://www.namamillers.org/education/corn-milling-process/
     
  25. lionking

    lionking Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Is the corn syrup used only in premium or all of their beers? I toured the Tampa brewery this year and it was undergoing construction as well. I suppose this is to expand their production capabilities which are nearly their capacity.
     
  26. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,193) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    I guess you'd have to ask Yuengling, since they obviously aren't being very open about it (their website's "Brewing Process" still mentions only grits, for one example). Seems like a lot of syrup for what has become a very marginal and "local" product for Yuengling - their "Traditional Lager" flagship is something like 3/4 of the barrelage.

    Do they even brew the "Premium" in Florida (they use the "TTB loophole" and don't even mention Tampa on their labels, IIRC)? Not sure what the product line division is in their two PA breweries.
     
  27. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Wondering where the 16 oz PBR I'm drinking is made (I live in Northern Nevada)
     
  28. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,193) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Pabst bottle/can codes uses MC's system (in box, below ABs). The second and third digits of the second line correspond to these breweries (first letter is day of week A-G):

    [​IMG]
    I'd guess Nevada Pabst could be coming from Irwindale, CA, Ft. Worth or maybe even Golden, CO. The latest TTB COLA's for PBR are good for all the MillerCoors breweries (even a few not listed above, like Leinenkugel and, I guess, Blue Moon in Denver? Whatever BR-CO-SAL-1 is*).

    *EDIT - Yeah, Blue Moon / "SAL" = Sandlot.​
     
    #28 jesskidden, Sep 16, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016
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  29. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    6 0721B7R1
    Only unique (batch) # :confused:
     
  30. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,193) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Unless they no longer do? It's worked for every Pabst product brewed by MC that I've ever checked. First line is the pull date, second line the rest of the code.

    MC's code is explained in the pdf (pg 9) at
    http://www.millercoors.com/sites/millercoors/files/MillerCoors-Nutrition-Codes-Binder 090916.pdf
    Looks like they also have an updated list of breweries there, too.
     
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