Tastes like "chemicals".

Discussion in 'Australia & New Zealand' started by deathevocation, Jan 20, 2013.

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  1. deathevocation

    deathevocation Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2008 Australia

    I had the (mis)foturne of drinking some VB cans last night - whilst I can usually tolerate an adjunct lager here and there, this six pack really had that "chemical" taste. Sure enough, the slight headache this morning brought on by dehyrdration too. I have six German pilsners and I wake up like new. So, my queries for people who know more than me about the brewing process :

    a) What do brewers like CUB add to their lagers?
    b) When will our government make breweries add ingredients to their packaging?
    c) Does spring water v tap water make a big difference to the quality of the beer?

  2. scmorgan

    scmorgan Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2005 Australia

    Your assuming something was added. What happens if there was nothing added at all, and it was the way it was made?
  3. joecast

    joecast Meyvn (1,115) Jun 30, 2003 Australia

    I would say with water, they can do enough filtering and treating that where it comes from wouldn't make too much impact. scmorgan, would you agree? Feel free to answer with a question :wink:

    Another thing is with some of these mass market beer they would be stripped down so far to keep it being offensive that whats left may come across as a chemical taste to you. Might just be the combination of malt and yeast they use and the fermentation by products left in the beer.
  4. deathevocation

    deathevocation Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2008 Australia

    Don't know where to start with this so I'll leave it alone.
  5. deathevocation

    deathevocation Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2008 Australia

    Perhaps, probably won't know unless someone who has worked at CUB or is a master brewer chips in.

    What do you think about brewers having to list ingredients?
  6. joecast

    joecast Meyvn (1,115) Jun 30, 2003 Australia

    I think it'd be pretty interesting. Some US brewers do it to a certain extent (Rogue). Could go a long way to educating the public about what goes into the beer they drink. And maybe clear up some prejudices about adjuncts.
  7. foles

    foles Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2007 Australia

    CUB undoubtably has a state of the art brewing facilities that could produce great beer with someone else at the controls. But the goal is perfectly consistent beer. The beer is fermented under pressure at higher than lager temperatures, the mash is probably sparged within an inch of its life, grown to spec (cheap spec) barley malt is probably used, adjuncts are added, and some pretty ordinary hop extract products are probably used. All to help punch out a "cheap to produce beer" with little (but stable) flavour, headache imparting characteristics from the un-natural ferment, and very tight product consistency.
    deathevocation and dansmcd like this.
  8. scmorgan

    scmorgan Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2005 Australia

    The Aussie big brewers have an expertise in that they can move beer from plant to plant and and beer at some of the longest haul distances with it remaining somewhat consistent. A hard job given the complexities. Very few brewers can do it that well.

    But it does shit me with the constant myth of 'chemicals' added, with no idea what these maybe. The best preservatives and chemicals in beer are alcohol and CO2, naturally created in the process. Alcohol is as we know good for us to a certain point, then it is toxic. There are also 4 types of alcohol present in beer, the primary being ethanol, as well as higher alcohols, methanol etc. All are produced in varying amounts conditions dependant.

    Main additives used as a fastner or fixer, process or adjunct. Fasters aid in a process (silica gel to help floc yeast), fixer (PGA for head retention), process aid (CaCl2 to help with ph drop, trub formation, yeast floc) or adjunct (sugar, rice flakes, oats etc). So if these are the chemicals and the like used, how could they be used if there were so toxic?

    But it does not take much research to know;

    * majority if not all the majors products are high gravity brewed (15-20 plato)
    * once ferms are done, dioxinated water
    * ferms are at an average of around 16c and 3 days tank residence time
    * products are cellared, filtered bright and/or put through a centrifuge and then pasturised (tunnel or flash, pack type dependant)

    Key is the fermentation conditions, high gravity brewing and high temps encourage the development of fusel alcohols which are extremly toxic at low ppm's. Doesn't take Einstein to figure out what happens next.

    Fusel alcohols levels affect the taste, and we are all have varying thresholds. Some folks get solventy (think chemical), hot or spicy.

    Doesn't take a master brewer to come up with this sort of stuff, what is a Master Brewer anyway? Wiki and Google Books has quite a bit of technical stuff ....

    And I also fervently disagree with the crap about ingredient labelling. How do you label milk ingredients; Grass, Sunlight, Cow?
    goodbyesoberday and spicelab like this.
  9. deathevocation

    deathevocation Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2008 Australia

    Thanks for the laid back response. I don't think your milk line is a winner, but each to their own.
  10. danieelol

    danieelol Savant (955) Jun 15, 2010 Australia

    Well I can 100% relate to the OP as I always felt that macros had a very distinct "chemical" flavour, which is why I used to think I hated beer.

    I suspect it's one of a few things, or a combination:

    - I've felt macros have a metallic taste either from POR hopping or from the tanks they're stored in.

    - They use iso hop extract. I've since had some craft beers with iso hop extract (Murray's did one for their IPA dinner and I strongly suspect it's used in Mikkeller Ultramate). I can reconcile some of these flavours with macro beers.

    - Scotty made another good point, the chemical taste may also be a result of the high-gravity brewing process.

    I used to prefer Carlton Draught out of the macros because it had a milder taste (I've since realised this is because it tastes more like rice/corn than some of the other brands) and less of the chemical flavour of e.g. VB, which was very full on chemical-y (and that's why even many macro drinkers despise VB).

    Anyway at one point I found macros so sickly that I actually thought I had a malt (or other beer ingredient) allergy. Trust me, macros are garbage and you should trust your senses telling you not to put them into your body.

    I hope you enjoyed this speculative, conjecture-filled post which will no doubt draw some ire.
  11. scmorgan

    scmorgan Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2005 Australia

    They gave up on this hop years ago, both breweries contributed to the cultivation of new varieties such as Super Pride, Super Alpha and similar. POR is a great hop, myrcene is a bit high, but it is a Kent Goldings derivative and much maligned imho.
  12. MrKennedy

    MrKennedy Champion (893) Dec 29, 2006 Australia
    Beer Trader

    Both the websites for VB & Crown Lager state the use of the PoR hop in their marketing guff.
  13. scmorgan

    scmorgan Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2005 Australia

    Never raw ... always iso- for the moment ...
  14. goodbyesoberday

    goodbyesoberday Initiate (0) May 12, 2005 Australia

    Pride of Ringwood is much maligned.

    This is, of course, only my opinion:

    It has both edges of the sword cutting against it. Firstly, it is used by the big boys and has all the associated negative connotations.

    Secondly, it is a relatively old hop variety with very poor storability. So, it likely has a long & luxurious history of being used (& abused) by homebrewers and homebrew shop owners alike. This does little to improve its image.

    I will also quite comfortably state, with little to no fear of being wrong, that Pride of Ringwood is not the reason that most big-brewery beers in this country taste like shit.
    revdrjbob and scmorgan like this.
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