What's really in our beer?

51 posts in this topic

Posted

Right then,

 

As you know on TT I have sworn off beer till my mind is stable enough. I was suffering huge grief following the death of my Mum and was using the stuff to deal with it. I love a pint like anyone yet until I am sorted out I shall not touch a drop.

 

Here is an open idea. Anyone remember "Real ale" i.e., bitter beer from the 70s? That was an arse to look after for a publican so they switched to sterile lager which was delivered in a tin basically like a can of beans. Bitter was a "living" product which went off after a while of not looked after well enough. Is it possible that lager was pasteurised like milk is now to keep it longer on the shelf, but making it poor quality to drink?

 

I had the pleasure of some TTers who came down last autumn to give away my hops for them to brew their own beer. They were telling me the "Reinheitsgebot" here is nonsense and that there are chemicals sprayed on the crops before the crops to make beer are harvested.

 

Having recently purchased and read "The art of fermentation" by Sandor Katz of this website http://www.wildfermentation.com/ I am wondering aloud if our desire for fermented products is a culturally historic one. When you buy milk nowadays it is all pasteurised. It seems we need "live" cultures in our stomachs including bacteria which kill off nasty bugs. Why are there so many "Norovirus" bugs spreading like wildfire these days when I don't remember them as a child. is it possible that our stomachs don't any more have the right flora to deal with pathogens anymore?

 

This is just a theory of mine I'm throwing out there. Given that breweries are being consolidated (I understand that Oktoberfest is now run by only six breweries) what are they puttign into their beer nowadays? Is it operhaps the ingredients which are causing so many health problems?

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Posted

A full explanation would require a master brewer, but going from personal experience and gut instinct I think there is a definate difference in the health effects and day-after feel of 10 cans of convenience-store Old Milwaukee, and the same amount of fresh quality brew. The latter has a fair amount of nutrition, especially B-vitamins from the yeast, but these decay fairly quickly as it ages. I maintain that I sleep better and the B-vitamins (important in the brain) seem to make me dream more. But fact checking just now against wikipedia suggests that the alcohol makes them hard to absorb.

 

More "research" is needed, I say.

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Posted

Boblob: One thing I noticed after quittign all alcohol was that my joints went stiffer. Wouldn't call it arthritis but definitely less flexible than they used to be.

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Posted

The Reinheitsgebot might as well not exist here. I seen a German tv show last year showing what is actually in German beer and how the breweries use chemicals to do things such as clarify the beer, stabilize it and even regulating the size of the bubbles. Anyway as long as the chemicals are filtered out after they do their job and can't be found in the end product the Reinheitsgebot has not been broken. Also what was very noticeable was that a lot of the beers never actually see "real" malts but malt extract is used instead so they don't do full grain brewing like a lot of the micro and/or real ale breweries. I've tried to find the documentary online but of course can't find it. Oh and a lot of the breweries here are now owned by one or two large companies, one of which is Dr Oetker, yes, he of the baking and pizza fame.

 

As for your original question I would drink (more like nurse!) 1 or 2 real ales back in the UK but here I'm more likely to drink 3 or 4 beers in an evening when I'm drinking. I tend to drink more here as the beer doesn't really taste of that much and is very easy to drink it, especially when cold. Obviously with real ale it isn't that cold plus it tends to have a fuller taste that is nice to sip rather than down it quickly.

 

A friend has recently started to brew his own beer using full grain recipes and having tried the first batch it was very much like what I'm use to at home and with none of the hangover problems some big brewery beers give me.

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Posted

 

More "research" is needed, I say.

 

Don't drink too much beer or people will start saying "Bobloblaw's a slobbering blob."

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Posted

 

A full explanation would require a master brewer, but going from personal experience and gut instinct I think there is a definate difference in the health effects and day-after feel of 10 cans of convenience-store Old Milwaukee, and the same amount of fresh quality brew.

 

I'd say then, that this kind of beer, almost like decent quality meat, is almost impossible to find in main street Germany.

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Posted

/whats in your beer?... If you drank with me in my own private club you wouldn'nt even want to ask after you went for a pee. Just pour it away and order a new one. make sure they wash the glass too!!! Dave.

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Posted

 

One thing I noticed after quittign all alcohol was that my joints went stiffer. definitely less flexible than they used to be.

 

You mean you don't stumble around anymore?

 

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Posted

Hi Jeremy, perhaps this might answer some of your concerns. I found it to be informative.

 

 

 

If you are more interested in a öko-bier when you find it to be time to drink alcohol again, I can recommend Lammsbräu from Neumarkt i.d. Oberpfalz. Quite good, actually.

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Posted

 

I understand that Oktoberfest is now run by only six breweries

 

No, only four: Hofbräu, Augustiner, Spaten-Franziskaner/Löwenbräu, and Paulaner/Hacker-Pschorr.

 

 

the"Reinheitsgebot" has nothing to do with growing crops

 

That's exactly the point. The Germans go on about how "pure" their beer is but the fact is that you can add whatever chemical shit you want to the raw ingredients. The Reinheitsgebot has nothing to say about organic beer and many German brewers are opposed to it because it challenges the (utterly false) perception of German beer being "pure".

 

 

I've tried to find the documentary online but of course can't find it.

 

 

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Posted

 

The Germans go on about how "pure" their beer is but the fact is that you can add whatever chemical shit you want to the raw ingredients.

 

Aye, our hosts do love 'emselves don't they?

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Posted

Reinheitsgebot is indeed crap. As long as you only use the ingredients allowed , you can use an crap you like, filter it and write on the label that it is according to the Reinheitsgebot.

So you can have something like Oettinger which tastes like Chemical waste but at least it is according to Reinheitsgebot :D

 

Vegans who drink beer would be delighted to find out that one of the substances used in many beers (Isinglass) comes from dried fish bladders, but since it is filtered at the end they are not obliged to write it on the ingredient list!

 

There are quality german brews but you have to search for them. The problem is that most germans consider anything above 1 euro per pint expensive for beer so the market for dedicated beer shops is limited.

 

I would recommend : www.bierzwerg.de who has many small craft breweries from Germany, great belgian beers and many from the UK as well at great prices. If you are more into craft beers there are many eshops where you can order great beers. I am not a homebrewer but I have been drinking craft beer for the past 10 years. I have a strong preference for belgian lambics and geuze, sour/wild fermented ales, imperial stouts and barley wines. They tend to be expensive but you get what you pay for.

 

As for the UK scene, the Real Ale/Cask Ale scene is better than ever. I always enjoy the great variety in the pubs when I visit friends in the UK. If you are ever in London I would highly recommend Craft Beer Co. they have at least 20 different cask ales , plus many more on kegs and bottles.

 

Cheers,

 

Alex

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Posted

 

Vegans who drink beer would be delighted to find out that one of the substances used in many beers (Isinglass) comes from dried fish bladders, but since it is filtered at the end they are not obliged to write it on the ingredient list!

 

That's the deception; British breweries state that their beer is not suitable for vegans or vegetarians because isinglass was used to filter the beer, but when German brewers use the chemical PVPP to do the same thing they claim that it's within the Reinheitsgebot because the chemical is [mostly] filtered out. They twist the Reinheitsgebot to suit their modern processes. I don't think that the original authors of the law would have considered using liquid malt extract to turn a Helles into a Dunkles to come under the term "purity", but today breweries do it without shame (not all, I should add).

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Posted

 

I am not a homebrewer but I have been drinking craft beer for the past 10 years. I have a strong preference for belgian lambics and geuze, sour/wild fermented ales, imperial stouts and barley wines. They tend to be expensive but you get what you pay for.

 

 

Now thats interesting. I'm presently interested in Wild fermentation like sauerkraut, sourdough. I think its time has come.

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Posted

 

 

 

Aye, our hosts do love 'emselves don't they?

 

Mea culpa ...

 

I still think there are a lot of good beers in Germany, just not the industry stuff. When I'm talking about good beer, the McBeers don't come to mind -- Oettinger, Becks, et al. If for whatever reason you might visit Karlsruhe, try e.g. Vogelbräu, Wolfsbräu, Lindenbräu (there are more). That's what I'd call a good beer.

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Posted

Of course; when you have 1,600 breweries there are always going to be a few good ones, even if it's just an accident.

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Posted

 

Now thats interesting. I'm presently interested in Wild fermentation like sauerkraut, sourdough. I think its time has come.

 

Order this book : http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/0937381861/

 

And a : 3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze from www.bierzwerg.de or www.bierkompass.de

 

and enjoy :)

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Posted

Regarding stiff joints after quitting beer: It seems plausible to me that you've reduced inflammation in your body, and the stiffness is a kind of hangover from that. Maybe a rough analog would be to quitting smoking and after several weeks or months the cilia in your lungs start to function again and bring up years worth of pflegm.

 

For the stiffness I think stretching, light excercise, drinking plenty of water, perhaps joint supplements and/or fatty fish, and of course time should improve things.

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Posted

 

The Reinheitsgebot might as well not exist here. I seen a German tv show last year showing what is actually in German beer and how the breweries use chemicals to do things such as clarify the beer, stabilize it and even regulating the size of the bubbles.

I've tried to find the documentary online but of course can't find it.

 

I was going to point you to the ZDF programme, but SmallTownBoy has beaten me to it. (-:

 

It's summarised in English here: http://refreshingbeer.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/is-this-programme-that-will-be-wake-up.html

 

 

The problem is that most germans consider anything above 1 euro per pint expensive for beer so the market for dedicated beer shops is limited. I would recommend: www.bierzwerg.de who has many small craft breweries from Germany, great belgian beers and many from the UK as well at great prices.

 

As you're in Hamburg, Alex, have you found Bierland yet? It's a Tardis-like shop with lots of unusual German beers and a few good foreign ones too: Seumestr. 10

Hamburg 22089, http://www.bierland-hamburg.de/

 

cheers,

Bryan

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