Beer Brewing Blues and Myths

Beer: it's not just for big breweries anymore. Today there is a movement for home brewing: kits, books, videos and tons of advice, free and expensive. Brewing beer is the process of producing beer by steeping a starch source with water then finally fermenting through yeast. This all results in beer, usually. Beer brewing can occur in three ways, either by a home brewer, a brewer using a commercial facility or using traditional methods. Beer brewing has been in existence since the six millennium BC: proof is found in archeological evidence in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, and it has been part of the western economies since the nineteenth century. Having such a long history has bred both beer myths, and misconceptions. Here are a just a few things people think about brewing brew that just isn't so.

8 Active Myths | Suggest a Myth
MYTH: Stouts are heavy and caloric

It is also called "meal in glass myth" to posit stouts to be more calorie-rich and more filling than other beer styles. This tale is likely to be due to their roast flavor profiles. The actual reality is that most of them are not more filling than others, with Guinness as a perfect example at 4.2% AVB and 125 calories. Alcohol content determines how a brew is caloric.

MYTH: Lagers are cheaper at the store hence are cheaper to make

Some see 30 packs of Busch Light, Natural Light or Keystone retailing for a price equal to their favorite six-packs of craft beer. The cheap options give the perception that lagers are cheap while actually they are more costly than comparable ales. The key to 'cheapness' is the volume the lagers are made at. After all, Keystone is made by the factory-full, while the 'craft' beers are not.

MYTH: More hops means more bitterness

The bitterness of beer is determined largely by the content of alpha acid of hops used during the boiling process. The quantity of hops used as part of recipe does not determine how bitter the brew might be. Not even its IBU (International Bittering Unit) number can tell you that. Bitterness get mistaken for flavor instead of sensation. Additions of hops at each end of the boil ran result in strong hop flavor but also more bitterness if the hops get added earlier.

MYTH: Before Pasteur, all beer was sour

Before Louis Pasteur, beer would have been dependent on impure bacteria-ridden and wild yeast. Brewers of initial periods did not understand the use of temperature control and sanitation to improve the efficiency of brewer’s yeast. Not all the beer was sour, but yes, some batches could easily go 'off'.

MYTH: Eating brewer's yeast and yogurt will counteract intoxication

Sam Adams mentioned in an interview that his secret for not getting drunk is consuming active dry yeast mixed with yogurt, just before drinking. It breaks down alcohol in the stomach before absorption into the bloodstream. Actual tests have however shown no measurable effect on the mental component. A measurable option is taking plenty of water to stay ahead of dehydration. If you want to insure not getting drunk when at the bar with friends, the best way is still not to drink too much.

MYTH: Old IPA is undrinkable.

If one happens to find a year-old IPA somewhere in the fridge, it might not be at the peak of freshness but undrinkable? The hop and malt freshness might be missing, and it might be a little flat, but it won't kill you.

MYTH: Most pumpkin ales involve pumpkin in the brewing process.

The name could suggest this, but pumpkin beers do not contain real pumpkin. It is for this simple reason; pumpkin does not taste like much, and in beer really doesn't taste like much at all. Even breweries that use pumpkin use a very minimal quantity of it. Oh, and that pumpkin spice latte? Right, no pumpkin in pumpkin spice.

MYTH: Indian Pale has the name because of being prepared for British troops in India.

The the origin of the Indian white beer (IPA) is said to have originated from the Indians who made the bear for British troops who were in India. It was being made in the UK long before the idea passed to India, and it became associated with the country later, after being brought over by the British troops. That is when it acquired the name we know today.