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lancastermike

Rolling Rock

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On another site there was some discussion about this. Does Rolling Rock taste the same now as it always did? There were some who said it did not but many of those folks were talking from nostalgia not real taste. We all bemoan the closure of the Latrobe brewery, but does the beer taste any different?

A/B is well known for adjunct brewing. Was Rolling Rock from Latrobe adjunct brewed? Is it adjunct brewed by A/B. I will say I tasted no real difference. RR was never any great beer, but was always popular in my area.

Any thoughts by those more learned than I am.?

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. We all bemoan the closure of the Latrobe brewery

A/B is well known for adjunct brewing.  Was Rolling Rock from Latrobe adjunct brewed?  Is it adjunct brewed by A/B.

Well, technically the Latrobe Brewery didn't close- it's parent company, InBev, simply sold the brand names ("Rolling Rock" and "Latrobe Brewing Company") to Anheuser-Busch and the physical brewing plant to City Brewing of Lacrosse WI (in the top 10, but mostly a mid-Western brewer with a LOT of production involved in non-beer beverages and contract brews).

Rolling Rock, like just about every US beer before the craft brewing boom, was always an adjunct-beer and, for a time at least, listed both "rice" and "corn" on the label. I'm sure A-B can do a very good job duplicating the flavor of Rolling Rock but there are many "political" reasons to avoid the beer (I've been boycotting A-B, Miller and Coors for 3 decades or so now and I ain't thirsty). I sure hope pallets of A-B/RR sit in the beer distributorships of Western PA wasting away, going stale and skunky.

City brews some "clone" beers from it's previous incarnation as the lead brewery of Heileman- City and Lacrosse, which are supposedly basically Old Style and Special Export. Too bad City can't bring out a "Latrobe Extra Pale Lager" or a "33 Extra Pale Lager" (yeah, I know, already a French/Vietnamese beer by that name...) but A-B has a lot of lawyers and they aren't afraid to use 'em...


Edited by jesskidden (log)

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Amongst the home brewing and beer judging community, Rolling Rock has long been used to exemplify the brewing flaw known as DMS, or DiMethyl Sulfide. This is a strong aroma of corn or stewed vegetables that is an off flavor for American lagers.

I, for one, could care less what happens to the brew under the auspices of A-B as I never cared for it to begin with.

At best, it is a marketers triumph by creating a nostalgia effect for those cute little pony bottles that were so appealing to the teenage palate.

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Hi,

It may be a dumb question, but what is the meaning of adjunct beer?

Tim

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It may be a dumb question, but what is the meaning of adjunct beer?

A beer made with adjuncts! <g>

Basically, an "adjunct" in brewing is a grain other than barley that's used to supply part of the fermentable sugars during brewing. In the US, these are usually corn (in various forms- syrup, flakes, grits, etc) and/or rice. They are used to "lighten" the beer, but, historically were first used because of difficulty with brewing all-malt beers with US native "6 row" barley.

Today, their use is considered "cheapening" the process but, at times, brewer's rice cost MORE than barley (and corn, with all it's uses, is getting expensive, too). Most US "light lagers" from the pre-craft beer era are brewed with adjuncts, usually making up 20-40% of the grains. Brewers that use rice (think Budweiser)often stress it's superiority(in their view) over corn. Some brewers adjust the recipe based on current prices and might only say "selected grains" on the label (soybeans have been used at times, as well, as has sorghum).

Technically speaking, oats and wheat are also "adjuncts" but, given the negative connotation that comes with "adjunct beer", beers that use them aren't seen as "lesser" beers and aren't lumped into that grouping.


Edited by jesskidden (log)

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I'm actually quite fond of Rolling Rock and haven't detected a difference in taste since AB began bottling it.

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Amongst the home brewing and beer judging community, Rolling Rock has long been used to exemplify the brewing flaw known as DMS, or DiMethyl Sulfide.  This is a strong aroma of corn or stewed vegetables that is an off flavor for American lagers.

I, for one, could care less what happens to the brew under the auspices of A-B as I never cared for it to begin with.

At best, it is a marketers triumph by creating a nostalgia effect for those cute little pony bottles that were so appealing to the teenage palate.

Enough said about this so-called "beer". :raz:

I swear, I have no idea how you could drink this stuff. Even with a hot dog or a bag of chips, I'd rather have club soda than this swill.

In American beers, "adjuncts" are usually just trash cheap grains like corn that add nothing to the beer except make selling it more profitable. For example, Rheingold uses pig feed corn to stretch out their beer. Jesskidden explained it very well. In the rest of the world, adjuncts like wheat and honey are used to improve the quality of the beer and add some distinctness.

The American taste for beer grew out of the "War Beer" given to the military largely in WWII. It was weak, cheap, and had a long shelf life. People in the military developed a taste for the stuff, and after the war, cheap, thin beer became the American norm. Why there is still a market for this stuff 50 years later is a real mystery.


Edited by Batard (log)

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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In American beers, "adjuncts" are usually just trash cheap grains like corn that add nothing to the beer except make selling it more profitable. >snip<

The American taste for beer grew out of the "War Beer" given to the military largely in WWII. It was weak, cheap, and had a long shelf life. People in the military developed a taste for the stuff, and after the war, cheap, thin beer became the American norm. Why there is still a market for this stuff 50 years later is a real mystery.

It seems that when it comes to discussions of the American Industrial Light Lager beer style, there are "creationists" and "evolutionists". Many of the the former like to point towards Prohibition or World War II (and it's grain shortages), others go back to Busch's trip to Europe in the 1870's, but it seems to me that the AILL style evolved over the years, and, like it or not, it's preference by US beer drinkers is a big factor in it's continued popularity. (That's sounds positively redundant- but many of the anti-adjunct beer fantics will claim it's *all* marketing, totally discounting consumer choice).

Ogle's recent history of US brewing, "Ambitious Brew", wraps up the late 1800's origins of US brewers using corn and rice, and the consumers' preference for those "lighter" style lagers, quite nicely for those interested in historic fact rather than "beer myth". I agree that Prohibition and WWII had an effect on changing the taste of the beer (AND the tastes of beer drinkers), but consumers seemed to have gone along for the ride quite willingly the whole time. George Ehret (the #1 brewer at the time) noted the popularity of the "new" pilsener type brews in his book in the 1890's. Fortune magazine noted that post-Repeal beer drinkers gravitated towards the lighter brands in the pre-War 1930's, etc.

Indeed, the current popularity of "light beers" (4 of the top 5 brands in the US are "lights", close to half the US market are light beers, etc)- a "style" that didn't even exist a generation ago, shows that it still hasn't ended. And it's not limited to drinkers of domestics- close to 40% of imports are Mexicans adjunct beers, throw in Canadian beers and European "lights" and the majority of imports aren't much different than the best selling US brands.

OTOH, the typical US "macro" lagers (tho' not the "light beers") are not particularly "weak" in alcohol (indeed, they're on par with European lagers at around 5% ABV and are stronger than most UK domestic ales) nor do they have a "long shelf life" (most have pull dates of 2-3 months, 1-2 for draught- compared to 9-12 months Euro lager brewers give bottled products and, since they've flash pasteurized their draught beer in many cases, it's not even true "draught" by the US definition, and so has a much longer shelf life).

Now, I don't care for the products or for the companies that now dominant the US brewing industry, but, apparently, a LOT of people do. And, with the incredible selection and availablity of other beer styles in the US (for which I am thankful, to say the least), one can assume that all those "industrial light lager" drinkers have had a chance to taste something else, but seem to continue buying the light lager style. (As have increasing numbers of UK, Irish and European beer drinkers, sadly enough).


Edited by jesskidden (log)

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The beer is NOT the same since it's been brewed in Newark, NJ. It had a distinctive tang that is now missing, and the overall color is a darker yellow. Poor execution of a classic pale lager.


Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
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