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Additives in Domestic Swill


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I can assure you there's no chicken hearts in beer.

I can also assure you that beer (even from the largest breweries) contains little, if any, "chemical additives". There's a lot of hogwash out there masquerading as "fact" about what's in beer.

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pennbrew, isn't that statement a little hard to reconcile with the fact that Miller Lite contains things like propylene glycol alginate (beer foam stabiliser), chemically modified hop extracts (modified so they can use a clear bottle without the sun turning the beer skunky), amyloglucosidase (reduces the level of unfermentable polysaccharides ), papain enzyme (used to reduce chill haze), potassium metabisulfite (antibacterial agent), and Emka-malt?

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Sam is right. In fact, as I posted elsewhere, Miller led the way in developing reduced isohumulone extracts and hydrogenated versions of these isohumulones, thereby ensuring they could package its, em, beer, in clear bottles.

However, they are not alone. Many breweries, including craft breweries, use additives of one kind or another, including foam stabilizers and other compounds in modest amounts. Some of this is due to the potentially adverse effects on head retention of filtration and other processes. Additionally, post-fermentation, any addition of oxygen is considered more deleterious than the addition of anti-oxidants such as Sodium Erythorbate. Many breweries, such as the one where I worked, dry hop with agitation and during that process air is indeed introduced, so, to ensure shelf stability, some additive would be used. Hell, even on the packaging line, bottles are bathed in CL02 or peracetic acid and these are not rinsed away, but as they are below sensory thresholds no one worries about it.

Paul

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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the fact that Miller Lite contains things like propylene glycol alginate (beer foam stabiliser), chemically modified hop extracts (modified so they can use a clear bottle without the sun turning the beer skunky), amyloglucosidase (reduces the level of unfermentable polysaccharides ), papain enzyme (used to reduce chill haze), potassium metabisulfite (antibacterial agent), and Emka-malt?

What is the source of this "fact"?

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OK-let me help out my old friend Pennbrewer here-he's a nice guy and unlike me tries to not step on toes (he also knows more about beer than all of us combined)

Outside of MILLER suicidally doing stuff like emotionally attaching itself to a flint bottle and making light beer that utilizes enzymes to reduce chill haze in protein laden light beer-there are very few, if any, chemicals in commercially produced beer-even the cheap stuff. Heat pasteurization kills pretty much any biological evils that are picked up through the process (and unfortunately some of the flavor too), and chill haze generally isn't a problem in large breweries thanks to qualtiy brewing practices and the ability to cellar and filter/centrifuge their products at low temps.

Beer, generally, is one of the few products out there that has changed very little in the last 50 years. Technology and the equipment used have certainly changed, but it is still the same basic process-mash-boil-cool-pitch-ferment-age-filter-package- and although many of the agricultural products used have improved or changed as well (better malting barley and the "super alpha hops" come to mind) the process itself has not changed much and neither have the ingredients.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Well, a quick search of the Malting and Brewing Society of America's (MBAA's) Technical Quarterly Journal quickly revealed:

"In this study, a pilot test skid equipped with an adsorption column demonstrated the ability to selectively adsorb and concentrate flavor compounds from brewery fermentation byproduct carbon dioxide gas without adsorbing sulfides. Dosing brewed products with the recov-ered flavor concentrate further enhanced the flavor characteristics of those products.

This paper provides a description of the pilot adsorp-tion equipment and the method for producing a flavor concentrate."

By Gil Sanchez, of Miller Brewing Company.

One could easily find the sources for other things. I, personally, don't have a problem with "additives" per se, and, granted, scrubbed and re-introduced "flavor concentrates" are not the same as exogenic materials, but they are there. I am under no illusion that the "Big Three" do not use additives in one form or another. Indeed, the "Big Three" brewers have largely led the way in a host of things not having anything to do with the renheitsegbot - the Bavarian purity law specifying that only yeast, water, malt go into beer.

Paul

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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By the way, the original source for this information on Miller's (apparently, erstwhile) practice of using additives is Roger Protz, who in a 1988 CAMRA "Real Ale Guide" names the offending compounds in Miller Beer:

"He mentions in particular Miller Lite, "described as 'the nearest thing to an

empty glass'", and discusses how American legislation (at one time) forced the makers to list their ingredients: "propylene glycol alginate, water, barley malt, corn syrup, chemically modified hop extracts (there ya go), yeast, amyloglucosidase, carbon dioxide (!), papain enzyme (clarifier, I believe), liquid

sugar, potassium metabisulphite, and Emkamalt".

Apparently, the publicity was quite effective in getting Miller to change their tune, and again, I can't say for certain what the big boys do now, but presume that at least these compounds are not likely found anymore in Miller products. I also don't dispute their skill. As someone on the Homebrew Digest once said,

"While they may choose to brew swill for marketing reasons, the skills of the brewers at places like Miller and Anheuser Busch are actually quite good. It takes a lot of skill to create a product that while brewed at several different plants across the country, tastes the same everywhere, state to state, month to month, year to year. It's just so sad they choose to exercise this enviable skill in the pursuit of thoroughly lackluster beer."

That about captures it for me. I also know from first hand experience that it is not uncommon for "even" craft breweries to use certain compounds to avoid harmful effects during shelf storage - e.g., the antioxidants named above.

Paul

Edited by paul o' vendange (log)

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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The "renheitsgebot laws" are a big pile of crap. Sure they sound good, but you wanna talk about chemicals? Get a list of what those guys use to preserve their beer for export. They might as well be pissing in the stuff (it's fairly acidic and would probably work pretty good). If you are drinking close to the brewery and soon after the stuff is brewed "renheitsgebot rules" are just fine, but those guys are no more able to ship their beer over here without adding something to it than a spook. They just throw up that stupid law over and over again as a smokescreen. European brewers who export dump all kinds of goo in their brew. Most European breweries won't put in pasteurizers (which would be a much better choice than most of the stuff they use for stabilization) for export beers (not because they don't like pasteurization, but because they are huge energy hogs and the EU rules don't like to waste energy on heating stuff up and then cooling it right back down-previous to the EU the resistance to pasteurization was that it cost too much and phamaldehyde was much more reasonably priced).

Look at the additives list on a beer. You generally won't see any. That is because most of the "additives" that are used are in there to take something out-not to put something in- and they never see the end of the process (protein absorbers used pre filtration come to mind). I'm not saying that people don't use anything other than grain, hops, yeast and water because I know they do-and I, frankly, think that most of us are better off for it. That law is as if there had been a law passed saying that all "real radios" must use vacuum tubes and that any other kind of radio (such as a transistor or one made with digital technology) wasn't a "real radio".

Beer is beer. Technology has made the average beer that is purchased in this world a more stable product and one that you can depend on (trust me, aged in tar lined or concrete tanks, unpasteurized beer shipped in wooden barrels to the hinterlands was not better than beer that you can buy in the middle of nowhere today). Better living through chemistry, says I. My hats are off to the ASBC. :wink:

I ran what became one of the most successful small breweries in the country. We grew like crazy over a ten year period and we did it by using malt, hops, yeast and water-but as we grew and shipping distances became greater, I learned alot about stabilizers and pasteurization-not because I liked it really, but because I liked the customers and wanted to make sure that they received beer that was as close to the beer that I was drinking out of the tank at the brewery as possible. Brewpubs that sell their beer on site don't have to worry about any of this, but shipping breweries do and should worry constantly about how their beer travels and how it is treated out in the shelf world. Face it, everything doesn't jump off of the shelf and having a stable, good to drink beer is important the first time and everytime that the customer picks up a bottle. One of our biggest selling points when the microbrewery movement was in it's infancy was that the beer was fresh, but nowadays the big breweries have caught on and followed out lead with freshness dating and advertising telling folks about it-in fact, I would argue that the large brewery product on the shelf is probably as fresh, if not fresher, than any micro product you can buy outside of it's home area. That's not to say that it tastes better in terms of flavor profile (generally it is all the same and not particularly interesting), just that they can get it on the shelf in a given area faster than the little guys.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Brooks, believe it or not, I think we are in agreement about many things here. The Bavarian law is a pile of marketing crap, I only use it to say that no brewery is "pure" if pureness means solely the reinhetsgebot ingredients, at any point in the process. I also agree that "additives," "natural" or not (Irish Moss or its refined cousins, anyone? PVCC?) are largely process in, and not product out. Maybe I wasn't clear, either - I agree that science has largely made beer better, not worse. Anyday, I'll take a consistently produced, child-of-science beer over a fouled "real ale." And a good part of what passes for "character" in "fully natural" real ale is in fact soup brimming with beasties I don't like seeing under the scope.

But I don't think that was the point of argument here. It was said that beer contains little, if any, chemical additives. I agree in the main, but not wholly. As I said, I know otherwise, from brewing practice. I do agree with you re: shelf stability and distribution practice of the big boys. As National Distribution Manager, I saw what happens when distribution lines are intact, and what happens when they are not. The big boys don't have to worry about it.

One more point: As to shelf stability, personally, I'd rather run dozens of checkpoint quality assays on any given batch run rather than pasteurize a beer for a millisecond. I think you can achieve shelf stable products every time, to the same rigor, without relying on pasteurization. But perhaps that is a topic for another thread.

Paul

Edited by paul o' vendange (log)

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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Brooks, believe it or not, I think we are in agreement about many things here. The Bavarian law is a pile of marketing crap, I only use it to say that no brewery is "pure" if pureness means solely the reinhetsgebot ingredients, at any point in the process. I also agree that "additives," "natural" or not (Irish Moss or its refined cousins, anyone? PVCC?) are largely process in, and not product out. Maybe I wasn't clear, either - I agree that science has largely made beer better, not worse. Anyday, I'll take a consistently produced, child-of-science beer over a fouled "real ale." And a good part of what passes for "character" in "fully natural" real ale is in fact soup brimming with beasties I don't like seeing under the scope.

But I don't think that was the point of argument here. It was said that beer contains little, if any, chemical additives. I agree in the main, but not wholly. As I said, I know otherwise, from brewing practice. I do agree with you re: shelf stability and distribution practice of the big boys. As National Distribution Manager, I saw what happens when distribution lines are intact, and what happens when they are not. The big boys don't have to worry about it.

One more point: As to shelf stability, personally, I'd rather run dozens of checkpoint quality assays on any given batch run rather than pasteurize a beer for a millisecond. I think you can achieve shelf stable products every time, to the same rigor, without relying on pasteurization. But perhaps that is a topic for another thread.

Paul

We are in agreement it would seem. :wacko:

I think you can achieve shelf stable products every time, to the same rigor, without relying on pasteurization.

On the other hand, I can count on 1 hand the mumber of breweries under 100,000 bbls that have the technical ability AND the interest to watch their beer carefully. We at Abita spent a ton of money per bbl. running a real lab (which was truly unusual at the time) and watching our beer to see what I could grow in it with a general medium and a warm incubator. Happily, we got pretty good at finding the sources of the various spoilage bacteria (people should swab heat exchangers more frequently than they do-they are generally pretty gross) and had a decent (60 day) shelf life without pasteurization. THe real problem was that we shipped lots of draft. You can take great care of the beer, but once it hits a keg, only God knows what will happen to it. It is IMPOSSIBLE to truly clean on of those things (particularly hoff-stephens) and the beer may or may not be treated to decent refrigeration once it leaves the plant. Bulk pastuerization of draft, for many small breweries, would be a major step towards shipping good beer that is gonna go bad quick.

Anyway, the point of this thread is a question about additives in beer. Outside of Miller using some stabilizers that they developed themselves to keep beer in flint bottles (they also developed a plastic to keep beer in, Tobacco companies should stay out of the beer business, IMHO) and using enzymes to extract sugars and then later stop chill haze-I don't think that the big boys use much at all. I worked with AB for a couple of years and I can virtually guarantee that they don't.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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On the other hand, I can count on 1 hand the mumber of breweries under 100,000 bbls that have the technical ability AND the interest to watch their beer carefully. We at Abita spent a ton of money per bbl. running a real lab (which was truly unusual at the time) and watching our beer to see what I could grow in it with a general medium and a warm incubator. Happily, we got pretty good at finding the sources of the various spoilage bacteria (people should swab heat exchangers more frequently than they do-they are generally pretty gross) and had a decent (60 day) shelf life without pasteurization. THe real problem was that we shipped lots of draft. You can take great care of the beer, but once it hits a keg, only God knows what will happen to it. It is IMPOSSIBLE to truly clean on of those things (particularly hoff-stephens) and the beer may or may not be treated to decent refrigeration once it leaves the plant. Bulk pastuerization of draft, for many small breweries, would be a major step towards shipping good beer that is gonna go bad quick.

At Goose Island, they run, if memory serves me well, 19 assays for every production batch. Critical points throughout the process - including the heat exchanger - are differentially cultured up and incubated, and a host of other assays are regularly run (vacuum filtration, CO2/Air content, ATP Bioluminescence, forced ferments); from cast out wort out through to finished product, including a rig to test beer coming out of our kegs and daily bottle lifts off the bottling line. The kegs weren't hoff-stephens, granted, but the filler did a good job - 4 stage, caustic/peracetic/scalding H20 before a drop of beer was racked.

In the years I was there, I never saw a returned case or keg due to spoilage. 6 months shelf life on the bottle, 3 months on the keg. Not every micro has the $ to run such a regimen, but, at least in this example, we put the $ and effort in, and it showed.

Paul

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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This is a really interesting thread, so I hope I'm not asking an inane question, but why does anyone use the term "heat pasteurized"? Is there a way to pasteurize without using heat?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Got this e-mail from Miller Brewing as to the contents of their beer

Thanks for contacting us.

Our Beers are essentially a mixture of natural ingredients: Water,

Malted

Barley, Corn Syrup, Hops, and Yeast. There are not any additives or

preservatives in any of our beers.

Beer is 94% water

Malted Barley is the soul of beer

Corn syrup gives beer a milder and lighter-bodied flavor

Hops add spicy aroma and bitter flavors

Yeast changes sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide

***There are no sugars, such as table sugars, added to our products

with the

exception of our Flavored Malt Beverage's such as Skyy Blue, and

Sharp's

non-alcohol brew. A small amount of natural sugars are present in our

products, but because they are in such small amounts, we do not test

for

them***

We appreciate your interest in our company.

Cheers!

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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This is a really interesting thread, so I hope I'm not asking an inane question, but why does anyone use the term "heat pasteurized"? Is there a way to pasteurize without using heat?

There's always another way, Pan.

Of course, I don't think that any work has been done with beer here as it is a carbonated beverage and there would be any number of issues involved with that. It has been used successfully in the Oyster industry, although I think that the flavor profile is completely changed.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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JPW, the same material as is presented on their website. I don't see a "Star Chamber" conspiracy here, I'm sure it's true. If Bud uses rice, Miller uses corn as both are cheap. What I find when I have had Miller's product is a very evident taste of DMS - di-methyl sulfide, taste of creamed corn, not my bag. There are a few Miller drinkers out there, or so I've heard, so each to their own. :wink:

By the way, a blurb on Miller's "hop engineering" (reduction of isohumulone via hydrogenation), from a beverage business journal:

"But what about beers like Miller that come in clear glass without the benefit of German engineering? Why don't they skunk up something fierce? Miller comes at it from a different angle, making the hop compounds less susceptible to skunking. Darwin Davidson, the technical director for major hop broker S.S. Steiner, explained the process of making the hop extracts Miller uses. Darwin is the technical director, and this does indeed get a little technical, but bear with me.

First, liquid carbon dioxide is run through a bed of pelletized hops. It absorbs the hops' oils and resins, the key flavor, aroma, and bittering components. Then the carbon dioxide is allowed to evaporate, leaving the extract. Some brewers use this extract, and Davidson said that it will give a very true hop character to the beer. Extracts can be split down further to pure alpha acids, hops oil, and beta acids, the real components of interest to brewers. The oils' flavor is changed somewhat by the process. The extracted alphas can be "isomerized" (This is what actually happens to alpha acids in the brewkettle, Darwin said), and added directly to the beer for hop character.

Miller Brewing takes a further step. They take the iso-alpha acids and hydrogenate them, much like is done at refineries, by forcing hydrogen through the oils at extremely high pressures. This produces rho-iso-alpha acids, also known as tetralones. These tetralones have intensified bitterness, increase foam stability and retention, and offer a better resistance to sunlight. They would be ideal, only they do not maintain the precise flavor of fresh hops. Hopping rates in mainstream American beers being what they are, this isn't a serious problem as long as the bitterness is right." (emphasis mine).

It ain't all "pure, natural ingredients," brewed by a couple of old timers and moved by horse and carriage, ladies and gentlemen. I could care less, as I said if science moves it ahead, great. Just that the big boys are about as far removed from "traditional methods" as Kraft Foods.

Edited by paul o' vendange (log)

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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I can assure you there's no chicken hearts in beer.

I can also assure you that beer (even from the largest breweries) contains little, if any, "chemical additives". There's a lot of hogwash out there masquerading as "fact" about what's in beer.

I wasn't suggesting I wouldn't want chicken hearts in my beer. Sounds deelish.

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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I can assure you there's no chicken hearts in beer.

I can also assure you that beer (even from the largest breweries) contains little, if any, "chemical additives".  There's a lot of hogwash out there masquerading as "fact" about what's in beer.

I wasn't suggesting I wouldn't want chicken hearts in my beer. Sounds deelish.

I have heard in England of 'Cock Ale', where a male chicken has been added (for the protein).

Another , no doubt apocryphal tale, that cider tastes better if a rat has fallen/been put in the brew....

Martial.2,500 Years ago:

If pale beans bubble for you in a red earthenware pot, you can often decline the dinners of sumptuous hosts.

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Actually, Naguere, I believe the "cock ale" is an authentic 17th or 18th century recipe. Brings new meaning to "Beer is Good for You," get your restorative chicken soup with a pint. :wink:

Paul

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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Found it:

"A recipe from the 1500s:

Take 10 gallons of ale and a large cock, the older the better; parboil the cock, flay him, and stamp him in a stone mortar until his bones are broken (you must gut him when you flaw him). Then, put the cock into two quarts of sack, and put to it five pounds of raisins of the sun-stoned; some blades of mace, and a few cloves. Put all these into a canvas bag, and a little before you find the ale has been working, put the bag and ale together in vessel. In a week or nine days bottle it up, fill the bottle just above the neck and give it the same time to ripen as other ale.

Lest you think that was just an example of The Funny Stuff People Did A Long Time Ago, people actually still make this stuff. Boston Beer Co. recently whipped up some cock-ale from a recipe from Compleat Housewife (a British cookbook from 1736), out of 12 gallons of beer, "one large and elderly cockerel," raisins, mace and cloves. According to Koch, the founder of Boston Beer Co., the beer was a great success."

Cheers.

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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I, too, wrote to Miller, with the following query:

"Can you tell me, at any time during your brewing, cellaring or finishing process, do you use any chemical additives of any kind - i.e., added enzymes (i.e., maltase or other sugar enzymes; peptases, etc., anti-oxidants or other agents)? Thanks."

And Miller, after careful consideration, wrote the following response:

Thanks for contacting us.

Our Beers are essentially a mixture of natural ingredients: Water, Malted

Barley, Corn Syrup, Hops, and Yeast. Our brews contain no additives or

preservatives of any kind.

Beer is 94% water

Malted Barley is the soul of beer

Corn syrup gives beer a milder and lighter-bodied flavor

Hops add spicy aroma and bitter flavors

Yeast changes sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide

***There are no sugars, such as table sugars, added to our products with the

exception of our Flavored Malt Beverage's such as Skyy Blue, and Sharp's

non-alcohol brew. A small amount of natural sugars are present in our

products, but because they are in such small amounts, we do not test for

them***

We appreciate your interest in our company.

Cheers!

---------------

I'm glad to know they've got the answer down. I am puzzled by "essentially a mixture of natural ingredients." If only essentially, among "Water, Malted Barley, Corn Syrup, Hops, and Yeast," what is left?

Alright, enough perseveration. Back to a pint of ale.

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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Found it:

"A recipe from the 1500s:

Take 10 gallons of ale and a large cock, the older the better; parboil the cock, flay him, and stamp him in a stone mortar until his bones are broken (you must gut him when you flaw him). Then, put the cock into two quarts of sack, and put to it five pounds of raisins of the sun-stoned; some blades of mace, and a few cloves. Put all these into a canvas bag, and a little before you find the ale has been working, put the bag and ale together in vessel. In a week or nine days bottle it up, fill the bottle just above the neck and give it the same time to ripen as other ale.

Lest you think that was just an example of The Funny Stuff People Did A Long Time Ago, people actually still make this stuff. Boston Beer Co. recently whipped up some cock-ale from a recipe from Compleat Housewife (a British cookbook from 1736), out of 12 gallons of beer, "one large and elderly cockerel," raisins, mace and cloves. According to Koch, the founder of Boston Beer Co., the beer was a great success."

Cheers.

I used to judge home brew contest all the time. During a regional roundup in New Orleans (brewers from various groups in the gulf South) and one of the lads (John D. for those of you that know him) and some of his buddies made one of these things.

Think about it. Something with animal fat in it that is going to sit around at room temp for a few days (okay-55F, but still pretty warm) and then be cooled and people are going to drink it. Not me buddy. I used to tell people to bring em on. I would drink weird beer and strong beer all day long, but nothing with animal fat. Sorry. Not a good plan. Sure beer is acidic, but why take the chance? YUCK.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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