Know Your Beer

Which beer ingredient helps preserve beer?

Hops.  Hops are a type of natural ingredient that contributes to bitterness, aroma, flavor, mouthfeel, foam and lacing to beers.  They also help with beer preservation and flavor stability because their bitterness substance is anti-microbial and inhibits the growth of micro-organisms that may damage beer’s flavor.

What causes wheat beer to look hazier than other beers?

Protein and yeast.  Wheat beers are typically made of at least 50% wheat and the protein rich wheat often creates extra haze in beers.  Certain German wheat beer styles (e.g., Hefeweizen) have additional yeast added to the bottles.  Part of the tradition to pour these German wheat beers is to swirl up the yeast sediments at the bottom and pour them over the thick creamy head.  


 

How is bottle conditioned beers different from other beers?

It’s alive!  Different from most of the beers that are force carbonated inside brewing tanks, bottle conditioned beers are carbonated in the bottle by the addition of fresh yeast and priming sugar.  Not only does the live yeast in the bottle help suppress oxidation, it also continues to evolve over time and imparts lively flavors as it ages.     

 

What is a Belgian lace?

A trace of foam left in the glass after the beer is consumed. Belgian Lace (also known as Brussel’s lace) refers to the lace of foam that is found around the interior of a beer glass after the beer is consumed.  It is normally seen as a sign that the beer well-crafted with a good head and that the beer glass is cleaned properly.  

 

Which law in the 16th century limited beer ingredients to malt, hops, and water?

Reinheistgebot.  Reinheistgebot (also known as the Germany Purity Law) was adopted across the entire Bavaria in 1516.  According to this law, the only ingredients that could be used in the production of beer were water, barley and hops (they didn’t know much about yeast back then!).  Yeast was added into the Provisional Beer Law in the 1990s.    

What is a “white” beer?

Hazy wheat beers.  The most common “white beers” are hefeweizens (Germany style hazy wheat beers) and witbiers (Belgian style hazy wheat beers).  These wheat beers contain a hefty amount of wheat protein that creates extra haze and sometimes yeasts sediments are poured into the beer glass intentionally.  

 

Which type of beer is brewed by monks?

The Boozy Ones.  There are many types brewing monasteries in beer history and the most well-known group is probably the Trappist monasteries.  Tappieste is an appellation that enforces many legal requirements and one of them requires the beers to be brewed under the direct supervision of monks at a brewery on the monastic property.  Most of these beers have complex flavors and higher ABVs, and are better suited for sipping than chugging.   

 

Do lagers always have lighter colors than ales?

Not really.  Beers brewed with lager yeast (also known as saccharomyces uvraum or top fermenting yeast) are lagers and beers brewed with ale yeasts (also known as saccharomyces cerevisiae or bottom fermenting yeasts) are ales.  One of the major factors that affect a beer’s color is the type of malts used.  If the brewer decides to use darker malts and lager yeast for a beer, then the resulting beer would be a dark lager.  Similarly, if the brewer uses lighter malts and ale yeast to brew a beer, then the resulting beer would be light colored ale.  

 

What ingredient was used for flavoring beer before hops were introduced?

Gruit.  Prior to 1000 AD, most beers in Europe were brewed without hops.  These beers were seasoned with a mixture called “gruit” normally sold by the churches and the sates, and served as an early form of taxation.   Commonly known gruit ingredients include sweet gale, mugwort, yarrow, ground ivy, horehound, and heather.

 

What is the difference between a stout and a porter?

God knows.  The history of Porter is as fuzzy as it could get and has changed every generation in its few hundred years of history.  The English generally referred to the traditionally chestnut brown colored beers, which also happened to be one of the transport workers’ favorites, as Porters.  It was said that term Stout came from the term Stout Porter, which generally refers to a darker and a more roasted version of the typical Porter.  


 

Is draft beer really better than bottled beer?

Not really.  Draft beers and bottled beers should taste the same before they are packaged at the brewery (in fact a lot of them are packaged from the same tank).  Many of us think that draft beers are fresher because a beer “on tap” at a bar would normally sell out quicker than bottled beers.  However, this may not be the case at every bar.  What really matters is whether the bar owner is storing the beers properly and selling you the newest and freshest beers they stock.   

 

Which type of beers can you age for a long time?

Higher alcohol beers.  Normally, beers with higher alcohol contents and lower hop aromas are better suited for aging e.g., dark strong Belgian ales, imperial stouts, barley wines, lambics, gueuzes, barrel aged beers, etc.  Lighter and hoppier beers are easily oxidized and should be kept cold and drank fresh.