6 thoughts on “About That Beer-With-Rice Thing

  1. Hmmm. I went back to the article and read the comments. Jeez, yet another us-v-them-let’s-scream-at-each-other.Frankly, I know zero about science and agronomy so I have NO idea what to think. But the comments make for a few minutes entertainment.

  2. Maureen – I think that the American taste for lighter beers followed rather than led the use of rice (and corn) in beers. The high level of soluble protein in North American six-row barley (also called Manchurian barley)caused stability problems in beer when used 100%. (European two-row barley is lower in soluble protein.) These all-malt beers became turbid with time. This was a problem with both ales and lagers until the the latter part of the 19th century.The solution was discovered to be the use of a portion of corn (maize) or rice, which have very low levels of soluble protein. While corn had been used occasionally in North American beers since early colonial times, it was the development of a specific technique in the last quarter of the 19th century of incorporating these adjuncts that led to the the lighter, less satiating beer that you wrote of.The classic reference book for American brewers of 100 years ago, Wahl and Henius’ “American Handy Book of the Brewing, Malting and Auxiliary Sciences (1901), “http://homeroastnbrew.info/wahl/, has good background on this technique on pp. 711-712, and other fascinating glimpses into American brewing a century ago.

  3. Jeff, I sort of agree (as I hope I made clear in chapter two of my book.) Yes, clearly making lager in North America was problematic because of the malt, but it was also clear that German-American brewers were having a hard time reaching beyond their “niche” market of other German emigres. “Americans” wanted a lighter beer, lighter in the sense that it was less filling and not so “dark.”So it seemed to me that the two things — consumer demand and materials at hand — dovetailed.

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