| 03.24.2018

Adjunct Lager Madness


Hop vine take 7

Silas Whitley | Crumbs

Beer Comparison

Adjunct beers are beers that incorporate other sources of sugar for fermentation than typical barley or wheat. Common adjuncts are things like corn or rice. Adjuncts are typically high in fermentable sugar capability, but low in taste, so they are used to increase the gravity (density, a measure of sugars) of the wort for a cheaper price than using things like malted barley. These beers are the cheaper beers and are typically overpriced, even still. 

This week, a panel of four, including yours truly, compared a dozen different American adjunct lagers. This was done to determine which cheap beer is the best cheap beer. Comparisons were blind, so judges didn’t know which beer was which. Prices were not included in the determination process, as they are all roughly the same.

In general, it is understandable to say these beers “are the same,” but there are still noticeable differences. It was discovered during the competition though — and unanimously agreed upon by judges — that Miller High Life and Coors Banquet tasted exactly the same. The only difference was head retention — which could be affected by glass cleanliness — and a nearly unnoticeable color difference. They both are Miller-Coors beers.

Pabst Blue Ribbon won the competition, followed by Coors Banquet then Rainier. The results are not intended to encourage investment decisions.

lager madness


Thursday was the Buy Local Moscow Brewfest, which featured local brewing and winemaking companies. Next weekend, the third annual Brewfest at the Alehouse will take place May 2 and on May 6, Odell Brewing will take over the taps at The Garden. If you haven’t gone to a tap takeover, I highly recommend it.

Homebrewing Tips

The presence of oxygen in the beer making process is typically a bad thing. Oxygen is useful for yeast in order to reproduce and build a strong population before primary, but otherwise causes undesirable affects. These tips aren’t necessary and sometimes differences might not be noticeable, but attempt the following.

Avoid aeration of your cooling wort. Don’t transfer it into the fermenter or any other container for any reason until the wort is below 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This will oxidize malt compounds.

If you have a carbon dioxide canister, fill kegs with CO2 before filling them with beer. Filling a keg with CO2 is pretty easy. Close the keg and fill with 10 pounds of CO2 and let it rest for a few minutes before releasing the pressure slowly. Repeat this two or three times. CO2 is heavier than air and will settle to the bottom.

Fill any secondary fermenter with the CO2 created from the rigorous primary fermentation via a “blow off” setup. This is doable, but also risks contamination. Run the blow off tubing into the secondary fermenter and let it sit for 20 minutes and remove. Put an air lock on the secondary fermenter when it is filled to keep it sanitary, then replace the primary airlock or blow off setup. Only do this if a blow off is not likely and fermentation is vigorous.

If bottling, try using oxygen-absorbing caps. Keep bottles and fermenters out of sunlight and high heat.

Use glass or steel fermenters. Plastic is oxygen permeable. There is a lot of debate about noticeable affects of oxygen permeability in plastic fermenters, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Besides, glass is neat because it allows one to see the fermenting process, and steel is classy.

Silas Whitley can be reached at crumbs@uidaho.edu

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