Breweries, Supermarket Shelves and Marketing Deception?

Lift the fog of deception

This is quite a controversial title, but I don’t expect to get sued.

  • I’ve just seen an advert on Instagram for an IPA (India pale ale), which showed a picture of a brown beer.
  • I’ve seen a stout with an OG of 1040.
  • I have bought a porter, so sweet one couldn’t taste the hops.

So that’s my defence.

These are just the brewery sins that come to mind, sitting over a PC, but as we all recognise marketing hype, we probably were not deceived, (unless we didn’t know better).

There is nothing wrong with brewing beers to fill a consumer demand, but I don’t approve of abusing historical fact, to gain a dodgy marketing edge.

Pale Ale should use white malt, finished at a low temperature. The only commercial malt, which is pale enough, is lager malt and that is still too dark.

iPad brewing. Drying the malt – temperature curve for all malts.

Stout should need only a few grams of hops, because the malt is so dark it yields its own bittering. So how can one sell a sweet one?

And then there are the con-artists marketing beer in clear glass bottles, because it looks pretty. You might have observed that it sometimes doesn’t keep and soon tastes medicinal. It’s called skunking. A complex reaction between hop bittering and yeast in the presence of supermarket lighting, can produce sulphur compounds, called mercaptans, renowned for their evil ways. Our taste buds can detect them in ppm.

As craft brewers, we can get round these problems, but if you want a genuine pale ale, you might need to start malting. Soak the barley, allow to germinate, halt growth by drying and finally, finish off at a temperature chosen for the malt you need for your target beer.

Finishing temperatures for dark malts

Read my blog – Malt Like and Egyptian and you will understand the delight of going back to where our hobby began. Furthermore, malting grain is good fun and if you can control the finishing temperatures in your oven, then a spot-on historical malt will allow a genuine Munich Bock Bier for example, to come out your brewhouse.

Dry for 1-2 days and finish in an oven for 2-8 hours.

The above pictures were taken with a hand-held Sony Cyber Shot. The images are of pages on a 7 year old iPad, showing the Kindle version of the Historical Companion to House-Brewing.

I emphasise this, because Kindle software is now so good, that I can promise you a good read, including pictures, charts and brewing methods and above all, no soggy pages.

Nothing too high-tech for a craft brewer.

You can’t keep an Egyptian woman down.

Time to have a shake at my video, ‘No more soggy pages’.

Published by Clive La Pensée

Clive La Pensée, ex-science teacher, recognised writer on history of beer, novelist, expressionist, dreamer, believer in never giving up, empathiser, hopeful for a future without class, gender or racial prejudice. It's tough and at the moment, one has to remember distance travelled, rather than where we are at.

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