New beer too strong for some U.S. states

Understood. I quit for medical reasons (alcohol worsened an underlying condition) but seeing as big pharma has improved the available drugs over the years I can now handle small amounts of low alcohol quite happily. Sorry you can’t enjoy the tastes - but some zero alcohol drinks are not toooo bad. (They do still tend to be very sweet, though, in my experience.)

I love beer of almost every variety. I occasionally brew my own. The one trait I cannot stomach in a beer is sweet.

Yep, the website says its made with maple syrup. Great on pancakes, but keep it away from any beer that I might drink


People do that. In my experience though cellaring beers mostly makes them taste like unfermented, oxidized wort. Basically malty sugar water.

Some people are way into it though.

One of the times I’ve had this was actually a tasting at a beer distributor I sold to. They had refused to take new bottles of it or the number of bottles Sam Adams was pushing on them, because they had bottles from a couple past years on still on the shelf. They were one of the few accounts in the state that could actually get more than one bottle, but couldn’t shift it to anyone but the same 3 guys who bought it every year (one of whom owned the place).

They were too big for Boston Beer and their distributor to pull their classic “well we won’t sell you anything else until you buy X” trick. So they bought the old bottles and did a tasting. Absolutely unheard of with this kind of product.

So I got to try 3 years worth of Utopias at once. All awful, the aged ones were notably worse.

Freeze distillation is kind of a gray area. Several beer styles rely on it like Eisbocks, and your early 90s Ice Beers. It is technically distillation and requires a license, but there are exceptions and enforcement is weird.

I would dispute that. The quality isn’t particularly high, Sam Adam doesn’t really condition long enough and it tastes like they ferment at too high a temp. And in terms of style it’s both over hopped and either a bit too malty or uses darker malts than it should.

It’s kinda right there with other wide market craft beers from the time, especially as they compromise quality to expand their market.

That’s because IPAs, and practically the entire rest of the craft market is eating his lunch. Sam Adams has been losing billions of dollars in sales year over year. And in particular they lost about $2b in their attempt to launch Rebel IPA as a sub brand. During that they even resorted to cloning other people’s products, most visibly Founder’s All Day IPA.

Boston Beer is mostly driven these days by Flavored Malt Beverages, especially Twisted Tea and Truly seltzer. Angry Orchard cider is also a big one for them, but mostly in chain restaurants. It’s not technically a FMB, but it’s definitely an alcopop style cider.

I have always found it curious that Koch and Boston Beer in general presented themselves as dedicated to traditional German styles, and kinda shithoused the rest of craft business. When they don’t really make any traditional German beers. Their entire thing was over hopped off style derivatives.


There was a piece on TV here last night (Countryfile, if you can VPN to BBC’s iPlayer) about UK hop growing.

TIL: British hops declined for many reasons but one was a preference for beers from much stronger flavoured hops, typically from the New World - whereas British hops tended to be much more subtle.

The programme showed a revived UK hop farm now having success, and the harvesting process. A woman from whatever the ‘British Hop Association’ is actually called has been trying to develop new British-grown strains that deliver that punchier flavour. Seems to be succeeding, but volumes are low as yet.

(You seem to be into this stuff so you might enjoy the programme. But it is 60 minutes long and the hops stuff is in 3 or 4 segments spread through it, so be prepared to use the FF button, if you are able to access it.)


Reminds me of high school- it was this or Tango.


Please. Their trilbies.

It’s far from the first time sky high ABVs for beer have been done, i would be curious to try it but considering that the bottles are limited production and are being sold for over 200 bucks this is clearly meant to be a stunt. The excuse is charity fundraising which i’m not mad about, but oh well… hope they sell well and that the money goes towards something worthwhile.


I work in the business. Or did till about a two weeks ago, fun times in the beer business.

I don’t really drink beer anymore though. Sick of it.

IIRC the hop thing was less changing preference in terms of strong flavors, than a shift in the type of flavors. Cause you can get plenty strong flavors out of UK hops, and how strongly flavored things are is often down to how much you add and how/when you do the adding.

Early in American craft British hops were big, and a lot of the early big craft styles were UK styles or Belgian styles. Fuggles, a UK variety, in particular was a massive thing in the US. As were East Kent Goldings. Especially as IPAs came to dominate (which is of course originally a UK thing).

But as the the US IPA thing developed and diverged from the UK styles, there started to be a preference for more “resinous” hops. So that’s your piney, cannabis, and very bitter flavors in a hop. Varieties grown in the Pacific Northwest had more of that going on. While UK grown hops tend more towards grassy, vegetal and mild floral or spice characteristics. A lot of your headline US hop varieties from the early craft movement are descended from UK hops. In particular Cascade, still one of the most important US hops, is descended from Fuggles.

What has changed recently is the shift in the craft market away from “old man ipas” with really high abvs, and very high levels of “dank” resinous hops. The last 10 years or so the influence of North East/New England IPAs has shifted things towards more reasonable (but still high) hop levels. And especially toward adding fresher hops, later in the brewing process. Which tends to capture less of the bitter, resinous and more generically “hoppy” compounds. And preserve more of those sweeter, fruitier, and more floral elements.

That’s created a much bigger and more varied market for specialty hops. Hops that are bred to maximize those, rather than the concentration of bitter bongy stuff. Geography is a whole thing with how a particular hop turns out flavor wise. And part of what triggered the juicy IPA thing was access to hops grown in the NE, where the same variety as might be grown out in the PNW comes out way different. Together with the development of new hop varieties, and the sort of “discovery” of existing ones that previously had limited uses.

So it’s currently very cool to feature different types of hops. From different places. Including the UK.


Yeah, I figured geography probably had a big influence. The woman developing new strains here was trying to emulate some others (especially with a citrusy hop) and I wondered why not just grow the varieties the New Worlders are growing - but I immediately thought that they’d likely be different if grown here. Seems she is managing to develop new strains for the UK beer market, grown in the UK, under UK farm conditions (inc. soil and especially climate, I guess).

I enjoy the odd IPA but i am immensely picky so i rarely have them because the market for it became synonymous for poorly thought out beer that was easy to sell. As far as high ABV beers i tend to prefer them because i drink pretty slowly, so having the higher alcoholic content allows me to get a nice enough buzz without having to resort to going through beers quickly. That said i do enjoy lower proof beers just fine :slight_smile: As far as some people using beer as a manner to flex on friends that certainly irritates me, i really love exploring beer and i like sharing that enthusiasm with friends and family but i do try to keep things accessible and easy foremost. Sometimes people just want to have something familiar and nice rather than have some weird beer they’ve never heard of :stuck_out_tongue:


This is over 35 years ago but I grew up on the Canadian border, we used to make regular trips over the border to bring back cases of Labatt Extra Stock because of the higher alcohol content.

Sometimes we declared it sometimes they caught us, we were minors. Sometimes we took a boat accross and filled it with beer.

Boy did we have parties.


That’s a big part of it. But some of the citrusy hops that are out there are ultimately UK derived and there is already some use of UK hops in those style of beers. Not neccisarily to make them citrusy, but because pair well.

Part of the thing is that there are two broad types or uses of hops in brewing. Bittering hops and aroma hops.

Bittering hops are added early and boiled for a long time. This dissolves the alpha acid compounds responsible for the bitter flavors in beer, and often time that resinous bit as well. And hops developed for bittering were bred for maximum alpha acid content as a result.

Aroma hops are added later, and boiled less or not at all. That dissolves less alpha acids, but doesn’t cook off as much (or any) of the volatile aromatic compounds responsible for all those other flavors.

In brewing you typically use separate hops or multiple additions to accomplish both of these. And the trend lately is less bittering, and more aroma. Later and larger hop additions.

With consolidation in the beer business from the mid century, and cost lowering measures. A lot of hops were bred to maximize their bittering ability. Regardless of how they started out. Since it’s much cheaper to add less hops to do the same job.

A lot of your more traditional hops, like a lot of the recognizable UK varieties, are more dual use. In that they’d originally be used to both bitter the beer, and in a late hop addition for aroma. Though UK varieties aren’t generally big on late additions in general. So with the UK’s hop growing very tied to big consolidated beer. A lot of the those hops were much more bred towards the bittering end, for sale to big corporate breweries. Or even just grown directly by those breweries.

So I’ve always suspected a lot of it was down to the loss of distinctiveness in a lot of these traditional varieties. That’s the other end of it. As European craft has started to light up, and is looking to the US scene as a model. They’ve got less access to the hot US hop varieties. That’s lead them to look towards local, small producers and to exploring those traditional varieties or developing their own.

Australian and New Zealish hops have gotten pretty big lately. And Tasmanian IPA has emerged as a distinct localized style, one that even American brewers are adopting. Sort of a slightly darker, tropical, spicy offshoot of US hazy IPAs.


This is likely close to the nub of it. Good to see places like Brook House Hops trying to bring it back - but even they are partnered with and selling imported New World hops to their UK brewing customers, along with their own UK hops.

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Was here to shout out NZ hops. Before I stopped brewing about 5 years ago I was really struck by NZ hops exhibiting classic Marlborough terroir: exotic fruits, passion fruit etc.


I recall drinking some ECU 28 in the 80s, also 28 ABV. So this is not a new yeast strain I think.

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I believe they’re usually derived from turbo yeasts developed for industrial distilling.

If you’re talking about EKU 28, it’s 11%.

Even wine yeast won’t generally ferment higher than around 16%.

Which is sort of the goofballs with high ABV beers. People will go on about how strong they are, and oh man one will get you schlitzed. But in general things come in at the low range for average wines.

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Not beer.

Maybe we should call it Bort?

If Port is from wine, Bort is from beer.



I had a friend buy me a bottle of Samuel Adams Triple-Bock back in the late 90’s. It was an experience, for sure. Not what I’d call “beer”.

The closest comparison I could come up with was soy sauce.

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I get you on this. I used to be a whole lot more avid in my beer drinking, i mainly scaled way back for my gut health. These days if i have a little too much beer (volume-wise) it really upsets my stomach and i get crazy gas for a day or two. As such i try to reserve my odd beer drinking for moments i really want to try something new and keep it at a beer or two.

I’ve flirted with the idea of learning how to brew my own beer, more for the fun of it than the actual drinking but i dunno how much the prospect of doing that is practical for me. My other alternative is learning to make mead which might be more interesting and easier for me to share with others :slight_smile:


I just get really sick of whatever I’m working with. I spent close 5 years at this point professionally obligated to drink beer, and to try practically everything whether it’s the sort of thing I like or not.

Tends to lead to certain amount of palate fatigue.

When I was doing wine lists all I wanted in my off time was cocktails, when I was working cocktails all I wanted was trash beer. So I mostly drink whiskey and gin, though I don’t drink much these days.

I’ve done a bit of home brewing. It’s 90% about math, chemistry and cleaning. And that goes double for mead. Since honey doesn’t have enough nutrients outside of sugar to keep the yeast kicking.

I absolutely hated it, even though I was fairly good at it (if inconsistent).

It’s also pretty expensive as far as hobbies go.

But if that sounds like your thing, I’d recommend starting with 3 gallon brew in bag batches. It’s a little more cost effective, easier to pull off. But produces much better results, and teaches actual brew methods and science in a way some other home brewing approaches don’t. At 3 gallons it’s manageable in a regular kitchen.

Mead is a little bit more like wine and cider making. You can toss off batches in practically any clean container you can fit with an airlock.