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View Full Version : A letter from Pabst Brewing Company



Jake
08-30-2005, 08:02 PM
I will never again buy macro beer from Bud, Miller, Coors, and Pabst. The only way I will drink a beer from them is if its given to me. Part of this decision is from a email I received from the Pabst Brewing Company and most is from the fact I have tried most all the american macro beer and all of them are just adjunct swill.

The last macro I bought was Stroh's. The reason for purchasing this beer is because on beeradvocate.com its listed under All-Malt Lager. If I'm going to drink swill it might as well be made with only barley, hops, yeast, and water. Thats what it says on thier bottle "Traditionally brewed with the finest hops, pure water, barley malt." I wanted to make sure so I wrote Pabst and asked first if Stroh's used any adjuncts like corn or rice and secondly if it was still fire-brewed. This was the what the return email said.

"Before Stroh's beer became part of the Pabst family, Stroh's beer was brewed at five or six of the Stroh breweries around the country. But it was no longer brewed in Detroit after the original Stroh brewery was shut down due to age and inefficiency. It was about this time (and even before) that most breweries included to the use of corn adjunct or corn syrup in their formulas. I do not know exactly at what point the Stroh's Brewery made the switch, but by the time the Pabst Brewing Company bought the Stroh's label (1999), Stroh beer had already been brewed with corn adjunct for many years.

But Stroh did continue to "fire brew" its name brand at great expense. Several gas-fired kettles were installed in each of the Stroh breweries to continue the tradition, and indeed the marketing image, of fired-brewed beer.

When the Pabst Brewing Company bought the Stroh labels, a decision had to be made whether to endure the the extra cost necessary to continue fire-brewing Stroh. In order to evaluate the effect of fire-brewing on the taste of the beer, special blind taste sessions were conducted with trained panelists to see if a difference could be perceived by anyone.

The result of these sessions revealed that less than half of the panelist could detect a difference. Statistically, that means that any one, whether trained or not, could simply toss a coin to answer the question. Since all Stroh breweries were shut down except one, and since almost all production was contracted out to the Miller Brewing Company, the decision was made that the extra expense of installing gas-fired kettles at all the Miller plants simply was not justifiable. An old marketing postion long enjoyed by Stroh alone was abandoned in favor of being able to offer the brand to the public at reduced cost.

The move was difficult choice to make, but has turned out to be the right choice. The Stroh brand is now enjoyed by both old and new customers alike".

danno
08-30-2005, 08:20 PM
that's sad... problem is, Miller is right. nobody (ok, mostly nobody) who drinks it gives a crap about what's in it, or how it's made, they buy it for the price point...

(and part of me wants to think that the half of the taste group who could ID the beer, also told them, "yeah, it's fire brewed, but it still tastes like crap and we're not gonna drink it...")

hops99
08-30-2005, 08:33 PM
nobody (ok, mostly nobody) who drinks it gives a crap about what's in it, or how it's made, they buy it for the price point...

Very true, although many of the Stroh's buyers in my area also buy it for the nostalgia - i.e. it was dad's beer back in the 70's etc.

studentofbeer
08-31-2005, 12:01 AM
the labeling does seem misleading, if it mentions only water, barley yeast and hops. i wished the ATF was more concerned about such things than about beers named Kronic or labels that bear latin phrases about good health (a la dogfish head). unfortunately there is no ingredient labeling requirement for beer, which can only be attributed to politics.

steveh
08-31-2005, 06:04 AM
That's all very sad, but even more sad is that is doesn't surprise me in the least.

IIRC, the "fire brewed" aspect of original Stroh's (Bohemian) was an accident, something to do with a faulty thermostat that heated the boil kettle too hot and caramelized a portion of the wort, giving Stroh's its unique character.

Because of that character, Stroh's never fixed the thermostat and devised a method to always get some caramelization - but I don't think that character was ever present in the brew once brewing in Detroit was discontinued - no matter what "great expense" is being claimed.

And isn't Pabst really a part of the big Texas conglomo brewery we've talked about?

S.

kinjar
08-31-2005, 07:32 AM
I'm impressed you got a pretty decent email back actually addressing your questions. I would have expected some form email back.

newportstorm
08-31-2005, 08:21 AM
Originally posted by Jake
Part of this decision is from a email I received from the Pabst Brewing Company and most is from the fact I have tried most all the american macro beer and all of them are just adjunct swill.

The last macro I bought was Stroh's. The reason for purchasing this beer is because on beeradvocate.com its listed under All-Malt Lager. If I'm going to drink swill it might as well be made with only barley, hops, yeast, and water. Thats what it says on thier bottle

How did the Stroh's taste? If you hadn't received an email back re: Stroh's, would you have continued to buy it on occasion? Why worry if there is corn/rice in your beer if you enjoy the taste? Plenty of beers, even craft beers, have adjuncts in their recipes - maize, corn, corn grits, rice, etc. You might be surprised at some of the brands on that list.

Taste is king.

Cheers!

MeridianFC
08-31-2005, 09:37 AM
Actually to give credit where credit is due I thought the E-mail to you was very polite and unusually detailed and honest. Fair play to Pabst.

It's still shite beer and I'm not gonna drink, but I do have a smidgen of respect for their customer service.

YamahaXS
08-31-2005, 09:53 AM
I don't think there is really that much to be upset about. They did in-fact answer your question, plus they provided you with even more information about their brewing strategy. You could get a little miffed by the label being misleading, but that is no grave offense (IMO) in that it is sold as an american lager and it's only reasonable to expect some adjuncts since they all use them.

There is a place for all styles of beers, even the ones I don't like.

chazwicke
08-31-2005, 10:33 AM
I would still like to know if all those conglomo beers are actually different beers or all the same.

fretlessman71
08-31-2005, 10:48 AM
They're all brewed in one 48,230 gallon vat in the same warehouse in Nevada where they faked the moon landing in '69. ;)

HarkJohnny
08-31-2005, 11:45 AM
Originally posted by fretlessman71
They're all brewed in one 48,230 gallon vat in the same warehouse in Nevada where they faked the moon landing in '69. ;)

genius!

i heard that's also where they came up with other mass produced crap like the Oprah Show, McDonalds and Windows®. hehe

chazwicke
08-31-2005, 11:48 AM
Is that the same place where they did that alien autopsy?

unkle bik
08-31-2005, 01:32 PM
Originally posted by kinjar
I'm impressed you got a pretty decent email back actually addressing your questions. I would have expected some form email back.

Really. At least they were honest. Give them credit for that. They really didn't have to admit any of their processes as they are proprietary.

Stroh's; old man's beer.

Jake
08-31-2005, 05:27 PM
I'm not upset at all about the email I received, but quite please that they would spend the time to go into such detail. I shared the letter because I thought it was interesting and educational.

Beeradvocate.com places beers into categories and Stroh's was in the American All-Malt Lager category. As stated on BA:
"This category of beer refers to all-malt lagers, wherein no cereal adjuncts are used. Though often still pale and fizzy, these beers will display a broader depth of flavor and a more complex betterness vs the adjunct macro lager style".

To the knowledge of BA Stroh's was adjunct free and from the info on the label of the bottle gave me the same impression.

I notice BA now has changed Stroh's to the American Macro Lager category after I wrote BA and shared the info from my email with them.

Has not anyone ever bought or not bought something based on information they gained from the ingredients they have read on the package?

Jake
08-31-2005, 05:54 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Jake
[B]I It was about this time (and even before) that most breweries included to the use of corn adjunct or corn syrup in their formulas. I do not know exactly at what point the Stroh's Brewery made the switch, but by the time the Pabst Brewing Company bought the Stroh's label (1999), Stroh beer had already been brewed with corn adjunct for many years.



When the Pabst Brewing Company bought the Stroh labels, a decision had to be made whether to endure the the extra cost....


On the back of some Samuel Adams bottles Jim Koch writes. "We make Samuel Adams Boston Lager using four classic ingredients: barey, hops, yeast and water. Other beers use cheaper adjuncts to lighten the beer".....

And on another bottle he says "When it comes to ingredients, others ask, "What does it cost?" I ask "How will it taste?......

I'mRocketMan
09-06-2005, 02:38 PM
I remember the fire-brewed version of Stroh's (from the mid-70's). I thought it was interesting, although I haven't had any for decades....

Jake
09-06-2005, 08:28 PM
I talked to my step brother who is a die hard Stroh's drinker and asked him if he thought Stroh's tasted the same today as when he first started to drink it in the late 1970's. He did not think it was.

I really don't know that much about fire-brewing or if its was just a gimmick to make the beer seem special.

The beer at best is a good "lawn mowing" beer.

HogieWan
09-07-2005, 08:57 AM
Originally posted by Jake
The beer at best is a good "lawn mowing" beer.

I think you mean "lawn mower coolant"

xtalman
09-07-2005, 12:03 PM
I always liked Stroh's before they went on a buying spree, founderd and then got bought out themselves. The original "fire brewed" was actually not to bad. It definitly was a step up from the offering of BMC, IMHO. But it was and is a lawn mower beer.

Sladek
09-08-2005, 03:31 AM
Originally posted by Jake
Has not anyone ever bought or not bought something based on information they gained from the ingredients they have read on the package?

After living in Europe for a while, I've taken this for granted. It must be EU mandate, although I'm not sure, that beer labelling must have ingredients. Czech beers, bottled and canned, all have them listed. And after reading some of them, I've adjusted my drinking accordingly; I've stopped drinking Gambrinus, if any of you know it. People say it's the most popular beer in the Czech Republic with Czechs; well, mostly with young men and football and hockey fans. The ingredients are: Voda (water), slad (malt), sladovnický ječmen (malting barley), sacharóza (sucrose), chmelový produkt (hop "product").

Compare that to the ingredients of Prazdroj (Pilsner Urquell): voda (water), slad (malt), upraveny chmel ("upraveny" means "modified", "conditioned", "graded", or "fresh", so I don't know which one would apply here), and yeast isn't listed. Gambrinus is a lower-gravity beer, but other 10-degree Czech beers have much fuller flavor than Gambrinus. Is it because of the sucrose? Does this function as an adjunct? Anyway, seeing the ingredients simply confirmed my suspicions.

steveh
09-08-2005, 05:49 AM
Originally posted by Sladek
Compare that to the ingredients of Prazdroj (Pilsner Urquell): voda (water), slad (malt), upraveny chmel ("upraveny" means "modified", "conditioned", "graded", or "fresh", so I don't know which one would apply here), and yeast isn't listed.

Probably modified (malted?), but what is chmel? And why does the Gambrinus list malt and malted barley? Is it suggesting another malted grain being used, maybe corn or rice?


Is it because of the sucrose? Does this function as an adjunct?

Probably, and yes. It also functions as a hangover prompter - IMO.

S.

Sladek
09-08-2005, 11:31 AM
Originally posted by steveh
Probably modified (malted?), but what is chmel? And why does the Gambrinus list malt and malted barley? Is it suggesting another malted grain being used, maybe corn or rice?

S.

Sorry, "chmel" is Czech for "hops". I'm not quite sure of the conventions of ingredients; sometimes you can read, as in the case of Bernard (do you know it? Considered a "specialty" beer because it is unpasteurised and contains some yeast): "Pitna voda (drinking water), jecny slad (barley malt), zatecky granulovany chmel (Saaz granulated hops), chmelovy extrakt (hops extract), kulturni kvasnicky (yeast culture)". Strange that Gambrinus lists "malt", then "malting barley". I dunno. I'll keep looking at different beers.


Originally posted by steveh Probably, and yes. It also functions as a hangover prompter
Now THAT explains something! ;)

Sorry to "hijack" this thread. "upraveny chmel"-- chmel is hops, and according to several dictionaries, upraveny is "orderly, tidy, adjusted, treated (chemically?), adjusted, regulated". Any guesses as to what this means in relation to hops?

That's it--I need to recruit some Czech beer enthusiasts to this board! Germany seems well-represented, but we need more from the originators of pilsner!

steveh
09-08-2005, 11:48 AM
Originally posted by Sladek
Sorry to "hijack" this thread. "upraveny chmel"-- chmel is hops, and according to several dictionaries, upraveny is "orderly, tidy, adjusted, treated (chemically?), adjusted, regulated". Any guesses as to what this means in relation to hops?

Is it possible that they are using hop extract, not fresh? Or perhaps there's a translation that's closer to "noble" as in noble hops (Saaz, Hallertauer, Perle, Spalt, Tettnang, Styrian Golding)?

S.

chazwicke
09-08-2005, 11:49 AM
Originally posted by Sladek

That's it--I need to recruit some Czech beer enthusiasts to this board! Germany seems well-represented, but we need more from the originators of pilsner!

I'd like to see more Europeans here. Bring them on!

Sladek
09-08-2005, 01:31 PM
Originally posted by steveh
Is it possible that they are using hop extract, not fresh? Or perhaps there's a translation that's closer to "noble" as in noble hops (Saaz, Hallertauer, Perle, Spalt, Tettnang, Styrian Golding)?

S.
Well, hop extract is usually "chmelovy extrakt" or "chmelovy produkt", hop "product"--God knows what that is. I'll look further.

So, in the end, in response to the original poster, yes, seeing the ingredients of Gambrinus, with "sucrose", confirmed to me why it doesn't have the fullness of flavor of other beers here, why it starts to taste like crap after several, and why the hangovers suck ass; it's blasphemy to most Czech guys, but I really don't think it's a good beer.