Gut Rumbles

October 08, 2004

a beer test

Answer these questions:

#1: What is the difference between a lager and an ale?

#2: What are "hops?" On what scale are hops measured?

#3: What is "Irish Moss?"

#4: What is "wort?"

#5: What makes beer carbonated? Why does it foam?

#6: What is the difference between a "bock" beer and a "stout ale?"

#7: Why do you need yeast to make beer?

#8: What is the usual alcohol content of American beers?

#9: Is "pilsner" different from lager or ale?

#10: What are the main ingredients that go into ANY beer?

Answer those questions, and I'll tell you my favorite beers and why I like them so much.


I'm not going to pretend that I know very much about beer. I do know, however, that I'm allergic to yeast and I get a runny nose everytime I drink a beer. you'd think I'd stop drinking beer, right? pfffft.

Posted by: girl on October 8, 2004 03:07 PM

1. Lager is a beer made with bottom fermenting yeast while an ale uses top fermenting yeast.

2. The hops used in brewing beer are the female flower of the hops plant. They are measured in IBUs or International Bitterness Units.

3.A fining agent used in clearing the beer.

4. The unfermented nectar which will send millions of yeast to yeast heaven as they gorge themselves on sugar producing alcohol and carbon dioxide in the process.

5. Carbonation comes from millions of yeast sells farting. The foam comes from the surface tension of the oils contained in the beer trapping the carbon dioxide, roughly.

6.Bocks are usually strong beers made with lots of malt yielding a very full-bodied, alcoholic beer. Stout refers to the darker roasting of the malt used in the beer.

7. Yeast breaks down the sugars contained in the wort into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Also, because dead yeast is very high in vitamin B, you need yeast to prevent hangovers.

8. Around 3 -to-4% alcohol by volume. Unless they're ice beers which artificially raise the alcohol level by freezing the water contained in beer then filtering out the water thus raising the concentration of alcohol. The better way to get more alcohol is to use a malt that creates a wort with a higher specific gravity. This usually also creates more flavor.

9. A Pilsner is a style of lager that uses bottom fermenting yeast. It got its name because it was, so the story goes, in the the town of Pilsen in the Czech province of Bohemia.

10. According to the Reinheitsgebot or German Beer Purity Law, the only three ingredients that can be used to make beer are water, barley and hops. In 1516, yeast was not yet discovered but is the fourth ingredient you seek.

Posted by: Kevin on October 8, 2004 03:18 PM

OK, I think I know these.

1. Lager is spelled with five letters, ale with three.

2. Hops is how the rabbit gets from one place to another. Also how the kangaroo gets from one place to another, if you're talikng about Australian beer.

3. Irish Moss is what grows on Irish Cream if you leave it sitting out too long.

4. "Wort" is a measure of a beer's value. For example, "Coors Light isn't wort shit." Or, "The liquor store says that six-pack of Duvel is wort eleven bucks."

5. Beer is carbonated because it contains carbon.

6. "Bock" beer is the kind that used to cost a dollar for a glass. "Stout" is what you look like if you drink beer alla time.

7. You need yeast to make beer? Really? All I know is, you need yeast to make beer worthwhile. 'Cause that's what you use to make the pretzels that you eat while you're drinking the beer.

8. Enough to give you a buzz after six, and to turn you into a drooling, gibbering, puking idiot after three dozen.

9. Only if you put some pills in it.

10. Cigarettes, vodka, and Krispy Kremes. Oh, wait. that's breakfast.

Posted by: Steve on October 8, 2004 03:47 PM

Goddam! I've got readers that KNOW all about beer!

Posted by: Acidman on October 8, 2004 03:54 PM

I think I know my beer pretty well, but I don't think I can improve on any of the previous test answers. To steal a line from Tom T. Hall, " makes me a jolly good fellow." For what it's "wort".

Posted by: bedubya on October 8, 2004 04:02 PM

I've been brewing for 25 years, so I better know this stuff.

1. Yep, it's the yeast. Typically bottom-fermenting for lagers, top fermenting for ales. The ferm temp is quite a bit different, too. Mid to upper 60's for ales, low to upper 50's for lagers. Lagers are also..... lagered - cold conditioned for a couple of months (at least) before they're consumed.

2. A flower that's in the same family as cannibus (sp) that is used to add flavor, aroma and bittering to beer. Originally added as a preservative.

3. Irish moss is a fining agent to clear your beer. It's made from seaweed.

4. Wort (pronounced wert) is unfermented beer.

5. Two ways to carbonate: Naturally, when the yeast eat the sugars in the wort, they have two primary byproducts: CO2 and alcohol. After fermentation, a small amount of sugar is added to the beer and then it's bottled. The CO2 is produced, but the gas is not released and goes into solution. The other way is to force carbonate with a big tank of CO2. Beer foams because the CO2 is coming out of solution as it hits the warm air.

6. The primary difference is that a bock is a lager and a stout is an ale. Bocks are made with German malts (Munich and Vienna) and Stouts are made with two-row ale malts and specialty malts for the unique flavor. Guiness actually adds soured malt to give it its flavor. Bocks tend to be heavier, and more alcoholic tasting. Stouts tend to be dryer and more "smoky".

7. See #5.

8. Between piss and bath water. 3.5 to 4% ABV. American micro-brews have upped the ante (alcohol, flavor, choice).

9. A pils is just a style of lager. Typically very light in color and generally not overly hopped.

10. Water, yeast, malted grain, hops.

Posted by: The Other Mike S. on October 8, 2004 04:30 PM

Rob, why did you stop homebrewing? It's the best damn hobby in the world. You get to have fun making great beer then, you get to drink it!! What could be better?

Posted by: Sly_Dog on October 8, 2004 07:34 PM

1. Two different families of yeast. Ale yeast ferments at higher temperatures than lager yeast, creating fruity esters and bite, while lager is smoother on the palate. Ale yeast usually works on the top of the wort, and lager at the bottom.

2. Hops are the flowers of a vine in the nettle family, high in alpha acids (AAU); a formula can translate the AAU into International Bitterness Units (IBU), a scale more commonly used in Europe, cradle of beer. Hops add bitterness to balance the sweetness of the malt, and serve as a preservative. If a beer is struck by light, they can emit a skunky odor, which is why so many bottles are brown or green.

3. Irish Moss is a seawood containing carragheen. When boiled in the wort, it aids in settling out proteings that cloud the beer.

4. Wort is the sweet unfermented mash of malted barley and other grains before yeast has begun fermentation, which transforms the wort into beer.

5. During fermentation, the live yeast munches proteing and sugar and poops out alcohol and carbon dioxide. The CO2 carbonates the beer, if captured and dissolved in the cold beer; one can also add malt sugars to beer at bottling, which will create extra CO2 to carbonate the beer. Beer will foam when pressure is released and the temperature is too high keep the CO2 in solution.

6. Bock beer is a high gravity (very concentrated malt sugars in the wort, resulting in higher than usual alcohol levels) lager. The highest gravity is known as Doppelbock (double bock). Stout is a dark ale, usually with roasted barley in the malt bill. It's alcohol content can range from 3% (Guiness) to 7% (American microbrewed stout).

7. Yeast is required to convert sugar to alcohol. Actually, one doesn't need to add yeast to wort to make beer, as natural environmental yeast will do the job for you, at the risk of creating awful flavors. Belgian Lambic ales are usually fermented this was. One has more control over flavor profiles by selecting and measuring commercial yeast.

8.American beers are usually 4-5% alcohol. I cannot sell beers over 6% in NC, which eliminates Doppelbock and Barley Wine. Naturally, the State will sell me all the 40% liquor I want.

9. Pilsner is a golden lager, approximately 6% alcohol. It originated in Czechoslovakia in the mid-19th century, and took over in Germany. American brewers were often Germans, so they introduced pilsner, which in a watery and mildly hopped form is the style of choice in the U.S. It's clarily is aided by the use of rice in the mash, but it's a far cry from European pilsner.

10. Water, Malted barley (malting ups the sugar content, which results in more alcohol after fermentation), hops, and yeast. Other ingredients can be added in an astonishing variety.

This was off the top of my head; I was the first brewer for Cottonwood Beer 12 years ago.

Posted by: Brett on October 9, 2004 01:41 PM

I really appreciate blogs like this one becuase it is insightful and helps me communicate with others.
thanks.also, that guy billyz, I really need to talk to you about that cure you mentioned.

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