Beer Myths

MYTH: Dark Beer is Stronger Than Light Beer
ANSWER: Try this Westmalle Tripel
Dark beer takes a lot of bad raps - thick, bitter, flawed - but this myth is the most common. Beer gets most of its color from roasting some or all of the grains that go into it. The heavier the roast, the darker the beer. But the depth of the roast has virtually no effect on alcohol content, which is determined by the quantity of malt used and the degree to which it is fermented. In the cases when roasting does have an effect strength, it actually can reduce a grain's ability to render alcohol.
other beer in culture  %tages Beer MythsMYTH: Ale is Stronger Than Lager
ANSWER: Really? Why?
In the middle of this century, it was common for beer above a certain alcohol content to be called "ale", regardless of whether the beer was top fermenting (a true ale) or bottom fermenting (lager). This practice can still be found in some states, such as Texas. By brewing convention, your average American ale tends to be a little higher in alcohol than your average lager, but that's by design rather than by nature. In fact, ale yeast has a lower tolerance for high levels of alcohol, and the world's strongest beers tend to be, with the exception of some hybrid beers, all lagers.

MYTH: Draft Beer is Better Than Bottle Beer
ANSWER: I'd take an old bottle of beer before on old draft beer any day.
This is more an assumption based on fact than a falsehood. This observation holds true for most beers your average Joe is exposed to, as draft versions are often unpasteurized and fresher. But we know about a whole realm of bottle conditioned beers -- notably many Belgian, English and American ales -- that just don't cut it on draft. In bottles, these beers have a chance to condition on their own yeast, sometimes improving over several years.

MYTH: Bock Beer is From The Bottom of the Barrel
ANSWER: How do they get those Germans in the barrels to scrape it out?
This is a dangerous one, because it leads people to believe that beer can change styles simply by aging. Bock beers are variously brewed in late winter through the spring, and their recipes result in beers that run the gamut from pale to quite dark, from strong to really strong. If there's any truth to this myth, it would apply to Maerzen beers, which were traditionally brewed in March, consumed throughout the summer, and finished off in late September at harvest festivals like Oktoberfest. By the time these last stores of Maerzen were consumed, the beer had gathered quite a bit of strength and complexity.
MYTH: Guinness is Really Strong
ANSWER: Like a Coors Light.
This one is true only if you've had Guinness in Belgium or Africa. The versions we get in the USA run from about 3.8%ABV (draft & pub draft cans) to around 4.5% in the bottle. While the Belgian and African bottled versions top out around 8%ABV, the Irish & American versions are designed as "session" beers, to be drunk over a period that might last six, seven, eight hours. Only a low-alcohol beer could accompany such sessions. The root of the myth is probably those yahoos who only drink Guinness once a year, accompanied by far too many glasses of Jameson. See also first myth.

MYTH: The Best Beer Comes in Green Bottles
ANSWER: That must be why Heineken tastes so good.
This one's a hangover from the early days of post-war imports. To distinguish European beer from domestic blue-collar brews, importers started to use green bottles. It quickly became a status symbol, and domestic breweries began putting their better stuff in green to cash in on the import association. The fact is, green glass is actually is efficient in protecting beer against the harmful effects of light than brown glass.
other beer in culture  %tages Beer Myths
MYTH: Beer Tastes Best Out of a Frozen Mug
ANSWER: Only on the Titanic.
Actually, beer tastes least the colder it gets, just like any food. Ever wonder why pizza loses its zip when you have it out of the fridge the next morning? No, it's not the cotton in your mouth - it's that most flavor components have an ideal temperature range. To suppress the impact of these flavor components, simply lower the temperature. This technique works fine for beers whose flavors you might want to minimize, but -- like with red wine and cheese -- has limited application to the good stuff. In addition, a frozen glass tends to dissipate most of the CO2 in your beer, leaving it flat and tasteless.

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