I'll drink to that!
Who says all researchers live in an ivory tower?
Researchers at Australia's University of Adelaide have unlocked the secret to letting beer age without it tasting like old socks. Doctor Jason Eglington of the university's School of Agriculture, Food and Wine explained that barley contains an enzyme called “lipoxygenase”. The enzymatic process produces several substances, …
I'm not a very frequent beer drinker as I drink more wine, but I like beer strong when I make it myself. The last lot I made must have been around 10 % ABV or so based on a specific gravity of 1090. Closest thing available commercially are some of the Belgian monastery triples. So it might take me up to a year to finish off one of my batches. And the taste gets better, smoother and rounder for the first 6 months, and never gets any worse in the following 6 months. I never touch it at less than 2 months old - it's too sharp and the taste complexity hasn't properly blended before then.
So much for the "I've GOT to drink this beer, it's nearly at its best before date". Now, with beer that has a shelf live measured in years, or decades, how will a chap justify pulling the tab (or opening the bottle) on that extra can - while getting the hairy eyeball from a disapproving partner.
That flavour you don't like in mainstream Aussie beers is corn sugar.
Unfortunately all the common mega-swill such as VB, XXXX, Carlton etc etc are brewed with at least 30% corn sugar and less than 70% barley, not only does this reduce the malty flavour making them more "easy drinking" (boring) but it also leaves a residual corn-flavour which may seem unpleasant if you are used to decent all-barley beer.
The answer to the problem is simple: don't buy mega-swill, buy proper craft beer instead. Australia has over a hundred small breweries making fantastic beers without any corn sugar whatsoever. So when you go to the bar, don't just point at the nearest tap on the bar-top, ask what bottled beers are in the fridge behind the bar.
I can see how this would help flavourless piss, by keeping it flavourless.
The real secret of long life beer has been known for a long time, give it lots of flavour, more alcohol=longer life and keep it out of the light. Light kills beer, destroying the hop oils first - though hardly an issue in the mostly hop free watery piss sold as lager outside Germany ;)
Most of the Belgian beers in my cellar need 3month to a year maturation to develop their flavour. The 25yr old Thomas Hardy Ales aren't ready to drink yet, we tried at the recommended 21 years and they're still too sweet. Then again, the 42yr old bottle we shared was also too sweet for my liking!
I hate to think what will happen if brewers of existing, more flavoured, long keeping beers jump on this, knocking out a bit of the maturation process along the way.
Also by the time a bottle of American Budweiser reaches its best by date the much more superior Czech Buvar is still sitting in the cellar maturing...
So yes, this seems to be an excuse for beer manufacturers to make even blander piss. Anyone remember "new" Holsten Pils with its "new less bitter taste"?
Have you considered that the further wait may do nothing for the beer but increase its resale value and novelty, and it won't get less sweet? By then, you'd think that basically every chemical and biological process is dead, and you're just creating plonk.
At that point, wine is well into the stage where the only changes happening are the settling out of sediment, carrying with it any remaining flavor and pleasantness.
I think the clue to the credibility of what you were told lies in the word "factory". You mught want to try getting your beer from a brewery. :)
Guinness is pasteurised and filtered to remove/kill anything which might make it go off - which includes most of the things which make proper live beer taste good. They used to sell some live Guinness brewed and bottled in Dublin - I'm not sure if they still do - but the draught stuff (which isn't draught at all, it's forced out under CO2 or nitrogen pressure) is dead as as dodo, and tastes like it too.
The problem is *oxidisation* of lipids to form trans-2-nonelal, not bacterial action. You stop it by removing oxygen and live yeast does a good job of sucking it up in live beers - draught or bottled. The last thing commercial factory lager producers want is anything live in their 'product' and the near total absence of flavour makes faults easy to taste.
Hops are used less for preservation than flavour nowadays. However they react badly to UV light, officially the flavour is 'skunk', I normally describe it as cat's piss. Which probably helps explain why beers often drunk outdoors in a sunny country are notoriously devoid of hops ;)
people who like either bitter wine or bitter beer. God bless them, though - someones gotta drink all that bitter beer out there. I see it as a recycling service for beer I would never drink. I'll stick with Blue Moon unfiltered wheat beer, thank you very much.
BTW, bitter does not mean flavor, it just means bitter. Beer should be enjoyable, not endurable. Beer icon, natch.
I have about 30 bottles of Anchor Brewing's "Old Foghorn" left from a couple of 24-bottle cases that I purchased in 1992. It just keeps getting better. I've been buying & cellaring a couple cases a year ever since. Likewise, I've been aging Stone's "Arrogant Bastard" since it first hit the market :-)
"...unlocked the secret to letting beer age without it tasting like old socks."
Old socks? No. As a few others have pointed out, old beer tastes like skunk, or at least what I imagine skunk tastes like based on its odor. Really old beer tastes like the asshole of a two-day-dead-in-the-hot-sun road-killed skunk, or at least what I imagine etc., etc., etc.
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