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Old 09-29-2005, 02:02 PM   #1
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Default what exactly is malt liquor?

My sister-in-law asked me this question last night while I was sitting and reading one of my brew books, and I just sat there with a blank face, blinking. I had to admit that I didn't know, and I don't like not knowing.

I looked on the internet, and got some basic info, but still have one question.

Is it simply a high-alcohol lager? End of story?

That seems to be the general idea I get from browsing around, but one resource claimed that it doesn't contain anything other than barley, water, and yeast. ie; no hops at all.

-walker

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Old 09-29-2005, 02:16 PM   #2
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It's beer with icecream in it....you know, like a malt? lol.

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Old 09-29-2005, 02:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker
My sister-in-law asked me this question last night while I was sitting and reading one of my brew books, and I just sat there with a blank face, blinking. I had to admit that I didn't know, and I don't like not knowing.

I looked on the internet, and got some basic info, but still have one question.

Is it simply a high-alcohol lager? End of story?

That seems to be the general idea I get from browsing around, but one resource claimed that it doesn't contain anything other than barley, water, and yeast. ie; no hops at all.

-walker
It sounds like you've got the gerenal idea. As far as I can remember from what I've read, it's unhopped "beer" that is then filtered off, leaving you with a sweet, alchoholic liquid that can be flavored any way you want it.
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Old 09-29-2005, 03:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LupusUmbrus
It sounds like you've got the gerenal idea. As far as I can remember from what I've read, it's unhopped "beer" that is then filtered off, leaving you with a sweet, alchoholic liquid that can be flavored any way you want it.
this reminds me of something I had totally forgotten about over the last 12 years or so.

When I was 18 or 19, I went to visit my brother in college and he had a party that weekend. Someone there was choking down (I kid you not) Cool Mint Colt 45.

Yeah... Colt 45 with peppermint flavoring. I tried it, just to say I had tried it, and it was the most god awful thing I have ever tasted . Note; i had low expectations, and this was far BELOW those expectations.

I don't think Cool Mint Colt 45 lasted very long on the market.
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Old 09-29-2005, 03:30 PM   #5
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In Texas it's just a statuatory definition. Any malt beverage under 4% ABW can be labeled beer, any malt beverage over 4% ABW must be labeled Ale or Malt Liquor. Historically it's what you said, just a high test lager, AKA cheap drunk.

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Old 09-29-2005, 03:32 PM   #6
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so.. what defines a barley wine then?

do we have three tiers here; Beer, then Malt Liquor, then Barley Wine?

-walker

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Old 09-29-2005, 03:33 PM   #7
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answering my own question after a quick look with google.

A high-alcohol top-fermented beer is a Barley Wine.
A high-alcohol bottom-fermented beer is Malt Liquor.

weird.

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Old 09-29-2005, 03:44 PM   #8
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Well I thought a Barley Wine was just a style. Imperial Stouts and Imperial IPAs are both high alcohol, and I don't think you'd call either one of them a Barley Wine.

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Old 09-29-2005, 04:01 PM   #9
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I'm with you on this one. Barley Wine is a style, as is malt liquor. It is still beer, and DOES have hops. Now, certain breweries may make it without or use little hops, but bu definition it does not have to be that way.

Technically you could classify ANY beer as being malt liquor. As the definition says, it is an alcoholic beverage from malted grains. Now, typically speaking, you are right it is just a high test lagered cheap beer. There are some mandates in places (as prior noted) where it is legislated that a beverage over a certain alcohol percentage should be labelled as such. But, I think more the large breweries just created a niche style for beer sold in 40oz bottles of cheap nature to be sold for $2 a piece. As a beer style, it would be tough to define, I would say most resemble pilsners.

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Old 09-29-2005, 05:26 PM   #10
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Woops, looks like I was thinking of a much narrower definition (alternative malt beverages). Here's the wiki page for Malt Liquor (including a shot of Martha Stewart taking a swig of Olde English )

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