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Old 10-19-2009, 04:57 PM   #1
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Default "Heavy" Beers, drinkability, etc.

Well we all know that bigger beers means a high gravity. But when a lot of people refer to "heavy" beers, what they mean is that they could only drink two or three. Most regular people will say they like Guiness, but it's like drinking a meal, and they could at most drink a couple. When we know it's actually more on the lighter side.

Obviously there's a difference in thickness when comparing say a big RIS to a Bud Light. The RIS is thick, the Bud is watery. I think more of reason to say the beer is "heavy" and to only drink two or three would be because of the alcohol content - not that it would fill you up more.

When we get right down to it, isn't 16 oz of liquid still 16 oz of liquid regardless of style? To me, I don't think I get filled up any more with a big RIS than a light beer.

Are there any facts behind "drinkability?" Can 16 oz of RIS fill you up more than 16 oz of Bud Light?

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Old 10-19-2009, 05:07 PM   #2
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Agreed about the Guinness - thinking that it's heavy is purely psychological. However, comparing 16 oz of RIS vs. 16 oz of Bud Lite, the RIS has many more calories, which will definitely affect how satiated you feel. Think about the limiting case - just a tiny step beyond Bud Lite - a 16 oz glass of water...

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Old 10-19-2009, 05:08 PM   #3
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They had a great article in the last Zymurgy about session beers and drinkability. Believe it or not, that term has been used long before the Bud marketing people started using it.

I'm not too sure about how much they actually fill you up. I think FG and leftover dextrins might have a lot to do with it. Compare a 9% RIS and a 9% Tripel. The RIS will have a higher FG, which translates to a "thicker" beer. It also has stronger flavors The tripel will be drier and have a less complex flavor palette.

As far as drinkability goes, most people would concur that in this example, the Tripel would win. Like I said, I don't really know if one would "fill you up" more than the other.

In my mind, the key to drinkability is balance, low alcohol, relatively drier, and a lack of any strong flavors. Not that a good session beer can't be flavorful. Maybe thats why some would consider Guiness a "heavy beer". For a Bud drinker, the flavors of Guiness are a LOT stronger than what they are used to.
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Old 10-19-2009, 06:18 PM   #4
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Look at it in terms of calories, your brain can trigger a full sated feeling by sensing the calories consumed or it can sense you just being full of water and still hungry. Four glasses of milk will hold you over for a while, four glasses of water make you pee a lot and leave you still wanting something with some substance.(calories) So, malty english beer types will fill you better than bud55 or mgd64. That's my take on heavy.


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Old 10-19-2009, 07:34 PM   #5
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For me, it's more about richness than volume. Drinking 3-4 RISs or DIPAs in a row would just overwhelm me, not because I'm full or drunk, but just because of the shear amount of flavor.
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:40 PM   #6
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All I know is I can pound pints of Guinness just as easy as any bitter or lager.

Some days I'd rather hit the black stuff as well.
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:45 PM   #7
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I agree, Drinkability gets a bad wrap by beer snobs because of Bud. But it is a legit term used to describe beer. it's about the desire to keep drinking. Like said, a RIS is great for maybe a Pint or two, but it's too rich to drink all night. That would mean it's drinkability is not that of a Mild or Scottish 60/ fore example.

For heavy I think "chewy". Doesn't get heavier in my book then an Oatmeal Stout on Beergas

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