Malt Liquor vs Beer

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agroff383

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I was a fan of OE800 and other cheap 40 oz beverages in college when money was tight...I know it is horrible.

The thought struck me to make my own high gravity malt liquor. What is the difference between that and standard beer?
 

HSM

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Beer + grain ETOH = Malt Liquor. This high alcohol stuff is no Barley Wine.
 

llazy_llama

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I might be wrong, but I don't think that's US law, although it could be State law in your area. I have a few beers in the fridge above 5% (Erdinger Hefe: 5.3%, Erdinger Dunkel 5.6%, Widmer Bros. W'09 Belgian Style Ale 6.5%) and I can't find the words malt liquor anywhere on the bottle or packaging.

Not trying to be a jerk, just trying to clarify. :mug:
 

SumnerH

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US law...beer over 5% is called Malt Liquour...;)

Depends on the state. In some states, low-alcohol beer is "lager" and high alchohol is "ale" (regardless of whether it's a top- or bottom- fermented beer). In some states malt liquor refers to alcohol as you note.

The most common state rule (e.g. in Colorado, Minnesota, etc) if there an alcohol cutoff is that over 3.2% ABW (not ABV) is malt liquor, but 5% is right in some states. In most states it's not a strict alcohol cutoff.
 

Revvy

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Papazian's Olde English 800 Malt Liquor recipe is legendary...


Olde English 800
5 Gallons

OG: 1.055 (13.5)
FG: 1.004 (1)
ABV: 7%
Color: 4.5 SRM
Bittering Units: 14

3.5 lbs. American 2-row pale malt
3.75 lbs. American 6-row malt
3 lbs. flaked corn
2 HBU (56 MBU) American Cluster hops (pellets) - 105 minutes (bittering)
1.5 HBU (43 MBU) American Nugget hops (pellets) - 105 minutes (bittering)
1/4 tsp. Irish moss
Wyeast 2007 Pilsen Lager yeast

A step infusion mash is employed to mash the grains. Add 10 quarts (9.5L) of 130-degree F (54.5 C) water to the crushed grain and flaked corn, stir, stabilize and hold the temperature at 122 degrees F (50 C) for 30 minutes. Add 5 quarts (1.9 L) of boiling water. Add heat to bring temperature up to 150 degrees F (65.5 C). Hold for about 60 minutes.

After conversion, raise temperature to 167 degrees F (75 C) water, lauter and sparge with 4 gallons (15 L) of 170 degree F (77 C) water. Collect about 6.5 gallons (25 L) of of runoff, add bittering hops and bring to a full and vigorous boil.

The total boil time will be 105 minutes. When 10 minutes remain, add Irish moss. After total wort boil of 105 minutes (reducing wort volume to just over 5 gallons), turn off the heat, then separate or strain out and sparge hops. Chill the wort to 65 degrees F (18 C) and direct into a sanitized fermenter. Aerate the cooled wort well. Add an active yeast culture and ferment for 4 to 6 days in the primary at 55 degrees F (15 C). Then transfer into a secondary fermenter, chill to 50 degrees F (10 C) to age for two more weeks, then lager for two to four more weeks at 40 degrees F (4.5 C).

When secondary aging is complete, prime with sugar, bottle or keg. Let condition at temperatures above 60 degrees F (15.5 C) until clear and carbonated, then store chilled.
 

KYB

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US law...beer over 5% is called Malt Liquour...;)

None of the bottles I have say Malt Liquor anywhere. Bells Stouts, Dogfish Head 90min, Guinness Extra Stout, Stone IPA (and others).
 

SumnerH

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None of the bottles I have say Malt Liquor anywhere. Bells Stouts, Dogfish Head 90min, Guinness Extra Stout, Stone IPA (and others).

Yeah we already covered it. Not US law, it varies state to state (and most of the stricter states have liberalized or are moving that way).
 

Ryan099

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Yes Even I believe it's really annoying to get a bottle of good micro that happens to be higher ABV and see small print on it labeling it as "malt liquor"
 

944play

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Beer over 4% abw must be labeled "ale" in Texas. Apparently that's just scratching the surface of the insanity of TX beer laws -- until recently, selling beer in 33cl bottles was unlawful!
 

danorocks17

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I read somewhere that if a certain percent of the grain bill is corn then it is called malt liquor. GO MICKY'S!
 

remilard

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Most imported strong lagers will be labeled "ale" (iirc spaten does this) or "malt liquor", since they are trying to make one US label to comply with the intersection of US laws. Domestic breweries are more likely to make a separate label for the odd states, since they are selling to each state separately anyway.
 

jmiracle

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I've been tempted to pick up one of those Mickey's cans that feature UFC legend Tito Ortiz and see if some of the horrible Mickey's taste was caused by green bottle skunking.

When's the last time you had a quality malt liquor in a can
 

SumnerH

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Even if it's a lager??? the lagers I did this winter were iirc all over 4%.

Yes, in Texas it has to be labeled ale if it's over 4% and lager if it's under 4%.

A low-AG breakfast stout = lager.
A normal Budweiser, Coors, or Millier High Life = ale (assuming the same version sold in the rest of the US; sometimes companies make a special version for different states to comply with 3.2% laws or Alabama's laws or whatever, often without clearly marking it as different from normal).
 
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Now I understand the one t-shirt I picked up from a brewery during my travels at the Elysian Brewing Company that says AK-47 Malt Liquor on the back. I was thinking WTF when I got it home and noticed it.
 

brewt00l

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When's the last time you had a quality malt liquor in a can

Just the other day...OB's pils is labeled "malt liquor"

MamasLittleYellaPilsCan3-3-09cropJ.JPG
 

HSM

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Beer over 4% abw must be labeled "ale" in Texas. Apparently that's just scratching the surface of the insanity of TX beer laws -- until recently, selling beer in 33cl bottles was unlawful!

So then you buy a "Sam Adams Boston Lager...Ale"?
 

944play

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Boston Lager is a "beer" in the eyes of the TABC; it's under 4% abw.
 

Firstnten

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Curious, so what is the difference between Barley wine and a "malt liquor"? ABC state too state rules?
 

remilard

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Curious, so what is the difference between Barley wine and a "malt liquor"? ABC state too state rules?

I don't think Barley Wine is an official classification in any state, in fact many states won't allow a beer to be sold as a "Barley Wine" hence "Barley Wine Style Ale" on the labels of many examples.
 
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