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Why Is There So Much Crap?

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bartron

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I was just thinking about this the other day. When it comes to brewing a good beer there is little difference, effort wise, between making an average brew and one that stands out.

I don't mean from an AG vs kit perspective but when you think about it, once you've done a particular recipe a few times you can usually knock one out without too much thinking of how much of this and how long to do that, regardless of how you actually make it.

So why all the crap?

It seems that in the pursuit of better beer one tends to climb the learning ladder. First start with kits, then adding extras to kits, then mimi mash, then AG....pretty soon you have a micro brewery....and at the top of the ladder is commercial brewery making.....something. Some say it is a matter of personal taste. I say that a crownie does taste good....then you try an alternative and all bets are off.

Surely the commercial breweries can churn out something better than what they do currently and not have it regarded as 'boutique'. Personally, before I started brewing my own I used to enjoy a Tooheys Extra Dry or Hahn Premium, now I think it is Tooheys Extra Headache (I still like the Hahn bottles though). Where is the flavour, the body, the aroma? What is so different that they are doing to make VB to what we are making in our own homes?

Is it something about mass production that reduces quality? There are so many 'speciality' beers out there than seem to hold up just fine....or is it a case of just making something cheep and nasty for people to get pissed on?

It just seems a bit confusing to me. Beer for me now is no longer a means to an end (to get drunk) but an end in itself. Enjoying beer for what it is.

Uh oh......am I becomming a beer snob????? :unsure:..... :huh: ........ :eek:

Sorry if this turned into a bit of a rant. Anyone working (or worked) for a major brewer care to comment?

:beer:

Bartron
 

bartron

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before I get a few replys with "but there is this" and "there is that", I'm referring to the availability of beer on tap at the pub....seems that pretty much everywhere you can find Tooheys New of VB on tap but maybe only one or two 'speciality' beers.

Plus all the ads on TV you see are for New, Mid Strength (haven't tried it yet), VB what-have-you. Maybe iot is the lowest common denominator taste wise....

Cheers,

Bartron
 

Bionic

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The reference to it all tastes like crap. All depends on the person who is drinking it I suppose... Thanks to the average aussie Blocks pallet have never tasted a good beer before they think toheeys New vb ect.. tastes BLOODY good... So why should the Commercial Brewery's change there way for... If they do change not many people are going to like it because its different. And also they are going to lower their profit margins as well.. even iff they sell the same amount....

Give me a good european Beer on tap and ill be in my glory.. So will most probably a hand full of people while the other 20 to 30 people would be hating every sip.

Just my opinion anyway
 

Dunkel_Boy

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I think the Australian market is improving, with more people enjoying Coopers and James Squire/Little Creatures/Blue Tongue/others becoming a lot more common.

I'll try and answer your question, though taking a technical approach rather than basing it on tastes...
I think water, temperature and yeast are big players in the 'crap beer arena'. It's not feasible to change the quality of water on a bulk basis, so they use what they got. A lot of cities take the calcium out of water because hard water is hard to wash with, etc. Unfortunately for brewing, it's a necessity, and affects clarity, mash, flavours, etc... so you basically end up with crap, cloudy beer (this is exaggerated) and it needs to be treated very differently.
Temperatures... this is a theory, don't quote me on this. Breweries down south (Boags, Cascade, even Coopers) have ambient temps that are basically bloody cold, all year round, so their lagers and ales are typically of higher quality (smoother, less fusels, clearer, etc)... Think XXXX - our water is packed full of bicarbonate, has almost no calcium, and our temps are typically high. This means it's hard to make the beer taste good, basically.
Yeast... I think a lot of breweries in Australia almost 'settle' for a lower quality yeast... they find a strain, or develop a strain, and as soon as it tastes bearable, it's settled for. They don't bother researching/trialling/reproducing the yeast to get it any better.

Just my 2c...
 

Steve Lacey

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bartron said:
Is it something about mass production that reduces quality? There are so many 'speciality' beers out there than seem to hold up just fine....or is it a case of just making something cheep and nasty for people to get pissed on?
[post="49673"][/post]​
Nice rant.

Back in the days of yore, big breweries did make good beer. Or so I'm told. There is nothing about the scale that should prevent them from doing so. But for one reason or another, perhaps supply problems, I don't know, they had cause to reduce their hopping levels. They discovered that as they did, as if by magic, sales figures went up. So they did it some more, and sales figures went up again. And of course, if they can sell more and put less stuff in, or put cheaper stuff in, as with the substitution of rice or corn or sugar for malt, then it is better for the bottom line. Better returns for shareholders, more (therefore presumably happier) customers. Not much incentive for them to reverse the trend I'm afraid. The craft beer market in the US, which dwarfs Australia's in relative terms, still only has 3% of the overall beer market. It's going to be a long hard haul, but there is definitely a need to re-introduce a proper range of choice for consumers. As my friend Pete says, life is to short to drink crap beer.

steve
 

Weizguy

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Bionic said:
Give me a good european Beer on tap and ill be in my glory..
[post="49680"][/post]​
Uh oh, here comes the soapbox...
I am apalled that Oz has not adopted wheat beers more readily.
I thought that Redback was an excellent drop when it first came out to Newcastle, and still remember it. It might have been actually good, or it may have been my neophyte tastebuds. Surely, it's not the same now.

...Either way, aren't we top producers of wheat? (quantity and quality).
Don't we have a warm climate, much suited to the quenchiing satisfying tartness of brewed wheat? (both malted and un-).
I would have thought that wheat beers could give more profit, as wheat should be relatively cheaper to the local market, esp if we have so much of it that we get rid of it overseas.

Has anyone tasted 4X Thirsty Dog? An American-style wheat to my evaluation, possibly using non-American hops. Still pretty reasonable, and better than TED (Tooheys Extra Dry), in similar clear bottles. Not too bad, if U haven't any of your own wheat beer handy.

Back to my topic...Can anyone think why wheat beers have not taken off here as they have in Belgium and Deutschland, esp among young people?
Market it as an alcopop. Tasty and alcoholic...Girls go crazy for Witbier and Weizen in the homelands of these beers. :chug: They're not too bitter, and they have an interesting, sweetish flavour.
Maybe the breweries need to market wheat beer to the right crowd. U know, the way they market New and Veeb to the average punter. If you're a bloke, this is what U drink...and a lot of them do! How about: "What! You're a girl and you drink beer? Isn't that a bloke's drink? No it isn't. Yep I do. Try this one..."

Our job is to share our beers and advocate for good beer. Didn't I see a thread about beer evangelism?
Brew and share wheat beer. it is a good thing.

Anyway, I should set up a poll to ask what % of the netizens here have never tried wheat, and what turns people off it (apart from the gut).

What did I say? :p

Seth testifying again (apologies if U feel I was wasting your time) :beer:
 

bartron

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Dunkel_Boy said:
I think the Australian market is improving, with more people enjoying Coopers and James Squire/Little Creatures/Blue Tongue/others becoming a lot more common.
I'd have to agree on that point...at least among my circle of friends. It's rare that a night at the pub results in "4 VB's please" as it's more likely that we'd try something different if its on tap, but then 'boutique' beers are trendy in Canberra at the moment (rarely twice in different pubs though). Same can't be said in my home town though....2000 population, 6 pubs and the choice is Reches, VB, New, Old, Carlton Draught or "some of that fancy crap in the fridge" (referring to the 14 odd bottles of various import stuff left over from that bonus case 2 years ago).

I just think it's a pity that becasue of the "Aussie Bloke(tm)" mentality and the scale of economics I'm paying $5 - $6 as opposed to only a couple of bucks (it's been so long now I can't remember the price exactly...only that the shouts a cheaper)....God knows that dollar for dollar I'll get more enjoyment though, even if the 'on tap' selection is limited.

Steve Lacey said:
As my friend Pete says, life is to short to drink crap beer
Cheers to that :beer:

Bartron
 

spog

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hmm,educating,our should i say re-educating the palate,as one would say is simply marvelous old boy hmm what eh.if you like it fine if not you dont.but there are some fantastic micro,international brews out there no doubt.
 

nonicman

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Reading about the UK brew scene it seems that the Government has introduced a tiered excise system, scaling the excise to the volume brewed. It allows the small brewer to be price competitive. Quality beer at a good price sounds good :)

Significant changes have happened in the industry in the last 10-15 years - the Guest Beer Provision made brewing viable for a generation of micros in the 1990s; and the Governments decision a few years ago to halve the excise duty (tax) paid by most micros has seen increased investment and expansion once again. I think that quality and distinctiveness are key to survival for a brewery of any size or shape. Breweries of different types will measure their success in different ways so a one-man-band micro might be happy to brew great beer and have sufficient local outlets to sell it; with no plans to expand and thus complicate the way he works. That sounds like one kind of success to me. A regional or larger micro, perhaps with shareholders, might see that approach to business as stagnation - not striving for the profit and expansion that might be gained. My view is that there is room for success in the industry for quality brewers of all types, I hope I can be one of them.
from:
Ratebeer article by Silktork with an up and coming UK brewer, Mike McGuigan
 

johnno

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Steve Lacey said:
It's going to be a long hard haul, but there is definitely a need to re-introduce a proper range of choice for consumers. As my friend Pete says, life is to short to drink crap beer.

steve
[post="49682"][/post]​
The only long hard haul is for the people that drink any old beer. I reckon the choice is already there. The smart ones drink good stuff the others...well..

Johnno
 

dickTed

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It's just further evidence that the average aussie is a fkwit who is just as happy to drink cat's piss as he or she is to bend over and cop it in the brown from Johnny Howard who in turn, being so average, is bending over for George W Bush, etc, etc.

Fortunately, home brewers aren't average, 'cause they prefer better beer.

Those brewers who only do it because it's cheaper wouldn't bother with a forum like this, because they will always be happy with the ingredients they can get at the supermarket. ie, Coopers Lager kit with white sugar or dextrose. In fact, I'd say VB and XXXX are too good for them.
 

jayse

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Hi barton,
Forgive me but iam drunk and stupid and i don't really get the question!
why? iam sure you can figure out why!
crap? of course its crap at least you know its crap, just take it at face value, theres no big mystery why they make crap yellow fizzy piss!
One thing i'll note is you really can't expect a straight answer from craft brewers!
reading though some replies here from some brewers and i wonder why they even bother trying to give a answer to your question, I know i tried reading the replies but my brain just wouldn't let me read on.
My addvice is get over it and move on!
sorry iam not usaully this arogant or ignorant but to me this thread seems a little silly.


Jayse
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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I guess because breweries are run by cost accountants for the shareholders. Cut costs and don't worry about quality, then use lots of advertising to get the suckers to drink the crap.

Increasing cost of ingredients 20% and rasing the price 50% of a more premium product makes sense to me. . .

Jovial Monk
 

Batz

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jayse said:
sorry iam not usaully this arogant or ignorant
Jayse


Really Jayse? :blink:

Lets ask GMK about that :lol: :lol:

Batz
 

PeterS

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bartron said:
Sorry if this turned into a bit of a rant. Anyone working (or worked) for a major brewer care to comment?

:beer:

Bartron
[post="49673"][/post]​

Sorry, but I do not qualify to comment since I do not and never worked for a major brewer. In fact I kept them employed for many years before I sacked them all and decided to start my own brewery at home.

You did pick a good subject though, it created a lot of interest.

Keep on Brewin'

Cheers...

:chug:
 

big d

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well as a major shareholder in a mega brewery i demand.....
less cost to produce
more profit to the shareholder
lower wages to the workers
lower price per tonne to the grain grower
more profit to the share holder
lower cost to cart the product around the country.(how else do you get cheap beer for the same price per carton in any capital city)
less flavour but better marketing stratergies.(hence the yuppie boom)
more profit to the share holder
better check how the sterling is going
gimmicky give away promos to promote the product.
more profit
mmmmm ive got heaps more but have to check my market share ;)

:beer:
big d :lol:
 

bartron

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Economics???.....Hmmmmm......I don'tbuy it <_<

Unless breweries are making their beer from a big kit (i.e. some type of extract) I don't see how one style of beer would cost more to produce than another or whay they at least can't make it nicer. Even when taking into account the smaller distribution, niche market of 'boutique' style beers it still shouldn't cost twice as much as regular 'aussie' beer....especially when we can brew better stuff at home for cents per bottle. And I haven't met someone yet that has prefered VB over a good homebrew (or even an average homebrew)

I guess it's like cakes. You can buy specialty cakes that are nice...your regular cake from woolies is ok....packet cake lets you bake your own woolies cake.....but when you use all raw ingredients you can make something that stands out (or flops....at least with cakes you can lick the bowl after)

Cheers :beer:

Bartron
 

Sean

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[I think water, temperature and yeast are big players in the 'crap beer arena'. It's not feasible to change the quality of water on a bulk basis, ...
On the contrary. (At least in the UK) most big brewers 'clean' their water of virtually all impurities and then add back what they want, so they have complete control and conistency. Even in Burton-on-Trent. :eek:
 

Sean

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Ultimately, any 'improvement' is going to cost them more money to make, and yet VB and similar crap completely outsell anything decent. No-one is going to sell more beer or make more money by improving the flavour of VB. The big brewers aren't in the business of changing people's palates, because there is nothing in it for them.

Similarly, why would they sell good beer cheaply, when they can sell it at a higher price.

In the end, all their free cash is spent in marketing, because that gets the biggest bang-for-buck for them.

The only people with the means and motive to really make a difference are the middle players - but there is only one left in this country - Coopers.
 

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