From the HBD Archive
From: (John Mellby)
Subject: Non-Alcoholic Beer rates poorly! Film at 11
Date: 1990-05-07 14:17:06 GMT

The Offical Mellby Beer-Tastings, year 3.

This is the Sixteenth such tasting stretching back over two years.
This note includes tastings number 14 (which was previously lost)
and 16. I tried to slip in a non-alcoholic beer, which was NOT well

Since the AHA just revised the tasting scores,
moving 4 points from Appearance to Taste, and changing the Aroma subheadings,
we made up new forms. Our forms now correspond to the new American
Homebrewer Association's forms.

The tastings, in reverse chronological order were of:
Misc. Lagers (including one Non-alcoholic)
Ales, mainly American
Oregon and Michigan (ok its weird, but this is where our last trips were)
Available Ales (i.e. purchaseable in Dallas)
Northern Beers (Northern US and Canadian)
Belgian (and other odd European Beers)
California Micro-beers
Lagers, mostly American microbreweries
Ales (an odd lot which turned out to be poor quality)
Ales (Strong, including porters, stout)
Mixed Lagers
Christmas and speciality beers
Mixed (mostly ales)

A few preliminary comments are necessary. In general we are tasting
beers which are not commercially available in Texas (curse these
state laws!). This means we bring them back from long distances.
For example, I brought back a lot of beer from Berose Liquors in
Washington D.C., including a lot of microbrewery beer. Some of that
was send from Washington State to D.C. and I brought it from there to
Texas. Hence some beer is not as fresh as it should be. We have at
times noticed a distinct difference between two bottles of the same
beer, as one may have been sitting on some shelves for a couple of months.

In addition to that, when tasting microbrewery beer there may be an
amount of sediment in the bottle. This is normally not a problem
(you have sediment in wine don't you?), but when sharing a bottle
between 3-4 people the sediment gets stirred up and the last person
may have a less-than-clear beer. Occasionally these dregs have a
little worse taste, hence the ratings for a beer may vary from bottle
to bottle and from taster to taster.

Overall, the most important thing we have learned is:
The condition under which the retailer keeps the beer is crucial!
Age, light, and handling all can cause a good beer to rapidly become bad.
Also we have learned to drink the beer rather than keeping it for
extended periods (except with a few bottle-conditioned beer, like
Celebration Ale, Thomas Hardy, etc.)

On with the beer:

Misc. Lagers
- ---- ------
5/4/90 These come from the trip to Denver and a trip to Dayton last week.
I also threw in a non-alcoholic beer to see what the reaction would be.
This was a blind tasting and I hoped the non-alcoholic beer would
sneak in, but it still rated lowest! Over the 16 tastings we have tried
125 beers, and the non-alcoholic beer rated 121st!

JRM Roy Sharon MikeG Paul Cary Doug MikeLeonard Total Ave
Portland 35 37 34 28 35 29 34 32 264 33.0
Maes Pils 40 35 32 37 30 40 36 30.5 280 35.1
Thomas-Brau Non 18 17 19 20 27 28 22 151 21.6
Pacific Dry 29 33 31 31 29 30 34 26 243 30.4
Berghoff Orig 25 38 36 41 35 34 37 35.5 281 35.2
Gater 25 30 29 31 31 28 37 27.5 238 29.8
Cold Spring 16 29 18 22 28 27 26 24 190 23.8
Aegean 33 36 36 40 33 32 39 31.5 280 35.1

Portland Lager, from Maine Coast Brewing was an amber-coloured lager, diacetyl
and malt in the aroma, and a little sweet taste. A little thin with a
slightly metallic aftertaste.

Maes Pils, Belgium. I had a bottle last weekend and expected this to
rate higher. Half the people disagreed and rated it low, while half
rated it high. I thought the sharp, astringent, hoppy aftertaste was very
good, but others thought it metallic and disliked it.

Thomas-Brau non-alcoholic lager, Paulaner. After the complaints about Maes
I tried to sneak in the non-alcoholic beer. It was universally disliked
with people claiming it was old, thin, skunky, and severly underhopped.
Mike Leonard (owning a local homebrew store) guessed it was non-alcoholic
and refused to rate it.

Pete's Pacific Dry. I dumped in the whole bottles and got a little sediment
in so this was a little cloudy. The aroma was nice (citrus?). The taste
was thin and maybe cardboardy, with a slight aftertaste.

Berghoff Original, contract-brewed (?) by Huber in Monroe Wisconsin. This
claimed to be a Dortmunder style. It was definitely old but still good.
(I found it unpleasantly old but was strongly outvoted by everyone!)
Not just cloudly, but had floating islands! They found it gentle, sweet,
lingering hops.

Growlin' Gater Lager, "The Beer with a Bite" - Florida?
This was a "Roy Special", I.E. a beer he brought to make fun of us.
This was in a painted green bottle and was definitely skunky. This
didn't just have islands floating, it had continents! They decided
it was a well-made but weak beer, good for mowing the lawn or ball games.

Cold Spring Export, Minnesota. This was known in Minnesota for the cheapest
case price for beer. Floaters again. This bottle was again old and thin,
and basically a weak American lager.

Aegean, Greece. A surprise. This still had floaters, but it had
an ok aroma, reasonable taste (compared to today's selections)
and a mouthfilling body.

- ----
Actually this occurred before the last Ale tasting, but the notes got lost.
We were basically clearing out a load of stuff which had accumulated and
didn't fit elsewhere.

John My latest homebrew ale (actually this was contaminated a little)
Dock Dock Street Amber
M100 Mitchell's Centenary Ale, Mitchells of Lancaster
RCou Ruddles County Ale
RBit Ruddles Bitter Ale
Trip Tripel Affligem Abbey Ale
Cors Corsendonk, Bry de Block; Flanders Brown Ale
Sat Satan Ale, ?

JRM Roy Sharon MikeG Tim Total
John 32 33 33 33 29 160 32.0
Dock 26 26 26
M100 32 34 33 31 130 32.5
Rcou 38 35 39 34 146 36.5
Rbit 28 35 19 25 107 26.8
Trip 43 43 33 44 163 40.8
Cors 42 42 36 41 161 40.3
Sat 29 29 29.0

Most of my notes are gone, but ...
Dock Street and Satan were both really too bad off to rate.
Satan, in a wine-bottle, seemed to be to be a new beer, created to
take advantage of the USA's new found interest in imported beer.
Mitchells (like other bottles I have found) was a strong ale, but
old enough to be past its peak.
Ruddles County Ale was quite good.
The Affligem and Corsendonk Belgian ales were both excellent ales.

If anyone is interested I have the complete rankings of the beers,
and all the notes, although the complete notes is now around 44kb long!

Surviving the American Dream
John R. Mellby Texas Instruments P.O.Box 660246, MS 3645
Dallas Texas, 75266
(214)517-5370 (214)343-7585
* "Panama came at an ideal time. Congress was out of session. *
* It was Christmas time. Our workload was rather slow. ... So *
* it was an ideal time to have a quick war." *
* -- General Hansford Johnson *

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