From the HBD Archive
From: sjsca4!greg@uunet.UU.NET (Greg Wageman)
Subject: Re: Homebrew Digest #172 (June 09, 1989)
Date: 1989-06-09 16:05:27 GMT

I would like to make a couple of comments regarding a certain amount of
intolerance I've been seeing here lately. The first incident was in
response to Dave Line's comment about using saccharine to provide a
non-fermenting, residual sweetness. It elicited this comment from "Dr.
T. Andrews":

>I don't know where Dave Line got the idea to add saccharin to
>home-brew. Sure, it won't ferment. Neither will dirt.

>Besides the unfortunate health effects, the stuff tastes very
>bad, and leaves an unpleasant aftertaste. Avoid it like taxes.

Perhaps Dr. Andrews (that's not an M.D., is it, Dr. Andrews?) could
produce a medical journal reference which documents these "unfortunate
health effects"? Saccharine has been in use as an artificial sweetener
for over 20 years, yet I've not heard of one documented case of any
*human* illness attributed to it, tumors in mouse bladders
notwithstanding. If not, then you are only spreading rumor and
innuendo. That is not the purpose of this newsletter.

Many people, myself included, can drink saccharine-sweetened products
without noticing any strange or unpleasant tastes. Many others
cannot. Homebrewers have always been particularly experimental and
innovative with their brews, and comments like this only discourage
that effort. While I myself and others would have recommended lactose
for this purpose, we should remember that there are also people who
cannot digest lactose (milk sugar). Lactose gives such people severe
and unpleasant digestive problems, something that can hardly be said of

The second comment to which I must reply comes from Erik Henchal. In
response to Tom Burgess's posting about brewing with "adjuncts" ;-) he writes:

>Excuss me a minute, while I flame. 1) Hops and that other herb
>to which you are referring, besides being plants, are not
>related. 2) Why would you put anything in beer or encourage
>others to use ingredients which contribute negatively to the
>flavor and natural aroma of beer? 3)If you want to use drugs, go
>ahead. But if you want to brew REAL beer, use only hops, malt,
>water and yeast.

It is true that Cannabis Sativa and Humulus Lupulus are not related.
However, who appointed you the absolute judge of what should and should
not be put in beer? Charlie Papazian describes a considerable number
of flavorings that have been tried in beer, including chocolate, spruce
and fowl (fortunately, not together).

Remember, beer isn't sacred (are those cries of "Burn the Blasphemer!"
I hear from the audience?). We homebrewers do not have to adhere to
the Rheinheitsgebot. Most of the best beers and ales I've had, deviate
from it greatly, adding such flavorings as cherries and ginger, in
addition to unmalted and/or carmelized grains. American beer brewing
has a long and varied history. Hops were not always used as the
bittering agent, as anyone with a copy of "The Complete Joy" has
already learned. There is no reason that we should stop experimenting
with whatever flavoring agents suit our whims.

Remember, also, that one of the byproducts of fermentation of malt
sugar is alchohol, which is also a drug. It does not reflect well on
homebrewers to get on a high horse about "natural ingredients" and
"drugs", when 3-5% (or more) of our product is a known intoxicant and
toxin. "Natural" is not necessarily "healthful". Cyanide is
"natural", too.

Let's try to keep things in perspective, and be more open to
suggestions and ideas in the future, OK?


Greg Wageman DOMAIN:
Schlumberger Technologies UUCP: ...!uunet!sjsca4!greg
1601 Technology Drive CIS: 74016,352
San Jose, CA 95110-1397
(408) 437-5198

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