26 days of beer

L is for light beer

I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that light beer is nothing more than full-strength beer that’s been watered down. But I figured it couldn’t be that simple, they must actually do something in the brewing to achieve the low-alcohol.


Well, I was right. Sort of. The OCB identifies four ways to make a light beer. The first is exactly what I outlined above. The second is pretty sneaky – just make the serving size smaller. Obviously 150ml of beer is going to have fewer calories than 375ml of the same beer.

The third way does include some actual brewing skill – mashing the grain for longer than normal so pretty much all of the carbohydrates are broken down into sugars, which will then get chomped on by yeast in the fermentation stage. Then they dilute it with water.

The last way is pretty much the same but, instead of extending the mash, the brewer adds ‘‘exogenous brewing enzymes’’ (whatever they are) into either the mash or the fermenting beer to break down carbs into simple sugars.  Then they dilute the beer.

All of which explains why light beer tastes so bad.

What’s the go here?: For those who have just stumbled across this post, I’m going through the Oxford Companion to Beer (OCB) and posting an entry for every letter. Why? Because I have a copy at home but hadn’t really gone through it page by page and I figured this would be an exercise that would force me to do that.

It's your shout

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