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Seeking malty, golden, lightly hopped beer

I'm playing with a soup recipe and would like to include beer as an ingredient, but I'm not sure what the perfect beer is. I would like the beer to contribute a distinctly malty flavor, and a touch of sweetness would be nice. It must be a light colored beer. Not too bitter, less bitter than a traditional German pilsner, please. Could be an ale or lager. Must not be strongly phenolic.
Must be available in Rhode Island or Massachusetts.
I was thinking a German style bock, but American craft brewers seem to always interpret that style as more of an amber beer, and I'm looking for a bit lighter color.
Any suggestions?

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  1. When you talk about pronounced malt flavor I first think of great american barleywines. The problem is they won't have the light color you're looking for. As a solution you would not have to use very much to impart these flavor notes so that might be a workaround to the color issue... just use less because you need less. Not sure which available in your area, but you probably get dogfish in which case immortale is awesome.

    What will be the main liquid ingredient of the soup?

    16 Replies
    1. re: TombstoneShadow

      American Barleywines (e.g. Bigfoot) can be extremely hoppy.

      1. re: Chinon00

        Right, British will work better. I wonder how Fuller's Vintage Ale would perform?

        1. re: Jim Dorsch

          No barleywines are light in color. Munich Helles seems ideal for the OP. Generous malt, almost sweet, subtle hop presence, light colored. Had a Weihenstephaner Original last week. Awesome brew.

          1. re: Chinon00

            "Had a Weihenstephaner Original last week". As did I however, I was surprisingly left unimpressed.

            1. re: JAB

              What are some Munich Helles lagers that you like?

              1. re: Chinon00

                None that I can name. Perhaps, that's it. It may be a style that's not to my liking. I knew that this was a highly rated version and was excited to try it but...

                1. re: JAB

                  No matter how highly rated a Munich Helles is it won't taste like an IPA.

                  1. re: Chinon00

                    I wasn't anticipating the flavor of an IPA but, I was anticipating flavor.

                    1. re: JAB

                      What are you favorite low hopped beers?

                      1. re: Chinon00

                        I'm fond of many Pilsners / Pilseners both German and Czech.

                        1. re: JAB

                          Perhaps you just don't care for malty beers. Do you like bocks, doppelbocks, Scotch ales?

                          1. re: JAB

                            Czech pils run about 20 IBUs higher than Munich Helles; and there's even a higher disparity when it comes to hefeweizen, dunkelweiss, and wit. Do you appreciate any of those styles?

                            1. re: Chinon00

                              Hefs and Wits not so much. I can't immediately recall having had a dunkelweiss. I do however look forward to trying a Weihenstaphaner Hef when the opportunity presents itself.

                        2. re: JAB

                          Malt has flavor. It's more subtle than hops, but it is there. Promise.

                          1. re: Josh

                            The aroma and flavor of fresh wort reminds me of Grape-Nuts, which is logical, since that cereal includes malt as an ingredient.

        2. Narragansett Bock
          Beck's Sapphire
          Berkshire Steel Rail

          1. Traditional Dunkles Bocks are dark amber/brown, while Maibocks/Helles Bocks are pale- those are the ones you are looking for. Einbecker Mai-Urbock can be stellar as long as you get some that has not been too exposed to the light (hopefully your local shopkeeper will get you a sixer from a sealed case).

            1. Considering the flavor it seems you're looking for, why bother using a beer at all? Why not just buy some specialty malts at a homebrew shop and steep them in the broth? Especially if you're looking for something less bitter than a German pilsner.

              1. Hacker-Pschorr Anno 1417 might work

                  1. How about trying the decidedly downmarket Steel Reserve at 8% abv. It is full and heavy, but not really that hoppy. Mostly it is quite malty and has a very light color.

                    1. Thanks for all the ideas, some very interesting thoughts here. The recipe is a variation on one of my standard dishes - a soup of chopped cabbage,potato, mirepoix, whatever sausage or ham was on hand, and some beer. I've been thinking of refining it by adding other root vegetables like turnips and parsnips and using Brussels sprouts as the cabbage. I have picked up a few beers that I think will work:
                      Narragansett Bock -which was the first one I thought of
                      Ayinger Jarhundert - probably a safe and solid choice
                      Full Sail 25th Anniversary Pale Dopplebock - looking forward to trying this, I tend to enjoy the malt characters in Full Sail's lager offerings
                      Sam Adams Cinder Bock - I'm really intrigued by the smoked malt in this one, could add an interesting dimension to the soup
                      I came across some Einbecker Ur-Maibock, but the price was steep and the green bottles were dusty, so it didn't seem like a good bet.
                      Steel Reserve is, remarkably, one of the few budget priced beers I've never tried, as far as I can recall. (I have forgotten much of the 90's, when I really appreciated cheap beer.)
                      Josh's idea of just using malt is appealing, I may try that as well, and I think I will also set aside some unfermented wort the next time I brew to to use in cooking.
                      In the meantime, I will sacrifice myself by trying as many beers as possible until I find the perfect ingredient.

                          1. re: Chinon00

                            No, but from all of the descriptors the OP laid out for the requirement I think Budweiser comes closest. And if it is going in a soup I wouldn't spend a ton of money on it anyways.

                            "It must be a light colored beer. Not too bitter, less bitter than a traditional German pilsner, please. Could be an ale or lager. Must not be strongly phenolic. Must be available in Rhode Island or Massachusetts."

                            1. re: jpc8015

                              You ever have a Munich Helles lager?

                              1. re: Chinon00

                                I have. It was delicious. I would not waste it by putting it in a pot of soup.

                                1. re: jpc8015

                                  That wasn't the point it was which beer more accurately aligned w/ the OP's description. Munich Helles Lager is spot on. Budweiser is not.

                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                    But that is the point. The OP is looking for a beer to go into a pot of soup. Unless they are entering their soup into some cooking competition, then go with the Budweiser. The difference in the final product will be so minimal as to make a significantly more expensive beer a waste.

                                    If you want to put Munich Helles in a pot of soup go ahead. I will drink mine.

                                    1. re: jpc8015

                                      Your determination to save the OP $5 is admirable.

                                      1. re: jpc8015

                                        Question: if you were making mussels would your first choice of braising liquid be Budweiser or Kolsch?

                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                          clams and mussels call for sauv blanc, garlic, shallots, diced tomato, and basil. But that is a different board...

                                          1. re: jpc8015

                                            You my friend have never heard of Belgium. Moules Frites.

                                2. re: jpc8015

                                  Presumably the beer is meant to be a flavoring agent. The OP is looking for something malty, which means it should taste like malt. Budweiser is essentially flavorless and is certainly not malty.

                                  1. re: Josh

                                    I promise you, you would be able to tell no difference between two pots of soup; one made with a pint of Budweiser and one made with a pint of Paulaner Original M√ľnchner. So if there is no distinguishable difference, why not save the Paulaner for your glass?

                                    1. re: jpc8015

                                      OP says they want the beer to contribute a distinctly malty flavor. That doesn't sound like Budweiser to me, especially given the amount of adjuncts. For that matter I wouldn't use the Paulaner. I'd use doppelbock.

                                      1. re: Josh

                                        Doppelbock is far darker than the OP is looking to use. If color were no issue I would reccomend a stout.

                                        If we are looking for our favorite beer that meets the OP's description, then I would go with a Kolsch. But I would not use a Kolsch in soup. It would be a waste.

                                        1. re: jpc8015

                                          I agree it's darker than they asked for, but it does have the flavor profile they asked for. I don't agree that a stout would be better given that the OP wants maltiness + a touch of sweetness. Stouts make use of roasted grains which gives a roasty character which isn't the same as malty. Doppelbock's darkness comes from melanoidin and caramelization from boiling. The two flavor profiles are vastly different and only one of them is sweet.