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Today's beer run - both are labeled as malt beverages - should I be concerned?


Philander Seabury
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As near as I can tell, all beers are malt beverages but not all malt beverages are beer. The internet doesn't seem to have a good consensus on the definition.  One that seems very plausible is malt beverage uses less hops and more other flavoring stuffs like spices and such, and in this case, both of the ones I bought are pretty highly flavored;  Brewdog Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout and O'Fallon DAD's Original Oatmeal Stout.  Both are labeled as "Malt Beverage with Natural Flavor". 

Malt liquor keeps coming up, and I wonder if the beer like ones like Colt 45 do have less or no hops.  I am SO CONFUSED!  And I wonder if it is a regulatory requirement or something. For better or worse, when I take the time to notice one labeled as malt beverage, I would usually pass it over, but I did not look on either of these.  But I have no idea if there is any basis to eschew them, besides trying to be a beer snob. :D

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Home brewer and long time beer expert. Malt liquor is a beer with a higher alcohol content, generally 6 percent or more. To be labeled ‘beer’, 5 percent or less. Rules have relaxed over the years but I remember in my youth looking for malt liquor beers to raise the buzz levels. 

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3 minutes ago, Philander Seabury said:

Its snot malt liquor that is the question, it is malt beverage.

Sorry, malt beverages are not beer. They may use simular ingreedients, but it snot beer. Alcopops are sold as “malt beverages” to appeal to tastes that look for kool aid flavor with a kick. Kids raised on participation trophies and sunny delight foil sippy packs want a buzz from similar tasting liquids. Coors light is too strong. This is why Zima was created. 

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14 minutes ago, Philander Seabury said:

Looks like it could be bureaucratic bullshit.  5% abv seems to come up a lot - some references say it is beer up to 5% and malt beverage above 5%. This is vexing.

https://www.ttb.gov/images/pdfs/rulings/2008-3.pdf

Reminder: you live in a state that will not permit you to pump your own gas. I imagine that if you bought the same product in Pennsylvania it would not say “malt beverage” on the container. Blame the game, not the playa. 

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OK, this says that malt beverage is just the most general term.  Not sure why this matters to TTB (formerly AFT) if there is no tax difference.  There can be state tax differences based on alcohol content though.

https://www.ttb.gov/images/pdfs/beer-bam/chapter4.pdf

I would think from a purely marketing perspective the brewer would not want to put "malt beverage" on the label if they didn't have to.  We may need Buffalo Jim since it seems it could be related to import export issues. :D

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True story: Stone Brewing in San Diego was looking to establish a location to brew beers and sell on the lucrative east coast. The two cities under consideration were Columbus OH (home turf of one of the founders) and Richmond VA. Richmond VA was selected as Ohio had a state law that prohibited the production of beers higher than 12% abv. Stone made experimental beers that topped that limit. Ohio repealed the restriction after Richmond VA had been selected but the damage was done. Jobs and tax revenues went to VA.

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9 minutes ago, Old No. 7 said:

True story: Stone Brewing in San Diego was looking to establish a location to brew beers and sell on the lucrative east coast. The two cities under consideration were Columbus OH (home turf of one of the founders) and Richmond VA. Richmond VA was selected as Ohio had a state law that prohibited the production of beers higher than 12% abv. Stone made experimental beers that topped that limit. Ohio repealed the restriction after Richmond VA had been selected but the damage was done. Jobs and tax revenues went to VA.

yeah, I remember from my college days in PA near the Ohio border Ohio beer was limited to 3.2%. :wacko:

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1 hour ago, Philander Seabury said:

OK, this says that malt beverage is just the most general term.  Not sure why this matters to TTB (formerly AFT) if there is no tax difference.  There can be state tax differences based on alcohol content though.

https://www.ttb.gov/images/pdfs/beer-bam/chapter4.pdf

I would think from a purely marketing perspective the brewer would not want to put "malt beverage" on the label if they didn't have to.  We may need Buffalo Jim since it seems it could be related to import export issues. :D

To me, if I drink it and I like it, that’s enough for me.   😊 

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1 hour ago, Philander Seabury said:

yeah, I remember from my college days in PA near the Ohio border Ohio beer was limited to 3.2%. :wacko:

Ohio still has State run liquor stores if you want to buy the hard stuff. At least in Cincinnati there are still places where you drive through your car and point at the beer and wine that you want and they load up your car. Don't even have to get out.

The old 3.2 beer law was for drinkers between 18 and 21 years old. You had to drink a couple more beers to get the same buzz. Kentucky changed their drinking laws to 21 YO sooner than Ohio so we would drive over to Ohio to drink beer.

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