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Bud Light Corn Syrup Ad - A bunch of misinformation and fear mongering

gutterboy44

Member
Oct 27, 2017
656
Ithaca, NY
This is not a thread to debate the quality of Bud Light, American beer etc. I just want to inform people about the basics of beer brewing, adjuncts, sugars, fermentation, etc.

So many of you have likely seen the terrible Bud Light Corn Syrup ads tonight during the super bowl.

This ad campaign is horseshit for a few reasons.
1. Bud Light is an adjunct lager, just like Miller and Coor's. It uses rice and/or rice syrup as an additional fermentable sugar. Many other American adjunct lagers use rice or corn, or the syrup forms as an adjunct. An adjunct is the addition of any non-malt fermentable sugars. In regards to the big American macro beers, that means sugars from corn or rice. This is primarily a cost saving measure (there are some other technical benefits, eg less haze when using 6-row malt but that is a different topic) but throwing in some corn or rice with your malted barely saves money, especially at the scale of a macro brewery. If you want to get into the whole beer purity thing, you typically wouldn't use any adjuncts.

2. Corn Syrup is a highly fermentable sugar. That means when it is added to beer, yeast easily ferments it into C02 and alcohol. You are not drinking corn syrup when a beer utilizes it, it ferments out. Some sugars don't fully ferment like dextrins and others don't ferment at all, like lactose. Corn and rice sugars will primarily dry a beer out, not make it sweeter. Some forms of corn can yield a slight sweetness in the final product. This is not the same thing as having super sweet corn syrup in a fake maple syrup. Yeast loves that simple sugar and chews through it.

3. Corn Syrup =/= High Fructose Corn Syrup. Bud Light is leveraging the current backlash against HFCS and it's link to the obesity epidemic in america to scare uninformed people in to thinking they are drinking the big bad boogey man, HFCP in their favorite macro beers. This is bull shit fear mongering. Moreover, even if HFCS was used in a beer, it is still 96% fermentable so you would not be drinking gobs of HFCS like in a Coke, you would be primarily drinking the resulting alcohol after fermentation. Drinking a bunch of beer is not healthy, but if you drink a Coor's you are not drinking any HFCS like in a soda.

There are lot of other details about the brewing process and I am happy to try to answer as many questions as I can. But at the very least I want to inform people that sugar additives in American macro beers are there to be a low cost form of fermentable sugar to be consumed by yeast and make alcohol.


Here is a very basic crash course in how beer is made.
1. You mill malted barley or other malted grains
2. You steep these crushed grains in hot water for a hour or more. Enzymes convert the complex sugars in the malted barley into simple sugars during this time.
3. You seperate the grains from the liquid and then boil this sugary water for an hour or more. During this time you add hops for bittering and flavor at various points during the boil.
4. You cool down the hot sugar water to room temp (this varies by style) and put in in a fermentation vessel. This can be as simple as a plastic bucket with an air lock.
5. You add yeast and wait.
6. Anywhere from one to several weeks later, your happy yeast has consumed the sugars and converted them into alcohol and CO2
7. Carbonate and package your beer.
8. Drink the beer.


There is a tremendous amount of variables and details to brewing but the general concept above lays out the very basic flow of brewing beer. I highly encourage anyone interested in brewing beer to give homebrewing a try. With modern ingredients and kit recipes, it can be very easy to make beer in your own kitchen without spending much money. The Homebrewers Association is a great starting point.
 
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Brock Reiher

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
33,780
tbh I'm always okay with the corn industry being shit on on national TV, even if it's dishonest. it's not like I'm gonna buy bud light over miller light now because of it.
 
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gutterboy44

gutterboy44

Member
Oct 27, 2017
656
Ithaca, NY
tbh I'm always okay with the corn industry being shit on on national TV, even if it's dishonest. it's not like I'm gonna buy bud light over miller light now because of it.
The corn industry was not happy about the ad. I could give two shits about them as well. The conceit of the ad was that some how adding rice to a shitty beer is more pure than adding corn to a shitty beer. They want people to associate those other beers with HFCS and obesity epidemic.
 
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gutterboy44

gutterboy44

Member
Oct 27, 2017
656
Ithaca, NY
Big corn reaches to ResetEra, too?
No, I brew beer and it is laughable to pretend rice is good and corn is bad when it comes to domestic light beers. The beloved Pliny the Elder by Russian River uses corn sugar, no one is going to say that makes it less than Bud Light! All adjuncts have their time and place in brewing. For Bud Light, and the lot, it is all about cost savings, not purity. I don't like people being misinformed more than anything.
 

Burt

Member
Oct 28, 2017
2,908
The second that aired I turned to the nearest person and said "No one actually knows what that fucking means"
 
Feb 10, 2018
14,694
When watching that advert I would imagine the average viewer will be thinking, game of thrones, pirates of the Caribbean and bud light.
So all in all, quite a good advert..... for bud light.
People will probably not look into it and think bud light is better because it has no corn syrup.
But thank you for educating me on this subject.
 
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gutterboy44

gutterboy44

Member
Oct 27, 2017
656
Ithaca, NY
fuck high fructose corn syrup, i'm down with anything that vilifies it as it should be
and you are correct. I still have no idea what the fuck is happening.
Sugars in beer do not remain sugars (for the most part). They are fermented by yeast into alcohol. You are not drinking corn syrup in shitty american beers. You are drinking their byproducts after fermentation. In sodas and other sweet foods/drinks, you are actually drinking the corn syrup or HFCS, because no yeast is involved.
 
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gutterboy44

gutterboy44

Member
Oct 27, 2017
656
Ithaca, NY
how much difference does using corn as oppose to rice impart on the final result?



how do you feel about not reading?
The differences are more pronounced when not using the refined syrups. Flaked corn v. flaked rice do yield different flavors. Flaked corn is what is used in Mexican Lagers and Cream Ales. It gives a slight sweet corn flavor and a nice soft mouth feel. Flaked rice is nearly flavorless and can make a beer dry and crisp.
 
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TaterTots

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,020
Sugars in beer do not remain sugars (for the most part). They are fermented by yeast into alcohol. You are not drinking corn syrup in shitty american beers. You are drinking their byproducts after fermentation. In sodas and other sweet foods/drinks, you are actually drinking the corn syrup or HFCS, because no yeast is involved.
Ahh, so Bud Light was bragging about using corn syrup?
 
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gutterboy44

gutterboy44

Member
Oct 27, 2017
656
Ithaca, NY
Ahh, so Bud Light was bragging about using corn syrup?
Other way around. Bud Light was trying to sell the message that using rice in an adjunct lager is better than using corn. The main point was to get people to associate corn syrup in other american beers with high fructose corn syrup (they are not the same thing). When talking sugars in beer, it is all about fermentables. The only time you are going to get a much sweeter beer from a sugar source is lactose. Beer yeast cannot ferment this form of sugar so it stays in the beer the entire time. This is what gives the sweetness to Milk Stouts and Milkshake IPA's.
 

Aztechnology

Community Resettler
Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
7,719
fuck high fructose corn syrup, i'm down with anything that vilifies it as it should be
Holy crap did you miss the point lol.

Also I agree OP. You lay out good points, I also brew and reacted negatively to this. In many ways this parallels the dangerous attitudes towards GMO foods and such too. It's people not having a basic grasp on even the basic concepts of what goes into food.
 

Jonnax

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,089
Well one thing's for sure. Beer has a ton of calories. So drinking lots of any beer is going to make / keep you fat.
 

Koo

Member
Dec 10, 2017
1,779
Very informative OP!!

The commercial was very; 'Who gives a shit?' levels of territory though. I get they are trying to vilify HFCS but was there some new article/study recently that everyone is talking about and I somehow missed? Everyone knows it's bad, but it's literally everywhere. I don't see people throwing out their bread or tomato sauces or what have you. And if it's trying to target mother's fears about childhood obesity I think they'll continue keeping their kids away from beer, no matter how it was brewed.

And for people who actually don't care it feels like the commercial is a slap in the face. Like they would watch and go; 'But wait, I drink Coke/Dr.Pepper/Sprite/Mt.Dew/Monster/etc and that has corn syrup... is Bud Light saying they're too good for corn syrup? Are they looking down on me and the things I like?'

Just didn't seem an effective commercial at even what they were trying to accomplish. But maybe people were talking about it and that's all that matters? All press is good press?
 

applejuice

Member
Oct 27, 2017
409
Tampa, FL
I am a simple beer wench who hawks beer for a living and I'm already preparing myself to answer questions because of this ad. I have to hear dilly dilly and 'don't you mean WATER' all the time, now this airs. You can say fuck big corn and still be honest and not mislead people and spread misinformation. Also Coors and Miller are made by the same people... MillerCoors is literally the name of the company. Its the same castle.
 
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gutterboy44

gutterboy44

Member
Oct 27, 2017
656
Ithaca, NY
Thanks for explaining the science here.

But also fuck big 🌽
Fuck big beer more than anything. Corn and rice are still minority ingredients in American light beers. Malted barely is still the main source of fermentable sugars in all those light beers. All bourbon whiskey is made from corn. No one seems to care about Kentucky bourbons being 100% corn based.
 

massoluk

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,890
US Corn lobbyists are responsible for not an insignificant amount of misery in the World, right now, and I'm not being overly dramatic. Food shortage, deforestation, subsidy that redirect fund from other more viable energy sources, obesity. Anything that fuck them, I'm cool with it.
 

Spenny

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,904
Los Angeles
Fuck big beer more than anything. Corn and rice are still minority ingredients in American light beers. Malted barely is still the main source of fermentable sugars in all those light beers. All bourbon whiskey is made from corn. No one seems to care about Kentucky bourbons being 100% corn based.
Eh, fuck bourbon too. I’ll stick with scotch.
 

LL_Decitrig

User-Requested Ban
Banned
Oct 27, 2017
10,334
Sunderland
Here is a very basic crash course in how beer is made.
1. You mill malted barley or other malted grains
2. You steep these crushed grains in hot water for a hour or more. Enzymes convert the complex sugars in the malted barley into simple sugars during this time.
3. You seperate the grains from the liquid and then boil this sugary water for an hour or more. During this time you add hops for bittering and flavor at various points during the boil.
4. You cool down the hot sugar water to room temp (this varies by style) and put in in a fermentation vessel. This can be as simple as a plastic bucket with an air lock.
5. You add yeast and wait.
6. Anywhere from one to several weeks later, your happy yeast has consumed the sugars and converted them into alcohol and CO2
7. Carbonate and package your beer.
8. Drink the beer.


There is a tremendous amount of variables and details to brewing but the general concept above lays out the very basic flow of brewing beer. I highly encourage anyone interested in brewing beer to give homebrewing a try. With modern ingredients and kit recipes, it can be very easy to make beer in your own kitchen without spending much money. The Homebrewers Association is a great starting point.
Thanks for this post. It's great to see someone dispelling the nonsense. I loved the ad as a Monty Python-inspired skit, but corn syrup isn't the devil and it won't make you obese if it's used to make beer.
 

JCizzle

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
1,770
How the hell did people back in the day figure this out, lol.

"1. You mill malted barley or other malted grains
2. You steep these crushed grains in hot water for a hour or more. Enzymes convert the complex sugars in the malted barley into simple sugars during this time.
3. You seperate the grains from the liquid and then boil this sugary water for an hour or more. During this time you add hops for bittering and flavor at various points during the boil.
4. You cool down the hot sugar water to room temp (this varies by style) and put in in a fermentation vessel. This can be as simple as a plastic bucket with an air lock.
5. You add yeast and wait.
6. Anywhere from one to several weeks later, your happy yeast has consumed the sugars and converted them into alcohol and CO2"
 

siddx

Banned
Dec 25, 2017
1,807
User Banned (Permanent): Consistent history of hostility and antagonizing other members; numerous accumulated infractions.
I appreciate what you trying to do but in an effort to sound smart you are confusing most people coming in here. Remember that the majority of people on this site are pretty fucking dumb. You gotta keep it simple and short. An 80 page essay isn't necessary, just explain that the corn syrup added to beer is fermented and turned to alcohol so there isnt any actual corn syrup in the final product.
 

Theshow84

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
198
SOMD
I picture OP pausing the game and opening a power point presentation for everyone at the super bowl party explaining why he disliked that commercial.
 

LL_Decitrig

User-Requested Ban
Banned
Oct 27, 2017
10,334
Sunderland
How the hell did people back in the day figure this out, lol.
Trial and error. Ale and wine were likely developed to make stored water more drinkable. Natural fermentation was observed, and then the process was synthesized by adding yeasts that were known to produce pleasant results.

in the modern era the process has been industrialised, for instance by adding an extra carbonation process at the end to suit popular expectations.
 

Biggersmaller

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,925
Minneapolis
Fuck corn syrup = fuck farmers.

i.e. the motherfuckers who heavily voted for Trump after Democrats provided them with subsidy after subsidy. The world has no idea what food would cost without the many local and Federal farm bills that Republicans fight to the death.

So fuck corn syrup. Great ad.