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View Full Version : Why Do People Put Limes in Their Beer? Answered!



DanCurranJr
05-05-2010, 06:37 PM
Celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a “beer” and a wedge of lime? Awesome!

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself where the whole lime thing started? I know, you put it in yours because you “like the taste” – we’ll get to that later.

We have had this conversation over and over again - finally thought we would post the whole story:

http://www.devilscanyonbrewery.com/general-beer-news/why-do-people-put-limes-in-their-beer-answered/

wildcrafter
05-05-2010, 06:48 PM
Convenient answer perhaps, but I think folks like those citrus flavors in a beer.

Many brews are out there with citrus signatures,,,on purpose and from the start,,,and not to mask off flavors.

Fruits can give those flavors of citrus,,,if that is what's offensive,,the addition of fruit flavors to beer,,,what will you think when we get our H. L. var. neomexicana hops online with super major citrus profiles,,,and from only hop cones,,,no fruit?:confused:

lbc llc
05-05-2010, 11:34 PM
some do like the fruity and citrus flavors in the beer. i am a big fan of the flavors when generated by hops or rind, but have never found the addition of lime, orange or lemon in the glass to add to a decent or good beer. I tend to lean toward the following 1) air of sophistication 2) masking a cheap spoiling beer's skunked flavor while trying to drink an import or 3) prefer to drink whiskey or other beverages, but want to drink with the pals - cover that junk up.

South County
05-06-2010, 08:22 AM
A family friend, owner/bartender for 30 years, told me it was the only real way he could get Corona to move. It was a hard sell back then and via the word of mouth he heard from another bar acquaintance that if you stuff a lime in the bottle it sold rather well. I would equate that to the fact that it obviously has a fad factor to it, "I want the cool drink with fruit", and the flavor combo definitely works for some people. So much so that AB added bud light lime to its stable.

Now, chicken or the egg, I couldn't find a definitive answer as to who started it, Corona or the beer drinker. You know damn well if Corona noticed its sales increasing and it was due to a user generated trend, they are gonna embrace it full force. Now their marketing exclusively features limes. I would bet on the latter of the two.

In the rare situation I have to drink a corona, usually to be polite, I still have to gag it down, fruit or not.

olllllo
05-06-2010, 08:49 AM
I've added lime to a stout to give it some sour twang. Especially good with an extra foreign stout.

Not my stout mind you. ;)

gabewilson50
05-06-2010, 08:53 AM
Daniel,

Cheers to you for trying to educate the masses about beer. I do have a couple of critiques, though.

In your explanation you suggest that green glass is as effective as amber/brown glass in preventing lightstruck beer and that the problem is with clear glass. This is false. Amber/brown glass is the only effective bottle color for blocking the wavelength responsible for catalyzing the "skunking" reaction. Green glass is just as bad as clear.

You also mention that leaving a glass of your beer out in the sun on a hot day for 30 minutes will highlight the skunky aroma. While the beer will certainly be warm, flat, and stale, due to the volatility of the thiols it probably won't smell much like a skunk. In fact, one way to eliminate the skunky aroma of a lightstruck beer is to pour it into a glass and allow it to sit for a short time before drinking. In the bottle, however, those same chemicals are concentrated in the bottleneck and create olfactory havoc as the bottle is brought to the lips (or immediately after pouring into a glass).

As much as I'd love to believe that the tradition of adding lemon/lime to Mexican beer comes from the need to mask poor flavors, I don't think I can actually believe it. It's a tradition all over Latin America to add lemon juice (or lemonade) & salt to a light lager, called a michelada (or chelada), and that's true whether it's a country that bottles its beer in clear, green, or amber bottles. I suspect that adding a lime or lemon to a bottle of beer is a low maintenance attempt at making a michelada.

As an aside, I don't think that there are many people on this forum who are putting citrus in their beer, even on the 5th of May. I myself enjoyed some Negra Modelos, sans fruit, with my chicken enchiladas last night.:D

Cheers!

--Gabe

beerking1
05-06-2010, 01:26 PM
You also mention that leaving a glass of your beer out in the sun on a hot day for 30 minutes will highlight the skunky aroma. While the beer will certainly be warm, flat, and stale, due to the volatility of the thiols it probably won't smell much like a skunk. In fact, one way to eliminate the skunky aroma of a lightstruck beer is to pour it into a glass and allow it to sit for a short time before drinking. In the bottle, however, those same chemicals are concentrated in the bottleneck and create olfactory havoc as the bottle is brought to the lips (or immediately after pouring into a glass).

Hmmm...I have actually experienced skunking of a beer that was not skunky when poured. It was a Gaffel Kolsch, and I was enjoying it outside in the sun. By halfway through the Stang it could pick up on skunk aroma that was not there when it was first poured. I never had any skunk character from other bottles in that 6-pack (all of which were consumed indoors).

gabewilson50
05-06-2010, 04:34 PM
Hmmm...I have actually experienced skunking of a beer that was not skunky when poured. It was a Gaffel Kolsch, and I was enjoying it outside in the sun. By halfway through the Stang it could pick up on skunk aroma that was not there when it was first poured. I never had any skunk character from other bottles in that 6-pack (all of which were consumed indoors).

Fair enough. That's why I said "probably" there.

liammckenna
05-06-2010, 04:58 PM
In your explanation you suggest that green glass is as effective as amber/brown glass in preventing lightstruck beer and that the problem is with clear glass. This is false. Amber/brown glass is the only effective bottle color for blocking the wavelength responsible for catalyzing the "skunking" reaction. Green glass is just as bad as clear.



Indeed.

In fact the best colour of glass to protect beer from UV oxidation is red. Unfortunately it is exhorbitantily expensive (red glass) and thus amber/brown is the reasonable and rational alternative.

Having constructed a light box to mimic the wavelength and intensity of noonday sun in order to test this particular phenomenon (for a sizable brewery who might be embarassed if I mentioned their name - as they continue to package in clear glass - although they us the tetrahydro-form hop extract to mitigate UV oxidation), I can definitely echo the sentiments that green glass is as bad as clear (or nearly - the difference is a mere second or two in favour of the green)

Lime, unlike most citrus (minus the rind, of course), has a distinct bitter edge to it. Perhaps this is what makes it work well in 'wet air' beers. Perhaps this contributes a certain something to balance the 'wet paper bag' graininess of an otherwise indistinct alcoholic soda pop?

Perhaps not.

Pax.

Liam

mr.jay
05-08-2010, 03:20 PM
Arriving to the conversation late, but I was told (by an older gentleman I knew who was from Mexico) that lime juice was used to keep flies and other insects from flying into the bottle. Apparently, they don't like citrus. The lime would not get squeezed, but instead would be used to "cap" the beer between sips. The residual juice would be enough to keep bugs away from the crown. Tourists would see this done, and took the tradition home with them, thinking this was the "best (or) only way" to drink Mexican beer. Typical "monkey see, monkey do" Americans that we are, it's become reflexive when drinking Corona.
This is also true with regards to adding table salt beer. To help retain water (from working in the hot sun) Mexican workers would water down beer and add salt to it (a make shift Gatorade, if you will). Even the American Military adopted this one (and rightfully so). Ask anyone who served in the Marines during the Vietnam War about beer rations.
I am no expert on anything, but I've held true to these because they always made sense and came from good sources. Feel free to fact check it! I'm always game for learning something new.;)

mr.jay
05-08-2010, 03:21 PM
Arriving to the conversation late, but I was told (by an older gentleman I knew who was from Mexico) that lime juice was used to keep flies and other insects from flying into the bottle. Apparently, most flying insects don't like citrus. The lime would not get squeezed, but instead would be used to "cap" the beer between sips. The residual juice would be enough to keep bugs away from the crown. Tourists would see this done, and took the tradition home with them, thinking this was the "best (or) only way" to drink Mexican beer. Typical "monkey see, monkey do" Americans that we are, it's become reflexive when drinking Corona.
This is also true with regards to adding table salt beer. To help retain water (from working in the hot sun) Mexican workers would water down beer and add salt to it (a make shift Gatorade, if you will). Even the American Military adopted this one (and rightfully so). Ask anyone who served in the Marines during the Vietnam War about beer rations.
I am no expert on anything, but I've held true to these because they always made sense and came from good sources. Feel free to fact check it! I'm always game for learning something new.;)

farmviking
05-08-2010, 04:12 PM
I know people who are pretty much addicted to lime in their beer, from canned macro brew to IIPA's. The reason isn't so much the flavor or the flies (all good reasons too), but rather that the lime's acidity really helps cut the thick tongue coating malt that can get unpleasantly cloying sometimes. In a way, it helps balance the beer. It even helps reset your tongue from the bitterness of the hops. Try a heavy IPA with a wedge of lime sometime. It's really nice, though still a personal preference thing for sure. Doesn't work in the roasty beers though.

wildcrafter
05-09-2010, 05:06 PM
Personally,,I think farmviking hit it on the head.

For sure I've had the bees attacking any fluids and a bottle with a lime on top eliminates the bee in the bottle.

The biggest reality is this. Citrus flavors clean the tongue from the scudge that is prevalent in some beers, regardless of where the scudge came from. I like a clean taste and seem to dislike the scudge. Others seem to like the scudge. Some brews seem to have the skunky and scudgey flavors added on purpose,,,I assume they are serving a welcoming market with that type of product.

I like bright. I like flavor. I don't like scudge clogging my tongue.

Why hide your brew? Build it with no scudge! Take care of your brews!

Build yer brews bright! Take care of 'em right!...

or cheat this learning curve with H. L. neomexicana hops.

beerking1
05-10-2010, 06:32 AM
I know people who are pretty much addicted to lime in their beer, from canned macro brew to IIPA's. The reason isn't so much the flavor or the flies (all good reasons too), but rather that the lime's acidity really helps cut the thick tongue coating malt that can get unpleasantly cloying sometimes. In a way, it helps balance the beer. It even helps reset your tongue from the bitterness of the hops. Try a heavy IPA with a wedge of lime sometime. It's really nice, though still a personal preference thing for sure. Doesn't work in the roasty beers though.

IMHO (backed up by the BJCP style guide*), a well made IPA should never be heavy. If you are getting a "thick tongue coating malt that can get unpleasantly cloying" character in an IPA, it is not a proper IPA (double true for IIPAs). Give either of the Pliny's a try. Crisp, dry, clean finish. The LAST thing you can say about them is cloying.

From http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/style14.php#1b :

English IPA: "Finish is medium to dry, and bitterness may linger into the aftertaste but should not be harsh. If high sulfate water is used, a distinctively minerally, dry finish, some sulfur flavor, and a lingering bitterness are usually present."
"an overall dry sensation in the presence of malt sweetness"

American IPA: "Medium-dry to dry finish. Some clean alcohol flavor can be noted in stronger versions."
"moderate to medium-high carbonation can combine to render an overall dry sensation in the presence of malt sweetness."

IIPA: "A long, lingering bitterness is usually present in the aftertaste but should not be harsh. Medium-dry to dry finish. A clean, smooth alcohol flavor is usually present."
"moderate to medium-high carbonation can combine to render an overall dry sensation in the presence of malt sweetness."
"this should not be a heavy, sipping beer. It should also not have much residual sweetness or a heavy character grain profile. "
"Less malty, lower body, less rich and a greater overall hop intensity than an American Barleywine. Typically not as high in gravity/alcohol as a barleywine, since high alcohol and malt tend to limit drinkability. A showcase for hops."

stlbrewing
05-11-2010, 08:18 AM
My wife has never been a big fan of beer but she did end up finding a beer she liked and it had lime in it. Every couple of months I will brew a very light ale using rice and corn sugar to lighten it up and add lime extract at bottling time. It is one of the few beers I make that she wants to drink and honestly most people who try it are very surprised at how well they like it, even those who don't like lime/fruit beers. One day I hope her tastes will evolve and branch out to other styles.

DogNwolf
10-14-2010, 12:25 PM
and me who thought that adding a lime was from a Southern California tradition that consisted to believe that Mexican bottles were not sanitized well and people believe that adding a lime or and rub the lemon on the lime would disinfect the bottle....

:rolleyes:

Capt. Bob
10-24-2010, 05:10 PM
Why do people watch "Jersey Shore"?