Beer tastes different?

“Is the Molson’s (Canadian) beer sold in the U.S. watered down?”

Wow, I sure dragged up an old one. Anyway, my comments:

Cecil answered this query from a transplanted Canadian now living in Illinois by conducting a taste test with examples purchased in Montreal versus some imported to New Jersey. Unfortunately, some were canned and some were bottled, which I believe does affect taste. In any case, the conclusion was they were about the same, despite the canned Montreal beer having more carbonation (a conclusion I found puzzling; carbonation doesn’t affect taste?).

In any case, I would have hoped Cecil had addressed the issue at least implied in the question; ie “watered down”.

It’s my understanding that water is added to beer to control the alcohol content. Am I wrong there? I do know water is added to many beverages to control certain parematers; ie to milk to lower the fat content (along with powdered milk should it need to be raised). That was my father’s job at the dairy.

A study conducted in Washington State (like Illinois, a “4.5 State”) found alcohol content varied widely from brand to brand and rarely equalled the label. Could alcohol content affect the taste? I believe it should.

In that study, conducted via gas chromatography, the six best selling lager beers in the US averaged 4.73% by volume, while the 4 best selling light lagers averaged 4.10% v/v.

Note: labels in the US typically measure alcohol by weight rather than volume, which gives a slightly lower number.

(Alcohol % x Specific Gravity)/Density of ethanol
… which can be written:
% x [1.005~1.010]/0.789

So, we might conclude that 4.5% by volume and 5% by weight (the content listed on labels in Canada, usually listed as 5 alc/vol, which is another way of writing 5% v/v) are perhaps about the same.

However, the study also concluded that what was on the label and what was actually in the beer varied widely. Compounding the problem, few domestic beers have any alcohol information on the label at all, and some states prohibit it.

Selected results from the study:

Miller Genuine Draft: 4.62
Miller High Life: 5.00
Miller Light: 4.50
Budwieser: 4.76
Bud Light: 4.15

Good post and welcome to the SDMB! Did you find anything to indicate whether the top X best-selling beers in (insert Canada or european country here) had more alcohol content than the top X best-selling beers in the USA? I assume of course that the top X best-selling beers list varies by country.

P.S. Why is American beer like making love in a canoe?

They’re both tasteless.

We always told that one as:

Q: Why is Coors Light like making love in a canoe?
A: Because they’re both f***ing close to water.

As you’re no doubt aware, some of the best beers in the world are American. They just aren’t made by Coors, Anheuser-Busch, or Miller. Our local brew pub makes one of the best porters I’ve ever tasted, and last month they unveiled a chocolate stout that has to be tasted to be believed.

OK, if you’re referring to microbrews.