Malt Liquor: The Cheap Buzz

For many, the thought of malt liquor may conjure up images of gritty alleyways, but surprisingly it has also become a draw for some craft beer aficionados. From its cheap high-ABV brews to its often colorful branding, malt liquor has become something of a fascination in the craft beer world, with brewers getting creative in their interpretations of this particular style of beer. In this article, we aim to uncover why malt liquor has become popular amongst devotees of craft beer and what it actually means to have a "cheap buzz."

Malt Liquor: The Definition of a Cheap Buzz

Craft beer, this is not. Yet, there is a certain fascination with malt liquor among some craft brewers. So what is malt liquor, and why has it become a symbol of a cheap buzz? To answer these questions, let’s take a look at the history and production of malt liquor.

Malt Liquor: What is it?

Put simply, malt liquor is a drinking beer that is brewed with more than the usual liquid malt. Malt liquors are typically made with a combination of barley, corn, and other grains. This combination makes the beer taste sweeter, which is why it has become a popular choice for many who want a higher ABV (alcohol by volume) at a lower price.

Malt liquors are generally much cheaper than other types of beer and are often sold in a variety of sizes. You can find malt liquors in cans, bottles, and even in large containers such as a Keg. During the 1960’s, malt liquors began to become more widely available and quickly grew in popularity due to the low cost and high alcohol content.

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History of Malt Liquor

Malt liquors have been around for quite some time, with their origins dating back to the Middle Ages. During this time, brewers would add various grains to the beer in order to create a sweeter flavour and higher ABV. This combination would create what is now known as malt liquor.

During the 20th century, malt liquor became a popular choice with American drinkers as the production process of malt liquor was much cheaper and faster than other types of beer. The addition of corn during the malt liquors creation also made it a more affordable alternative. This affordability led to it being seen as an acceptable way of having a cheap buzz.

"Fortified" Malt Liquor

By the mid-1960’s, the malt liquor began to be heavily promoted by the government as a way to reduce alcohol-related harm. As a result, the government’s recommendation was to “fortify” the malt liquors with additional alcohol to make them even stronger. This fortification of the malt liquor made it more appealing to drinkers looking for a cheaper buzz.

Fortified malt liquors are also known as high-alcohol beers due to the fact that they are made with extra grain and extract. This means that the ABV of a fortified malt liquor can reach up to 8-10%, which is much higher than most regular beers.

The Draw of Malt Liquor

Malt liquor is notorious for its cheap buzz and high ABV. These qualities, coupled with its low cost, have made it a firm favourite among some drinkers looking to get a quick buzz on the cheap. The appeal of malt liquor is further amplified by its sweet flavour and lack of strong hop flavours which many find unpleasant in beer.

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The downside of the cheap buzz of malt liquor is the potential risk of alcohol poisoning. As malt liquor has a much higher ABV than regular beer, it can be much easier to overconsume and unwittingly overdose on alcohol. This is why it is important to enjoy malt liquor in moderation.

Malt Liquor and Craft Beer

As craft beer has become increasingly popular in recent years, malt liquor has been gaining attention from craft brewers as something to take inspiration from. While malt liquors may not necessarily be a cornerstone of a craft brewer’s portfolio, some craft brewers are exploring the use of malt liquors in their beers. These brewers are experimenting with malt liquors to create unique flavours and unique beers.

The use of malt liquor in craft beer is not just limited to the fermentation process. Craft brewers are also beginning to experiment with aging their beers in malt liquor barrels. This can create an entirely different experience as the malt liquor imparts its flavours and aromas into the beer.

The Appeal of Malt Liquor

Malt liquor has a long history and it is easy to see why it has become such an iconic symbol of the cheap buzz. With its high ABV and sweet flavour, malt liquor is an easy choice for those looking for a good time without breaking the bank. As more craft brewers begin to explore the use of malt liquor in their beers, it will be interesting to see how it continues to evolve and shape the industry in the years to come.

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