Ethics of Beer Drinking - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 09-14-2015, 08:34 AM
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Ethics of Beer Drinking



Beer looks like it’s one of those things that should be vegetarian and vegan friendly. After all, it’s made from mostly plants and grains such as barley, hops, yeast and water. But over the years, different beer brewers have discovered different ways of making their brews – and not all of them are veg-friendly.

Some ingredients in non-veggie beers aren't easy to spot because labeling requirements on alcohol aren’t as strict as those on foods, so you might find that you have no idea just what’s in your favorite beer or whether animal products were used in the production or not.

Honey and Milk Ingredients in Beer

Honey is usually a pretty well-disclosed ingredient in most beers. It’s a selling point for a beer to have honey and it’s also an allergen concern. So honey gets a lot of space on beer bottle labels. Not all beers disclose honey use, however, especially if it was just used in the roasting process.

Milk-derived ingredients can be harder to spot. Again, labeling requirements aren’t as strict for beers as they are for food, so you might find some beers containing milk-derived lactose. If it’s a “sweet”, “milk” or “cream” stout, for example, chances are pretty high that dairy is involved.

Similarly, chocolate also finds its way into several beer names and descriptions. Sometimes the beer does, indeed, contain milk chocolate and is thus not suitable for vegans. But sometimes chocolate is used to describe the taste or texture, as Is the case with “chocolate malt”, which contains no chocolate whatsoever.

Caesin or potassium caseinate, is a milk-derived ingredient used as a clarifier to reduce the cloudiness of some beers. It’s a protein structure found in milk. Any beer that includes casein or potassium caseinate is not vegan friendly.

Animal Bone and Blood Ingredients in Beer

Vegans will want to steer clear of animal-derived ingredients including milk and honey, the inclusion of which obviously does not mean that the animal they came from was killed, but trying to avoid all animal ingredients is a tough task when evaluating beers.

Blood and bone-derived ingredients almost always mean that animal parts were used in the brewing process or in the final product. The practice is surprisingly common.

Albumin, for example, is a blood protein that’s labeled as albium. Although the term can refer to any water-soluble protein, animal blood serum albumin is usually used because of cost and availability. When used in the brewing process, albium helps clarify the beer.

Gelatin is another possibly bone-derived product found in beers. Because it can be made from bones, connective tissue or skin, it isn’t a vegetarian ingredient and an animal had to die to obtain it. It’s also used as a clarifier in beer and sometimes to add texture.

Charcoal, which is used in the filtration process of some beers, can be derived from wood but usually contains some amount of animal bone product, again due to the low cost and easy accessibility.

White sugar, surprisingly, is not considered a vegetarian ingredient, as the whitening process it undergoes uses bone charcoal to impart a white color on it. Raw sugar and unprocessed cane sugars don’t undergo the same process, so they’re considered vegetarian friendly.

Isinglass

Isinglass is a substance found in the swim bladders of fish that aids in their buoyancy. After they’re dead, the swim bladders are removed and the isinglass is used as a clarifier in beer to reduce cloudiness.

Isinglass is the single most common clarifier in the brewing industry, and all cask ales use isinglass as a clarifier. Though it’s more common in UK and European brewing, some US breweries use isinglass as well.

Insects, Fossils and Seashells
You might not want to think about any of these ingredients in your favorite brew, but insects are a common coloring agent. For example, carmine, extracted from insects, gives beer a very red color. While not all beers use coloring agents and not all dyes are insect-derived, you can never be sure just by glancing at a beer whether it does or doesn’t use an insect-derived dye.

If you thought insects and fish swim bladders were weird, some beers use diatomaceous earth in their refining process. Diatomaceous earth – made by grinding the shells of sea creatures – filters out impurities and plant matter during the brewing process. So it’s not exactly vegan or vegetarian friendly, either.

Foam Control

Some beer makers just can’t stand a good head and seek to control their foam. These beers can use animal-derived ingredients to do just that. Glyceryl monostarate is a glycerin-derived product that controls foam. Pepsin, a pig byproduct, also controls foam in beer. Neither of these ingredients are vegan or vegetarian-friendly, but unless the company advertises their use, you really have no way of knowing whether they’re in your beer.

Finding a Veggie Beer

Companies that produce veggie-friendly beers are proud of that fact and often advertise themselves as such. Animal welfare organizations regularly issue lists of veg-friendly beer options and there are plenty of websites devoted to the topic. If you’re curious about a particular beer, contact the brewery or manufacturer. Most are more than happy to answer questions and provide thorough answers. If they don't have an answer at hand, most are more than willing to find out for you.

If you really want to be sure your beer is veg-safe, look into home-brewing. It’s a time-consuming, costly endeavor, but many find it to be an enjoyable hobby and it’s really the only way to be 100% sure your brews are cruelty free and safe from animal products and byproducts.

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Last edited by CricketVS; 10-06-2015 at 08:20 AM.
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#2 Old 09-15-2015, 03:42 AM
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Just thought that this might be even more helpful ... a site that lists many many drinks and whether or not they are vegan :-)
http://www.barnivore.com/
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#3 Old 09-15-2015, 03:54 AM
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I don't drink alcohol personally so no worries here

BUT, I always thought diatomaceous earth was the fossilized remains (basically rock) of ancient sea creatures? Not parts of currently living, then killed ones. I guess there has to be some operation in order to attain these fossilized remains, which I am unfamiliar with...hopefully it doesn't involve dredging the sea floor or extensive mining
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#4 Old 09-15-2015, 04:05 AM
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Just thought that this might be even more helpful ... a site that lists many many drinks and whether or not they are vegan :-)
http://www.barnivore.com/
I actually have the app on my phone and iPad, very helpful.
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#5 Old 09-15-2015, 06:11 AM
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I actually have the app on my phone and iPad, very helpful.
They have an app???? I just use the main site. I've found a huge majority of beers sold in the U.S. are vegan. There's not a vegan beer I don't like!
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#6 Old 09-15-2015, 09:19 AM
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Brew your own booze and you'll know if its vegan
I've seen lots of people have fun with beer brewing and wine brewing can also be quite fun, I found. I dont even like alcohol but brewing it is fun
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...I always thought diatomaceous earth was the fossilized remains (basically rock) of ancient sea creatures? Not parts of currently living, then killed ones.
Its fossilized plants (a type of algae) from either freshwater or saltwater sources. The deposits mined are on dry land, basically they dig down to the 10-100 foot thick layer and mine that. Most deposits mined are a million to sixty million years old, the ethical considerations would be habitat destruction and air quality from mining the abrasive fluff out of the ground.
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#7 Old 09-15-2015, 01:06 PM
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Its fossilized plants (a type of algae) from either freshwater or saltwater sources. The deposits mined are on dry land, basically they dig down to the 10-100 foot thick layer and mine that. Most deposits mined are a million to sixty million years old, the ethical considerations would be habitat destruction and air quality from mining the abrasive fluff out of the ground.
Now I am curious as to whether it is valuable enough to be mined primarily, or is it just something they come across and is useful when they are actually mining for other things???
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#8 Old 09-15-2015, 02:50 PM
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They have an app???? I just use the main site. I've found a huge majority of beers sold in the U.S. are vegan. There's not a vegan beer I don't like!

Haha yes! It's very helpful when your out and about and need to check on a whim.
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#9 Old 09-15-2015, 02:59 PM
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My understanding is that most diatomaceous earth mining operations are going after it, specifically. Although I fully expect if there were something else worth mining there they would get that too.
Its a cool material, if you think about it. After all, its just basically tiny pickles that have fermented a LONG time
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#10 Old 09-21-2015, 08:52 AM
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Thank you for the infor I never knew and always thought beer as vegan vegetarian friendly ..although I don't drink , im not interested in alcohol, I once in a while might have a beer or glass of wine. ( once a year ) today unfortunately is a day that I happen to be sipping Budweiser in a hotel with my meal ( probably. Last beer ) ..I was horrified to learn that some beers got animal derivites ,,
What is wrong with ppl today can't. They do with out animals ??
Injustice done to animals for ages , and ppl play deaf n dumb ..it's about time we leave them alone and stick to a decent meal !!

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#11 Old 09-21-2015, 10:02 AM
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Diatoms are unicellular plankton.
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#12 Old 09-21-2015, 10:29 AM
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Beer and other drugs alter our natural state of consciousness... Ideally it should only be used as medicine and in minimal amounts and time periods. Nor should we encourage it. It is ok if and when people consume it maturely (if it is actually possible to do that).

Caring about our health is caring about our very state of being and future which is a very good thing to be seriously concerned about making the most of.

 

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#13 Old 09-21-2015, 11:20 AM
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The problem isnt so much that alcohol 'alters our natural state of consciousness'. Many things do that- prayer, meditation, jogging, music alters our natural state of consciousness so much as to have a measurable influence on the functioning of our immune cells thanks to psychoneuroimmunology. The problem with alcohol and many other drugs is in their capacity to dull the mind and cause heedlessness, making mistakes and ethical misconduct easier to do.

It is possible for people to consume it maturely. As one very blatant example, a hundred years or so back some christian missionaries went deep into africa. They met up with a friendly village of farmers who were routinely effected by famine. The missionaries used the age old trick of buying conversion with food and medicine. The tribe had an ancient custom of brewing a weak beer and drinking it, and giving the dregs to children for them to drink. They didnt explicitly know why it was a custom, they just did it by tradition. But under their new religion drinking was a sin and giving the low octane beer to children was a horror. They stopped doing both. In time the missionaries had to leave. Generations of the tribe were already converted, so they would stay that religion even without the foreign food and medicine. Soon malnutrition and infant mortality skyrocteted to levels beyond what the eldest grandparents could remember. That weak beer they once brewed had been increasing the amount of B vitamins in the grains and served as a nutritional supplement. The dregs were especially concentrated in B vitamins and prevented malnourishment and death in the children. A great many children died because of the idea that drinking was sinful.
With ethics its important to look at the process and evaluate the outcomes, and not just to follow old rules blindly.
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#14 Old 09-21-2015, 11:34 AM
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I have been a veggie for 35 years, but never knew about beer making and the process's involved! Thanks for sharing.
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#15 Old 09-21-2015, 11:53 AM
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Is that example of deep Africa a hundred years ago and a few deaths maybe just a bit far-fetched? Please try to find a better example of mature consumption. Would something like Kombucha be alike or better?
I categorize alcohol as a form of drug and feel the experience of alcohol along with the experience of some drugs can be considered an ok learning experience if done only a few times. More for medical reasons. I agree that under those circumstances it can be done maturely.
Surely there are more negative health effects than beneficial when consumed in any prolonged regularity?

Caring about our health is caring about our very state of being and future which is a very good thing to be seriously concerned about making the most of.

 

http://TRUEHEALTHHAPPENS.COM

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#16 Old 09-22-2015, 08:37 PM
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I totally think that if you need more say, energy, then use some tea like Kombucha or Yerba Buena.
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