Monday, February 27, 2012

Vietnamese Bia Hoi Style Guide

A while back I wrote about how to make Bia Hoi. At the time it was the best information I could lay my hands on. Since then I've expanded my research and looked high and low for a style guide only to be frustrated by the amount of Urban Myth that surrounds the making of this style of beer.

Finally, after much deliberation, research and sampling I've pulled together all the disparate, threads of thought, on this beer style and I offer my summary of it here, for your perusal.

Style Guide: Vietnamese Bia Hoi

Preamble: Bia Hoi is the name for a Vietnamese style lager beer. It is often referred to as: Steam Beer, Fresh Beer, Draft Beer, or Cask Beer. It is predominantly packaged in stainless steel barrels and dispensed by roadside vendors, thus lending to it the appellation, Street Beer or Common Beer. It is described as an unpasteurised beer that may or may not be filtered prior to packaging and distribution. Bia Hoi is manufactured by large breweries, small breweries, small scale brewpub type operations, and village or 'backyard' entrepreneurs. Bia Hoi is best stored below 6°C and the optimal serving temperature is 2° - 4°C. Bia Hoi will rapidly sour if left open to the air at temperatures above 6°C.

Aroma: Little to no malt aroma. Little to no hop aroma. 
Appearance: Very pale straw to light golden colour. A fine bubbled white head that rapidly collapses leaving noticable lacing. Clarity is usually good to excellent. 
Flavour: Low levels of sweetness. Low to medium levels of bitterness. Hop - Malt balance is predominantly mild favoring hoppiness. If served warmish, there may be noticeable bready notes on first tasting. 
Mouthfeel: Thin, watery body. Low to medium carbonation. Mildly astringent, bitter finnish.
Overall Impressions: Light, refreshing and thirst quenching beer and is easily and comfortably consumed.

Ingredients: Typically includes imported pale malt barley with 20-50% grain bill comprising of polished domestic rice. Hop varieties are usually imported, low alpha acid variants. Fermentation utilises domestic sources of live brewery yeast, or imported European strains with a neutral flavour profile such as: WPL-815, W-34/70, W-195 (S-189).

Comments: Rice may be crushed and added directly to the crushed malt at dough in OR cereal mashed and added to the malt after the protein rest. Protein Rest at 50°-55°C for 30 min. Saccharification Rest at 68°-72°C until conversion completed. 2 hr boil. 1/4 hops at boil, 1/2 hops at 1 hr, and remaining 1/4 hops at 15 min. prior to flame out. Lager fermentation at 10°-12°C for 5-6 days. Beer may then be filtered and force carbonated to around 2.2V OR primed with sugar and tank conditioned for an additional 10-15 days (25 days max.) prior to packaging and distribution. 

Vital Statistics:
OG: 1.025-1.045
FG: 1.005-1.015
IBUs: 15-30
SRM: 2-4
ABV: 2.5-4.5%

Until next time,

It's Your Shout, Mate!

Addendum 2014.02.16
Hops imported into Vietnam
Premient, Bobek, Trisselspalter, Agnes, Aurora, Saaz, Magnum, Perle, Styrian Goldings, & Sladek. (source); CO2 Hop Extract - 30% Alpha Acid. Sourced from Germany. (source)

Malt imported to Vietnam:Wheat Malt, dark Caramel Malt, Munich Malt, Chocolate Malt, Caramel Malt, Pilsen Malt (primary base malt), Karapils Malt, & Black Malt (source); along with Chinese Malt, Australian Malt, and imported barley malted in Vietnam.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there,

    I realise I am posting on an incredibly old post! I am hoping to produce some Bia Hoi myself, and would love to get in touch with you regarding your Bia Hoi brewing adventures!