I haven't confirmed this the folks at SAB Miller, but it sounds like their lite beer has the standard three hop additions; the first for bittering, the second for flavor and the third for aroma. Last time I heard, Miller was using hop extract rather than "real" hops, so it's probably more correct to say that Miller Lite is "triple hop-extract dosed." All in all it looks like they're brewing a pale lager more or less the way large breweries brew pale lagers. And in their spare time they're making adds that really outshine the completion on the annoyance factor.
All that being said, the subject of hop additions can be interesting, and thoughtful use of hops can add great character to beer. One great example is Gumballhead, brewed by Three Floyds Brewing Company in Munster, Indiana. According to the brewer, Gumballhead is...
"An American Wheat Ale, Gumballhead is named in honor of the underground comic book cat created by Rob Syers. Initially a seasonal summer beer, now brewed year round due to demand. This beer helped redefine American Wheat Beers. Brewed with Amarillo Hops and a generous portion of American red wheat, Gumballhead has a complex hop aroma with notes of grapefruit, lemon zest, marmalade and peach. These flavors combined with low bitterness make Gumballhead a refreshing American Wheat Beer that doesn’t suck."For me, American Wheat is one of the gateway beverages like lite lagers. Not much in the way of hops, or beer character in general. To make their beer non-sucky, Three Floyds is doing something interesting with the hops, while staying inside the style guidelines. Just barely...
|BCP American Wheat Vital Statistics:||IBUs: 15 – 30||ABV: 4 – 5.5%|
|Gumballhead Vital Statistics:||IBUs: 28||5.5%|
Let's go back to the idea of the standard three hop additions for bittering, flavor and aroma. No hop addition does only one thing - the results vary according to when the addition is done. There is some flavor and a little aroma in the bittering addition. There is some bittering and aroma in the flavor addition. Finally, there is s touch of bittering and some flavor in the aroma addition. The trick in Gumballhead is that there is so much in the aroma addition that it has significant impact on the flavor and some good impact on the bittering. The results are pretty fabulous.
Gumballhead Clone Recipe
|Batch Size:||5.0 gallons|
|Original Gravity:||1.055 / 13.6° Plato|
|Final Gravity:||1.015 / 3.8° Plato|
|Color:||4° SRM / 8° EBC (Yellow)|
|Mash Efficiency:||74% used for O.G. estimate|
|Bitterness:||27.4 IBU / 5 HBU ƒ: Tinseth|
|Alcohol:||5.3% ABV / 4% ABW|
|Calories:||182 per 12 oz.|
|Malt & Fermentables|
|Dry Hop||7 Days||1.5||Amarillo||pellet||10.7|
|Safale||US-05||Dry Ale Yeast in dry form with low to medium flocculation and 73% attenuation|
NOTE: Add the four ounces of Amarillo at flameout. Whirlpool, and let it stand for ten minutes. This will probably push the IBUs into the high twenties, which is still fine for the style. Back the recipe off half a pound on both the Pilsner and Wheat malts if you want to brew a 'lighter' version.