Saturday, 24 March 2012

Vitesse Noir

VitesseNoir - speed black or black speed is the strongest beer Hardknott have produced so far at 11% abv. Vitesse Noir was a dream concept of HardknottDave and Aletalk Steven to appeal to people like me. Prior to its release my favourite beer was Brewdog's Tokyo*. Despite the fact that only 900 bottles were ever produced and these were sold to small specialist beer shops around Britain, one of these bottles attracted the attention of one person who was so concerned about the potential health claims of the beer that they felt it necessary to report it to the Portman Group (see HardknottDave's Blog). After consideration the Portman Group have decided to uphold the complaint which was related to the wording on the label.

Vitesse Noir is produced using a large quantity of malt to create the 11%abv. Added to that is a large quantity of locally roasted coffee beans, a large quantity of a Valhrona Cocoa and a large quantity of Bourbon Vanilla Beans. As you can see, not only is this beer full of expensive ingredients it is also "full of beans". Now you know what too many beans can do? Well, we thought we better warn you. These particular beans may or may not be magic beans but they do contain a lot of Caffeine. We all know the effect of caffiene, in fact how many of us need to start the day with a good strong cup of coffee to get their caffeine levels energising through their blood stream. Quite a lot if the morning twitter feed is anything to go by.

So Hardknott Dave thought it was best we put a warning on the label about the risk of overindulgence in Vitesse Noir due to its Caffeine content. Label reads "Warning - this beer could have you dancing on the ceiling". However apparently the initial complaint was not based on our warning but on the fact we then said this might be just the tonic you needed. The use of the word "tonic" indicating that we believed the beer had some medicinal powers apparently.

So with a prompt from @filrd I thought I better do a bit of investigating and put finger to iPad to let you know what I found.

Is Vitesse Noir good for you? Could it be seen as a tonic? What does "Tonic" mean?

Tonic may refer to:
Tonic water, a drink traditionally containing quinine
Soft drink, a carbonated beverage
Tonic (physiology), the response of a muscle fibre or nerve ending typified by slow, continuous action
Herbal tonic, a herbal medicine with tonic effects

Well, Vitesse Noir doesn't contain quinine and it certainly isn't soft. I'm not sure what it's going to do to your nerve endings so I guess the only one which it may be is a herbal tonic.

Until the twentieth century alcohol was the most controversial ingredient in "medicines". Many medicines were in fact liqueurs of various sorts, flavoured with herbs said to have medicinal properties. Peruna was a famous "Prohibition tonic," weighing in at around 18% grain alcohol. A little bit stronger than 11% Vitesse Noir.

Well the next step is to check out the ingredients:-

WATER - Beer is made up of 90%+ water, so is your body it's essential for life. Guess that is definitely good.

Malt - Malted grain is full of carbohydrates the essential slow release energy our bodies need to function. That sounds pretty good too.

Coffee beans - locally roasted. It's 7am. The perfect time to write about coffee. The aromas of freshly made coffee for Dave's start to the day and the world of twitter waking up to the various coffee options available to them and tweeting about it. And why?

The coffee bean itself contains chemicals. First of all the famous caffeine which acts as a stimulant. Recent research has uncovered additional stimulating effects of coffee which are not related to caffeine, a currently unknown chemical agent which stimulates the production of cortisone and adrenaline, two stimulating hormones.

1 Benefits of coffee according to wiki
1.1 Reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease and Dementia
1.2 Reduced risk of gallstone disease
1.3 Reduced risk of Parkinson's disease
1.4 Increased Cognitive performance
1.5 Analgesic enhancement
1.6 Antidiabetic
1.7 Liver protection
1.8 Cancer
1.9 Cardioprotective
1.10 Laxative/diuretic
1.11 Antioxidant
1.12 Prevention of dental caries
1.13 Gout
1.14 Blood pressure

So there are definite benefits achieved from the coffee bean. Best move along a bean.

Cocoa Beans - the basis of Chocolate which most people love to crave. I believe this is good but thought I'd do a bit of googling. There is so much information I could write a whole blog just on cocoa.
The cocao bean as it is of plant origin contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables such as a large number of antioxidants (beer has more oxizing agents than white wine) and Flavonoids which protect the body from aging caused by free radicals. This can help to reduce blood pressure through the production of nitric oxide (laughing gas) and can also reduce heart disease.

Studies have shown that consuming a small bar of dark chocolate everyday (containing high levels of cocoa) can reduce blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure and reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent.

Dark Chocolate or more specifically cocoa contains Phenylethylamine which facilitates the release of endorphins, the natural painkillers produced by the brain giving a feeling of pleasure. It also contains serotonin and dopamine which act as an anti-depressant by helping you to sleep better and decrease the intensity of physical pain increasing sentiments of happiness. Cocoa's potency comes from its ability to stimulate the brain’s production of serotonin and dopamine.

Cocoa also contains theobromine and caffeine which are stimulants proven to improve libido, reduce stress hormones and reduce the effects of ageing on the brain eg: Reduction in "brain fog"(brain degeneration). This is when you go to get something and forget what you went for - remember?

If you are still with me lets leave cocoa beans and move to Vanilla beans. Now I wasn't sure what I would find when researching vanilla beans apart from them being the most expensive plant ingredient after saffron.

Vanilla contains vitamins including the B-complex group - (niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin and vitamin B-6) which help enzyme synthesis, nervous system function and regulating body metabolism.

Vanilla also contains traces of minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron and zinc. Potassium helps to control heart rate and blood pressure as an important component of cell and body fluids. Manganese and copper provide the body with antioxidant enzymes and iron, which is essential for red blood cell production. The antioxidants in vanilla have anti-carcinogenic properties.1.

Vanilla is obviously full of lots of important chemicals which are definitely good for you.

Well, what's left? Oh Hops!

Hops - Hops are the female flower of a hop species, Humulus lupulus. They are used primarily as a flavouring and stability agent in beer. Hops are used extensively in brewing for their many purported benefits, including balancing the sweetness of the malt with bitterness, contributing a variety of desirable flavours and aromas, and having an antibiotic effect that favors the activity of brewer's yeast over less desirable microorganisms.

Hops are used in herbal medicine as a treatment for anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. A pillow filled with hops is a popular folk remedy for sleeplessness.

So in summary there appears to be lots of beneficial vitamins, minerals and chemicals in coffee beans, cocoa beans and vanilla beans which are used by the body for the benefit of the body. Vanilla is also used as a natural sweetener without the detriment of adding sugar to make a product more enjoyable.

Maybe the beans will have you dancing on the ceiling or maybe the hops will have you snoozing in your chair, Maybe in Vitesse Noir the sleepy hops can help to counteract some of the caffiene effect of the coffee and cocoa.

So there you have it. I am not making any claims simply providing the facts relating to the ingredients. Is it a tonic? Could it be seen as medicinal in anyway?

There are obviously many beneficial ingredients in Vitesse Noir but as in all things you can have too much of a good thing - can't you? beer has more anti oxidants than White wine

1 Anti- carcinogenics, as defined by National Cancer Institute, means that ingredients in vanilla extract can prevent or delay the development of cancer. Free radicals, otherwise known as oxidants can damage tissue leading to certain types of cancers, such as prostrate, colon and breast. Vanilla extract contains certain components that have potential to reduce the growth of cancerous cells.

1 comment:

  1. Jolly good. Beer is great isn't it? Just a thought - do you know how much caffeine there actually is in VN? If it's more than 150ppm, the form of words Dave was looking for was probably 'high caffeine content', otherwise there's no need to say anything (AFAIK). And of course, Trading Standards would have been happy to help out.