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I was looking for a beer battered fish recipe the other day when I noticed most of the recipes don't state a style of beer to use.
Some of the recipes use a significant amount of beer so I assume that some of the flavor profile from the beer will carry over to the fish.

So I'm wondering, which style is ideal? Porter? IPA? Maybe a Hefeweizen?

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The primary use of beer in a beer batter is its alcohol, which disrupts gluten formation and needs less heat than water to evaporate, improving the texture of the final crust. For flavor, most recipes using beer do best with a malty, low-bitterness beer, like a marzen, scotch ale, or (maybe) amber ale. Highly-hopped "put hair on your chest" IPAs are a bad idea: you don't want that bitterness. Hefeweizen would be fine.

A couple of commenters mentioned the carbonation as being an important factor. I suspect that it isn't. The volume of gas generated by evaporating the water in the beer will dwarf the amount of CO2 being released, even in the most highly carbonated of beers.

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    Alcohol and CO2 - similar to using carbonated water for thin batters. – Stephie Nov 6 at 11:01
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    Perhaps CO2 is the primary factor: scientificamerican.com/article/beer-batter-is-better – moscafj Nov 6 at 11:25
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    Prime material for someone running a cooking blog/vlog: Not necessarily "which beer is 'the best' for beer batter", but a look at the qualitative difference between batters with malty beer, hoppy beer, and whatever "flavour" people associate with lager. :P Also worth a test: heady beer vs flat beer with a view to defining carbonation's influence. – Sammitch Nov 6 at 23:44
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    @Sammitch This definitely deserves a proper testing. For ehm, science. – Mast Nov 7 at 11:08
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    "It's because of the alcohol" is certainly compelling but it seems contradictory to experience where many batters are made with non-alcoholic sparking water. And since you're mentioning that there isn't much CO2 in beer as a reason why it's not because of the CO2, couldn't that also be said about alcohol? Beer has a very low alcohol content. If alcohol was the motivating factor it seems like there would be far better choices. – dwizum Nov 8 at 16:34
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I don't think the alcohol affects the tase in this kind of perparation. The point is to create surface of contact by using the gases in the beverage.

Usually in restaurants that serves this kind of dish they use sparkling water or any cheap beer. And for a extra crispness you can add the batter into a whipped cream dispenser charged with CO2 cartridges

Save the good beers to use in roasted beef, where the sugar in the beverage do affect the flavor of the dish.

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    I would disagree; the beer type you use can definitely impact the flavor of a battered chicken or fish. For instance, I tend to use a stronger ale with more "beer" flavor to batter chicken, and the taste is a bit different that when I skimp and use a bottom-shelf American beer (think Milwaukee, Coors, etc). EDIT: It affects the flavor of the outer crust/batter, not the meat itself. – PB Supports Monica Nov 8 at 18:44
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There are several considerations. First off, anything you deep fry will take on a different flavor. I can attest specifically to hops in beer batter tasting wildly different and, in my and my dinner guest's opinions, disgusting. I would likewise be concerned with a heavier malt like a porter or stout.

Flavoring is really not the responsibility of the beer in the beer batter. The desired flavor (in my opinion) is that "deep fried breading" flavor that makes fried food so delicious. Other flavors just distract from that. In addition, you may also be concerned with imparting flavor to your oil. If you reuse oil repeatedly, then you want to fry things with as little flavor as possible, seasoning them afterwards, if at all. (Though note for beer battered fish! Once you deep fry fish you can't re-use the oil for anything that is not fish! However, I use beer battered vegetables as a side-dish frequently for big summer cookouts).

So, all in all, if you deep fry for larger groups several times a summer, you want a light American lager. Little flavor, plenty of carbonation, enough alcohol, and cheap to boot. I use Budweiser.

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The beer batter works because of the alcohol and the CO2 in beer. Bitter flavours aren't really welcome there.

For that effect, I recommend using carbonated water with vodka. You just get sparkling alcoholic water that way, without any of the flavours in beer that I don't think are suitable for battered fish.

If you do like a beer-like flavor with your fish, just go for whatever you like.

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