Author Topic: Sweetness in Beer versus wine  (Read 213 times)

Offline Scholastic Brewer

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Sweetness in Beer versus wine
« on: November 25, 2019, 01:33:20 PM »
Hey all. I'm a bit new to brewing and am wondering why hops are necessary to counteract the sweetness of the barley in beer. I recently made a batch of wine and was amazed at how much of the sugar the yeast was able to convert. Are the hops needed simply because a typical ale yeast doesn't have the same attenuation as a wine yeast?

Thanks for the help.

Offline Bob357

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Re: Sweetness in Beer versus wine
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2019, 03:04:53 PM »
The combination of sugars extracted from grain isn't nearly as fermentable as those contained in fruit. This means that fruit must ferments more completely than beer wort, so leaves less residual sweetness. Wort is also boiled which concentrated the sugars.
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Offline Robert

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Re: Sweetness in Beer versus wine
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2019, 03:09:32 PM »
Grapes also bring tannins and acids to help counter sweetness, while malt mostly just brings sweetness.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Sweetness in Beer versus wine
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2019, 04:33:18 PM »
Already covered. Just to add some more info.

https://beerandbrewing.com/dictionary/nfffzoYQNF/

Grapes have mostly simple sugars, though there are a few higher sugars.

https://www.scienceofcooking.com/food-and-wine/sugars-in-wines.html
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Offline Scholastic Brewer

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Re: Sweetness in Beer versus wine
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2019, 02:09:06 AM »
That makes sense, thanks for clearing that up.

Offline frankvw

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Re: Sweetness in Beer versus wine
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2019, 08:11:41 AM »
Wort contains a wide range of sugars, from glucose and sucrose to maltose and maltotriose, as well as dextrins.

Beer yeast comes in different varieties, some of which have a high attenuation (i.e. they ferment the beer out to a lower final gravity) while others have a low attenuation (they ferment out the beer out to a higher final gravity). The difference in attenuation is mainly the amount of maltotriose they are capable of fermenting. Dextrins are, to all intents and purposes, unfermentable for any regular beer yeast.

Wine is different. It contains almost exclusively fruit sugars, which the wine yeast ferments out almost completely, so there are few residual sugars to provide too much sweetness. (Sweet wines are an exception; these are either only partially fermented and the vintner stops the fermentation at the desired point, or they are back-sweetened.) Wine yeast also produces some additional acidity (on top of the acidity already provided by the fruit) as well as some spicy phenols, which help balance out any sweet notes (mostly fruity esters in wine) and "round out" the palate.

Some ciders are brewed with a modest amount of hops, though, although this is not too common.