Adjuncts offer another way to produce fermentable sugars other than malted grains. Oats, wheat, corn, tapioca flour, flaked rice and maize, inverted sugar and glucose are all used as adjuncts in brewing. Traditionally, adjuncts are utilized as a cheaper alternative to malted grains or to produce a lighter, less-malty beer.
Adding mineral salts to brewing water allows for control over the calcium and alkalinity, which can improve beer. Depending on the water available and style of beer being brewed, various amounts of water salts can be added to create the optimal brewing water.
Brewers tend to either really favor or avidly detest wild yeast, like Brettanomyces (Brett), due to its reputation as a contaminant. While it is true that wild yeasts pose a high risk for cross-contamination, the unique flavor and aromas that are made possible by are worth the risk and extra effort.
The use of Brett is necessary in advanced beer styles like lambic and grand cru. When using wild yeast, it is typically recommended to have a separate set of equipment to prevent cross-contamination of future batches.
Anything from fruit, spices, vegetables, sugars and wood can be utilized in beer for different purposes. For example, honey can be added as a fermentable sugar to increase alcohol content without bulking up a beer’s body and conditioned oak chips can be added to the fermenter to instill a barrel aged quality. Experiment with ingredients and see what kind of crazy-delicious beers you can brew up!
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