Posted on 07.23.08 8:01PM under All-Grain, Brewing, Extract

Adjuncts are sugars other than those derived from malted barley used in brewing beer. Germans hate adjuncts. Due to the restrictions of the Rheinheitsgebot adjuncts are actually forbidden, except for wheat, go figure. Belgians love adjuncts. Practically every Belgian beer probably has some adjuncts, either beet sugar or corn sugar.

From a practical homebrewing perspective, adjuncts are useful for a lot of reasons:

1. First and foremost, corn sugar is the primary fermentable used for priming beer at bottling time. Corn sugar is completely fermentable, so it’s easy to tell how much to use to get your target carbonation.

2. This high degree of fermentability makes corn sugar the big beer brewer’s friend. If you want a beer with a high starting gravity (say, over 1.070) but a normal finishing gravity (say, around 1.015), a bit of corn sugar can go a long way to that goal.

3. Finally, simple sugars are a quick and easy way to boost the gravity of your all-grain recipe. I can only mash about 12 pounds of grain in my system, so I can only get about 1.060 for five gallons of beer using grains only. Adding some adjunct sugars lets me boost that up as far as I want. Of course, adding malt extact gives me the same capability, but remember item 2 above: high gravity beer enjoys some highly fermentable simple sugars, and malt extract is not the most fermentable substance you can brew with.

I would encourage anyone making beer to feel free to use adjuncts, in moderation.

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