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How Different Grains Affect Beer Flavour

It’s time again to improve your beer IQ. Grain is the backbone of every beer and causes beer’s flavor to spin into thousands of distinctively delicious directions. It’s what gives beer much of its flavor and appearance, and it provides the simple sugars which will be fermented into alcohol. Grain’s protein can take credit for the head retention and cloudiness in a “Roggenbier” (rye beer) for example and also produces complex sugars which leave residual sweetness and can add flavors that range from bread-like, to toffee, to chocolate or coffee.

What’s in your beer and why does it taste that way? Let’s take a look at what some popular grains do to the taste of beer.

Barley: One of the foundations of beer, it is transformed into brew-ready malt by hard working maltsters. It is used in brewing by mixing with hot water, this causes the grain to create enzymes that transform the grain’s starches into sugars, which yeast will later feast on to create….alcohol!

Rye: Working with barley, it can sharpen flavors add complexity, crispness, and subtle spiciness as well as dry out a beer.

Wheat: It is packed with proteins and that helps to create a fuller body and a thicker head. A large amount can result in a hazy beer.

Oats: Used in conjunction with barley, oats create a creamy, full-bodied brew that’s as smooth as satin. Today, this cereal grain is becoming almost paramount in English-style oatmeal stouts enjoyed by craft beer fans.

Corn: When used in beer, it provides a smooth neutral sweetness. It also lightens a beers character and stabilizes flavor.

Rice: It doesn’t really have a taste when used in beer. It does lighten a beer’s body and creates a dry profile. It is often used in beers from Asia where other types of grains do not easily grow.

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