Homebrewing Additives & Adjuncts
What are homebrew adjuncts?
The main ingredients used in making beer are water, malt (either grains or extracts), hops and yeast. Many brewers will also tell you that by supplementing your malt(s) with the use of homebrew adjuncts that you can make your beer even better.
There are different types of homebrewing adjuncts and they are classified as solids and liquid syrups. Solid adjuncts are starchy ingredients that need to be converted into simple sugar. They are produced from cereals and are added to the mash tun so that the starch can be converted to sugar, which can be used by the yeast during the fermentation process. If you are using solid adjuncts, it is important that you cook them first to gelatinize the starch before adding them to the mash. This makes it easier to convert the starch into simple sugar.
Liquid adjuncts come in the form of sucrose or grain syrups like rice or wheat syrup. Added directly to the wort they can reduce the loading in the mash and lauter tun (due to being liquid and not solids) thus increasing the capacity of your kettle. Moreover, they can also be added after the fermentation process as a type of priming sugar to give the beer a sweeter flavour.
Adjuncts do play a part in imparting flavour to the final brew, but more than the flavour, they also provide additional features and characteristics to the beer such as better retention and increased nutritional value.
It is important to take note that different types of adjuncts are used to create different types of beer. For instance, candi sugar (a type of solid adjunct) is used to make Belgian ales while honey (a type of liquid adjunct) is used to create mead.