Grain is the backbone of every beer and is the main factor when it comes to the flavor of each beer. The grain also helps with giving beer much of its flavor and appearance, as well as helping with simple sugars to be fermented into alcohol.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the popular grains and how they affect the flavor and taste of our beers.
Barley: This is one of the foundations of beer, barley is transformed into brew-ready malt by taking a bath in hot water. This causes the grain to create enzymes. These enzymes then go on to transform the grain’s starches into sugars, which yeast will feast on to later create what makes a beer great…. alcohol!
Specialty Malts: Specialty Malts are a little more special-er, crystal (or caramel) malts are specially stewed to create crystalline sugar structures within the grain’s hull. They add sweetness to beer. Kiln where it is dried at higher temperatures for a longer period of time, roasted, further processed, or a combination of two or all three to develop its distinctive, signature characteristics. Coffee beans undergo a similar transformation. Dark malts, highly roasted to achieve the robust flavors associated with stouts, schwarzbiers, bocks, and black IPAs.
Rye: With the help of barley, rye can help to sharpen flavors and add complexity, crispness and subtle spiciness, as well as dry out a beer. This grain can also help to create a chocolate or caramel flavor. One of the shortcomings of rye is that with large percentages of grain used during the brewing process, it can cause the beer to clump up and harden.
Wheat: It is packed with proteins that help to create a fuller body and a thicker head. A large amount can result in a hazy beer. Wheat can sometimes impart a slight tartness on the beer.
Oats: Oats are normally used with Barley to help create a creamy, full-bodied brew that makes this beer as smooth as satin!
Corn: When used in beer, corn helps to provide a smooth and somewhat neutral sweetness. It helps to utilize a beer’s body, decrease the haziness, and help to stabilize the flavor.