Alternate adjuncts for CAP

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Roadkizzle, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (212) Nov 6, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    So I'm thinking of making a beer similar to a CAP but after driving through farmland in Texas I was wondering why people only seem to use corn or rice.

    I was thinking of getting some sorghum, grinding or milling it up and using it as an unmalted adjunct at about 20% of 6 row lager grist.

    Does anyone have any experience using grains other than corn or rice as an unmalted adjunct in part of a grain bill?
  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,543) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    The problem that the brewers of American breweries experienced in the 1800’s was that North American 6-row barley malt was very high in protein and would create issues: chill haze, reduced beer stability, They learned that by utilizing a small portion of corn or rice they could effectively ‘dilute’ the protein content of the wort/beer and the result was a higher quality beer.

    I found a reference of: “Sorghum was used in American breweries in the 1940s when traditional ingredients were scarce due to the war, but quality problems led to it being abandoned.”

    Needless to say but no specifics on what the “quality problems” were provided.

    As homebrewers we do not have to be concerned about commercial success. We can try things and the worst case scenario is a dumped 5 gallon batch.

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  3. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (212) Nov 6, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Yeah. I was going to brew a batch after I keg my current lager in August. I should have my first test ready to let some of my relatives try during Thanksgiving.

    I found a few studies about Sorghum use in brewing as an adjunct, but I haven't found any sensory information about it. It looks like the majority of studies are being made to help the Nigerian brewing industry develop.

    A Comparison of Maize, Sorghum, and Barley as Brewing Adjuncts

    Investigating the Use of Sorghum as Malted Barley Adjunct in Brewing Process
  4. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,382) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    How about quinoa, buckwheat, or amaranth? I remember people talking about some of those as alternatives a long time ago.

    Edit - you could explore different kettle sugars, some can add nice flavors.
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  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,543) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    I took note from the article entitled Investigating the Use of Sorghum as Malted Barley Adjunct in Brewing Process

    “…sorghum. It has a sweet and fine flavor which is compatible with many styles of beer,”

    “…sorghum taste may be apparent making it more generally suited for the sweet dark beer.”

    Based upon the above statements perhaps brewing using some sorghum as part of the grain bill would be better suited for a beer style like a Stout?

    I have read that Guinness Nigeria uses locally sourced sorghum to brew their beers.

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  6. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (212) Nov 6, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    @hopfenunmaltz I would definitely be interested in the future of looking into some of the other grains/seeds although I don't have much interest in quinoa for brewing.

    But right now this was spurred by an interest in the local agriculture in Texas. There is a lot of cotton, corn, and sorghum. Cottonseed is toxic, and corn is ubiquitous, so I was a bit more interested in sorghum.

    I like buckwheat for other things (I eat a cream of buckwheat cereal, and soba noodles are tasty) so I'll be looking into it farther down the road.

    From what I know of amaranth I think the size of the grains would prove more challenging than the other grains.

    That's why I was trying to be more general, I was wondering if anyone here has experience with any nonstandard grains used as an adjunct in a pale beer.

    I know that sorghum syrup is commonly used for gluten free beers, but that is derived from the juice of the stalk not actually the grains themselves.
    All of these could be malted and used to make gluten free beers, but I don't care about that.

    I was just interested in exploring adjuncts and the flavor/characteristics of them.

    My thoughts are that this could produce a light slightly sweeter lager. I wonder if a slight increase in IBU's would limit sweetness, I thought that my first attempt would be 18 IBU's as either FWH or an early bittering addition... In the future I may add hallertau or something else floral for a 30min addition.

    On the kettle sugars, I have recently started making milds based off of a 1909 Maclay mild ale recipe. I've used a mix of Lyle's golden syrup and molasses, this past batch used a bunch of Lyle's Black Treacle which I think gave it to much of an ashy taste and difficult to drink much of or if it warms up.
    I was thinking of trying to find sorghum syrup to use in it but I'll have to see if it is still more like molasses or a lighter sugar.

    I've never been a fan of honey in beers even though I love mead.
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  7. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (745) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    ...and the problem is?
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  8. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (212) Nov 6, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I just said it was ubiquitous. I never said there was a problem with it.
    It makes good beer. I really like my mild ale that uses 20% flaked corn and invert sugar.

    But because corn is ubiquitous I already have an idea of the characteristic I'd get from it in a light lager...

    But I like thinking about expanding options. I like tweaking things and trying to make them my own. I want to know what all the options bring to the table so I can make the beer that I'll like the most.

    How do I know if I'm making the beer that I like most if I don't try out the different options? What if I find that a subtle nuttiness from buckwheat really makes for a complex yet still easily drinkable lager. I assume sorghum will be a fairly simple sweet addition but how do I know whether corn is better or worse than it if I don't try it out?

    The industry may have just switched to corn because it was easier sourcing really good corn than getting enough sorghum. It's disuse may not be because it produces worse beer but getting it in high quality was a logistical challenge.
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  9. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (745) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    ...but probably... it will be different...but so would a beer you tweaked with barley and corn.
    John Barleysorghum just doesn't have the same ring to it :slight_smile: good luck
  10. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,292) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Here's how The Practical Brewer (MBAA - 1946) described the types of sorghum used in the US during WWII.

    Milo Maize and Kafir Corn … belong to the Sorghum family and are very much alike in general composition. Although not unknown to brewing, they were not used until May, 1943, when the scarcity of regular corn compelled the brewer to look for other sources of starch.

    When first employed for brewing, Milo Maize and Kafir Corn, usually a mixture of the two, was merely ground to a medium-fine gritty grist. This was added to the cooker in the same manner as corn grits.

    Later in 1943, Milo Maize grits were offered to the brewing industry. Such were prepared running the Milo Maize and Kafir through suitable mills that loosened the outer skin and most of the germs from the kernels. These were removed by either fanning or screening, or both. The remaining starch-body was then ground to the form of grits.

    The book also noted that other adjuncts used and other carbohydrate material which "offer some promise as potential adjuncts" included "Soya-beans, Whey, Potato products and Manioca".
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  11. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (212) Nov 6, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Hm... That's very interesting and I'm glad that there's actually some information about the look into sorghum in the 40's.

    Does that book say anything further about what the thoughts on the beer produced using those methods were? Why was the sorghum not adopted?

    It looks like at first they were struggling because there was no supply of the grains processed as maize was processed into grits. I'm sure that it would have been costly to transition more sorghum for processing... It sounds like they were having to adapt mills designed for other grains to be able to properly handle the sorghum.

    I wonder if the brewers switched back to maize because the sorghum had undesirable properties in the beer or if it was logistical/technological issues that milled maize was already in place instead of having to create the infrastructure to process the sorghum properly and provide an adequate supply.
  12. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (745) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    I'm not even sure corn was degermed for brewing way back when...but probably by WWII? @jesskidden
  13. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,292) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    We were discussing that over in Germany (the forum, not the country) recently, where I quoted the following paragraph from 100 Years of Brewing [1901] (pg 40- varies with edition):

    "The brewing of a beer which will in a superior degree satisfy all modern demands for quality, with an addition of corn (grits or meal) to the malt, is one of the achievements of the last quarter of the century, which period has witnessed the invention and construction of machinery necessary for the shelling and degerminating of the corn."

    So, last couple of decades of the 19th century.
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  14. minderbender

    minderbender Aspirant (218) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    Right around the time of Mr. Gladstone's Free Mash Tun Act of 1880, probably(?) not coincidentally. Previously it would have been illegal to use corn in British beer.
  15. minderbender

    minderbender Aspirant (218) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    By the way, sorry to be pedantic, but it's useful to remember that "corn" was (is?) a generic term for grain in Britain, and so you will find plenty of references to "corn" well before maize was introduced from the New World. During the Great Famine "Indian corn" (maize) was bought by the government and sold cheaply in Ireland to alleviate the hunger. But anyway don't take references to "corn" at face value unless you know that the context implies that maize is being discussed.
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  16. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (212) Nov 6, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Yeah. Most of the intelligent people here are aware that maize is the proper term. I wanted to use it from the beginning but this is a forum primarily populated by Americans and the term corn is more commonly used as the specific name for that one grain.

    It's not just Britain that uses corn as the generic word for grain, I believe it's throughout Europe. In German grain is korn.

    But the book that was being referred to "100 Years of Brewing" was produced in Chicago. America of course wasn't restricted by the british laws restricting the grains useable in beer. Adjuncts were used in America before 1880.
  17. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (745) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    I think we all know by context which corn was being referred to in this thread...not like we were discussing the "The Corn Laws". :slight_smile:
  18. minderbender

    minderbender Aspirant (218) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    Yeah, that's the standard usage in the U.S., and clearly the term "corn" as used in this thread refers to maize (except of course for "kafir corn" and "milo maize," both of which refer to sorghum). I was just alerting people that if you are looking at historical sources, you could easily be confused by the terminology. Brits tended to call maize "Indian corn" as a way of differentiating it from grain in general.
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  19. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (745) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Holy maizeholeo! :slight_smile:
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  20. BumpkinBrewer

    BumpkinBrewer Disciple (357) Jan 6, 2010 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    What about the many wild rice varieties? I always get some interesting perfumey notes when cooking with them.
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  21. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (745) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Yes, I think some wild rice might add some desirable notes...but only when used as a rare specialty grain...not as a major adjunct.