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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Beer School #3 Adjuncts

Adjuncts are any grain that is not malted but is used in brewing.

Each of the adjunct grains will be dealt with individually with what beer styles they are used in and what they contribute to the beer itself.


Wheat is used in a variety of beer styles, sometimes as a "head grain". Head grains are grains that improve the head retention in beers, and because wheat is full of protein it is perfect for creating a rich and flothy head on all sorts of beers. The beer often has a haze to it from the high level of proteins and many wheat beers are unfiltered, meaning the yeast is still present.

Wheat does add its own flavor to beer, and will add a characteristic that I think of as bready or doughy. This character is most notable in American style hefeweizens like Boulevard's unfiltered wheat. Besides american style hefeweizen, the German style hefeweizen (Konig Ludwig) is heavily reliant on wheat. These beers use a yeast strain which creates the wonderful flavors of clove, banana or bubble gum is a drinkable summer beer. Wit beer (Celis Wit) is another beer that needs wheat to exist, it is often brewed with spices like coriander and orange peel.


Oats are used as a head grain in some beers, but really come into their own in oatmeal stout. Oats add an increased mouthfeel, making any beer with oats in it seem smooth and silky in the mouth. It seems historically that oats were a large portion of the mash bill in medieval beers. I have been warned that too much oats in a beer lends an unpleasent grainy bitterness. Perhaps this was used to counter the sweetness of malt before hops came into wide use.


Rye is a grain that adds a phenolically or spicy character to brews. It is needed for the German beer style "Rogenbier" which melds the spicyness of rye with the clove and banana flavors of hefeweizen.

Corn and Rice-

I lumped Corn and Rice together because they are mainly used for the same reason, as adjuncts that lighten the body and the flavor of a beer. These are used mainly in American style pilsners (Budweiser, Coors, Miller) to make a light bodied and light flavored drink.

There are many other grains used as adjuncts in brewing, but mostly in small regional styles, and none as widely as these adjuncts.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Making Crab Apple Jelly

Crab Apples are a part of nearly any city. These trees are planted for their unique foliage and beautiful blossoms. It is a shame that so many people think of the crab apples themselves as little more than a nuisance.

The upside to so many people not using the fruit themselves is that they will often let you scour their trees as well as any you might be so lucky to have. This was my first attempt at Crab Apple Jelly and I would like to thank Suite 101 ( ) for the recipe that I used as my starting point. I changed the recipe slightly however.
The recipe I used was

9 cups crabapples
Zest of 1 small lemon
3 cups sugar

Clean the crabapples removing any unusable apples, along with stems and leaves. Cut the crab apples in half if they are small, or quarters if they are very large. This will allow the most flavor to be extracted from the crab apples. Place into a pot, and add water until you can see it, but not to the point that the apples float. Add the lemon zest. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through a cheesecloth and strainer saving the liquid. You will have about 4 cups of liquid remaining. If you press the apples in the strainer, you will have a cloudy jelly.

Return the liquid to the heat and bring to a boil for about 3 minutes. Add the sugar. Heat until the liquid is 220 degrees F. Pour into sterilized jars and seal the jars in a water bath.
Out of 9 cups of roughly cut crabapples, I made approximately 1 and 1/2 pints of jelly once some of the liquid had evaporated.

Here are the crabapples and lemon zest. I used mostly an orange yellow crabapple with a few very small dark purple crabapples. I do not know the varieties, but the yellow seemed to be a bit sweeter.

Here is the liquid after extracting the juice. A bit cloudy and a pale pink, I reheated it to boiling and then added the sugar.
The finished Jelly in jars. Notice how much darker the color became. This is my first expirament with jelly making and I am extremely please with the results. The color is gorgeous and the flavor is like a sweet apple, with enough tartness to make it interesting.
I hope that you all enjoyed my little jelly making adventure.