Grains are the heart of every good beer. We can use different types of grains for our beer depending on the style of beer we want to produce. The specific types of grains and their ratios/quantities are called a grain build. The grain build will depend on the style of beer and prefference of the brewer. If you are new check out my other articles about beer ingredients.
Why we use them
They are providing the necessary sugars for fermentation and contributing to the flavor and body of the final product. There are many different types of grains that can be used in the brewing process, each with their own unique characteristics and contributions to the flavor and mouthfeel of the beer.
Which grains we use
The most common grain used in beer is barley, which is a cereal grain that has a high starch content and is rich in enzymes. Barley is typically used as the base grain in most beers, providing the majority of the fermentable sugars and contributing to the overall flavor and body of the final product. In addition to barley, other grains that are commonly used in beer include wheat, oats, rye, and corn.
Wheat is a cereal grain that is often used in the production of wheat beers, such as hefeweizens and witbiers. Wheat has a higher protein content than barley, which can give the beer a fuller body and a creamy mouthfeel. It also contributes to the hazy appearance of many wheat beers.
Oats are another grain that is often used in the production of beer, particularly in oatmeal stouts. Oats have a high protein and fat content, which can give the beer a smooth, creamy mouthfeel and a fuller body. They also contribute to the flavor of the beer, adding hints of nuttiness and sweetness.
Rye is a cereal grain that is sometimes used in the production of rye beers, such as rye IPAs and rye saisons. Rye has a spicy, spicy flavor and can add complexity to the beer. It is also used for its ability to help improve the head retention of the beer.
Corn is a cereal grain that is sometimes used in the production of light lagers and other light beers. It has a lower protein content than barley and wheat, which can give the beer a lighter body and a crisper finish. Corn can also contribute to the sweetness of the beer.
In addition to these grains, brewers may also use specialty grains in their beers to add flavor and depth. These grains include caramel and crystal malts, which are barley grains that have been roasted to varying degrees to create different flavors and colors. Darker malts, such as chocolate malt and black malt, are used to give beers a rich, dark color and a roasted, chocolatey flavor.
The grains used in the brewing process are typically milled, or ground, into a coarse flour-like substance called grist. The grist is then mixed with water to create a porridge-like substance called the mash. The mash is heated to activate the enzymes in the grains, which convert the starches in the grains into sugars that can be fermented by the yeast.
The grains used in the brewing process have a significant impact on the final flavor and character of the beer. By using different types of grains and varying the ratios of different grains, brewers can create a wide range of flavors and styles of beer, from light and refreshing lagers to rich and complex stouts. Grains are an essential ingredient in beer, and the choices made by the brewer can greatly impact the final product.