Beer Making - What is Beer Enhancer?
When making beer from kits, some of our customers use Beer Enhancer instead of sugar. There are many Beer Enhancer and Brew Enhancers on the market. But what is Beer Enhancer?
Beer Enhancer is usually a mixture of Brewing Sugar and Malt designed to improve the taste of your final beer.
What is Brewing Sugar?
Firstly, a bit about Brewing Sugar and why it's used in Beer Enhancers, rather than household sugar. Brewing Sugar is Dextrose Monohydrate. It will start more quickly and ferment more cleanly in home brewing compared with household sugar. It is usually recommended for making beers, wines, ciders and spirits.
Brewing Sugar is used both for the primary fermentation and final priming for Beers, whether finished in bottles or a barrel. Normal household sugar takes longer to be absorbed by the yeast. This can lead to bi-products and impurities being produced. These bi-products can affect the final taste. Household sugar can also dilute flavour and reduce body in the final beer.
Years ago, people used household sugar for making their homemade beer. This was simply because there was nothing else available for home use. That is no longer the case. You will still read that it's fine to use household sugar, and it is. But people who brew all the time are adamant that you will get a better outcome with brewing sugar when brewing beer, and we've been told that using household sugar can sometimes give beer kits a 'cidery' final taste. So using Brewing Sugar is recommended over Household Sugar when Brewing Beer. And using Beer Enhancer in place of sugar is better still.
What is Beer Enhancer?
Beer Enhancer is a blend of brewing sugar and dried malt extract (DME). It sometimes also includes glucose. The amount of each ingredient will depend on which brew enhancer you choose. Coopers, for example, make 3 Brew Enhancers. Coopers Brew Enhancer Number 1 is light and is recommended for use with lighter style beers such as Lager, Draught and Pilsner. Coopers Brew Enhancer Number 2 is dark and is recommended for use when a fuller, maltier flavour is preferred. Coopers Brew Enhancer Number 3 meanwhile is described as the ultimate enhancer for all beer styles where a fuller flavour is desired. Using Beer Enhancer will improve your beer's head retention, give more body to it and add to the overall flavour of your beer. So for what is effective a few more pence a pint, you can make a much better beer from the original Beer Kit.
At what stage do I add the Beer Enhancer?
Simply follow the instructions provided on your beer kit, substituting your chosen Beer Enhancer where sugar is used in the original recipe. You'll be amazed at the difference it makes.
What else can I do to Customise an off-the-shelf Beer Kit?
A customer came in only yesterday and told us he loves adding different ingredients to his beers. He notes down in a book what he's done so that, if he loves the outcome, he will know what he did to replicate the taste. We agree with him: note down what you do. You may think you'll remember exactly what you did... but chances are, you won't. Don't ask me how I know this.
We have another customer who breaks down his kits into batches, then tries different malts and hops in each batch to see what difference they make. Making a mini-mash of variations like this is a great way to make your own, unique beer if you're not yet ready to go all the way and make it from scratch.
Have you ever added hops, malts or something else to a beer kit, and how did it turn out? We're currently experimenting with adding natural flavourings to a base beer kit. We'll let you know how we get on.
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