Chapter 6

Brewing Adjuncts

Syrup and Sugar Adjuncts

Syrups and sugars are adjuncts that are used in brewing too, especially with British and Belgium brewers. Syrups and sugars can be added to the wort either at the boiling stage or as primings to provide fermentable sugar for secondary fermentations and as a means of adjusting beer sweetness. If added during boiling, syrups can be used to extend brewhouse capacity or to improve beer stability. Syrups that are added directly to the kettle to supplement fermentable carbohydrates effectively extend the capacity of the brewhouse to produce more fermentable wort.


The two major syrups used in brewing are sucrose- and starch-based. The sucrose-based syrups have been refined from natural sources such as sugar cane or beets. The starch-based syrups are produced from cereals by hydrolysis using acid, exogenous enzymes, or a combination of the two to produce a range of syrups with different fermentabilities.

High-Fructose Corn Syrup

There has been some confusion between corn syrup and other similar-sounding ingredients. In the food industry, there is a product that has become rather controversial over the past few years called high-fructose corn syrup or HFCS. High-fructose corn syrup is a hydrolysate of corn starch, but the process allows for a higher level of fructose to be present in the resulting syrup.


The addition of sugar adjuncts increases the initial gravity of the wort without requiring mashing. This is essential in high-gravity brewing, where concentrated beer is brewed from a high initial gravity wort, typically 18 to 20 degrees Plato. It is difficult and highly inefficient to mash enough grain to make high-gravity wort. Instead, lower-gravity wort is supplemented with sugar. The high-gravity wort is then fermented and conditioned. The beer is diluted with deaerated, carbonated water to the correct ethanol content before release to customers.


Sucrose (table sugar) is made from cane or beet sugar. Granulated sugar, the normal end product of the refining process, may be added directly to the kettle, but usually is dissolved in a solution before being added. Granulated sugar, as a disaccharide, is not completely fermented by yeast.

Candi Sugar

A few brewers specify candi sugar. This sugar is made by allowing a supersaturated solution of sucrose to cool slowly. Thin rods or string may be inserted into the solution to act as nuclei on which the large crystals grow over a period of from 2 to 3 weeks.


Dextrose is also known as corn sugar and is available in the trade in the purified form as a spray dry or as a crystalline powder. Dextrose sugar is added directly to the brew kettle during boiling.


Maltodextrin is the most complex fraction of the products of starch conversion. It is tasteless, gummy, and hard to dissolve. It is often said to add body (palate fullness) to beer, increase wort viscosity, and add smoothness to the palate of low-malt beers.


Caramel is used in brewing as a flavor and/or coloring agent. For example, many mild and sweet stouts contain caramel for both flavor and color.

Invert Sugar

Sucrose can be split into its two component sugars (glucose and fructose). This process is called inversion, and the product is called invert sugar.

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