Purists Vs Add-junks

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Gulfview Heights SA
I am so surprised how many absolute beer purists are out there. So much so, I would have to say that most - and I am talking a large percentage - of those I have met and those online that think it's absolute sacrilege to add anything to beer other than malt.


when it comes down to Belgians when it suddenly becomes okay to add sugar, spices and alike.

I've never thought like that and consider any self imposed restrictions as adding false ceiling to home brewing. I am drinking right now a lager that has 10% Jasmine rice - it's a light lager (not low ABV) and it's great. Subtle fragrance from the rice sneaking through,

It would be interesting to see how many self restricted purists out there compared to those that have no self imposed restrictions at all.

I think you'll find that most members here push the envelope. There's recipes for beers with rice, cacao nibs, licorice, candy sugar, honey, pumpkin, spices, ginger, chilli, you name it. Homebrewers are probably the more adventurous bunch. Try asking the germans instead (not german homebrewers)...
I'll add whatever is appropriate to the beer I'm brewing. Mostly that's water, yeast, malt and hops but I have no qualms adding oats, sugar, cacao, citrus zest, oak, coriander, or whisky if the beer calls for it.

I know some of those aren't adjuncts as such but I would also happily add rice or polenta to a pale lager, invert sugar to a brit (I don't usually but that's different from being a theoretical purist). Whatever works in terms of making good beer.
Other ingredients, sure. I used some dextrose the other day, because I wanted to jack up the ABV but not the body. I sometimes use dry malt to top-up if I have mucked up my calculations. Honey, cocoa, citrus, rice, oats & coriander seeds have all made their way into 2012 brews. I think the bigger 'purist' mindset is about how utterly horrible a beer would be with a can of hopped extract and a kilo of sugar. But for grain brewers that I have met, there have been no boundaries about adding specialty adjuncts.

Manticle, what have you added whisky to, and in what quantities ? I'm considering a generous splash into a stout currently fermenting, along with some oak cask chips.
Who are these absolute purists? Must be German lager drinkers.
Manticle, what have you added whisky to, and in what quantities ? I'm considering a generous splash into a stout currently fermenting, along with some oak cask chips.

Just one or two aged sour beers I did a while back.

One got oak chips soaked in a nice single malt whisky. I drank the whisky after a week and added only the chips. Whisky was great - good way to zazz up a cheaper blended one I reckon - much darker, much more character.

The other was with a similar idea but used a quality bourbon whiskey. Might have added at least part of the liquid in but couldn't help having a taste. Again - the oak really adds something.

Might work well in a stout but while I love peated whisky, I'd steer clear of it and go something woodier or lighter like dalwhinnie or something. Soak that in oak for a week, add the oak. Peat and beer don't always work well to my palate.

I think I need to make a whisky stout now.
Getting stuck into a fresh cream ale at the moment and it's great. I'll admit to being a bit corny from time to time.

Ricey just doesn't sound the same.
Thanks for the response. Might try a cheapie, and inoculate a few bottles with varying quantities of 'oak juice', allow to age until NYE and try them out before wasting a single malt !

Labels, I should also add to the earlier post, I weighed out some rye for an upcoming brew, rye IPA seems to be the big thing in 2012. I also have Sam Calagione's Kiwi Wit on the to-do list. I really think there are more non purists out there than you are assuming.

The great thing about brewing your own beer is that you can do whatever the hell makes you happy. If you want to add half a cabbage, a fistful of dried porcini mushrooms and three dead mice to your beer, then go for it.

Warning: Not a recipe suggestion.
Getting stuck into a fresh cream ale at the moment and it's great.

That's disgusting and fascinating in equal measures :lol:

Don't the dairy fats separate from the beer?
I've nerver thought about adding whisky to beer but doing a cask ale in an old whiskey keg sounds very interesting.

As for Mr. Manticle, I'm with him, single malts fall loosley into two categories, woodies and smokies and I much prefer the woodies. The heavily smoked whiskies IMO have so much smoke flavour they take over but the woodies have a great balance between light smokey and oak aged.


Actually many of my favourites are Islays - I just don't like peat in beer (still enjoy smoke in beer, just not peat smoke).

However when a whisky is JUST peat smoke and nothing else, it's very disappointing. I put Laphroaig in this category. Lagavulin, equally super smoky has layer upon layer beneath the smoke that makes it superb. Others like Bruichladdich and Bunnahabhain have a much more delicate profile with lighter flavours that give them a great complexity. Some very complex and deep speysides around too.

For me it's a bit like beer. A big strong stout or IIPA, well brewed can punch you in the face and make you say WOW! A Barley wine or doppelbock or Belgian dark strong can do likewise. However I like and rate as highly a beautiful, smooth delicate pilsner, a bitter but sweet altbier or a simpler slightly hoppy pale ale. Might say 'wow' with a soft voice and elongated vowels but the admiration is the same. Loving the Schloss eggenberg I'm buying at the moment.

Needs to be well made, needs to be contextual (eg. appropriate for my situation) and above all, needs to be in my glass.
No such thing as a bad style - only a bad example of it. That goes for whisky, beer, wine and many many other things (not all alcohol related).

Hell I even like some Jazz music
Got a 2nd place in QABC with a beer with Polenta and white rice in it.

The big thing was it was a specific 'no DMS, corn or adjunct in the style guidelines.

If it had been fresher, the judge might have been more likely to pick it up, but I got marked down for staleness, so it was a bet either way.

Truth be told, I only entered that one for the hell of it.

Moral of the story - well judged risk x 2.

So yes, I do add stuff, but not for the sake of doing so.
Blending up 1.5kg of prunes tonight. So, yeah - I'm not purist.

More of a prunist.
Equally OT,

Jesus, you really know your whiskies. Can't say that I'm anywhere near that knowledgable.

I do agree on one important thing though, you're not stuck in a coridoor with styles (beer). It has to be well made. Doesn't matter on style EVEN if it's an Aussie draught ( a lot of vitriol about Aussie draught beer on this forum and I don't think it deserves it, even if it's not to your liking)

Well made means care and effort have gone into makingit, striving to be the best.

Hell, I like jazz too and being neary 60yo am currently enjoying uplifting trance (is that normal? or are all home brewers eccentric)

Yeahm I recall reading the following just a couple of days ago and it gave me the screaming shits:

"Next time, don't use it or any other additive. You Really don't need it, beer will clear by itself and be a more natural product. In My Opinion don't use them. Malt, Hops Water Yeast = that's enough"

Good thread, OP. Hopefully we can get blokes like this to open their minds a little bit.
i dont filter I dont clear **** it beer gives you the shits cloudy but its still nice if you brew it right! and your guts get used to the yeast explosions!!!! haha

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