Cereal Killers: Brewing with Unmalted Grains and Cereals

Cereal Killers: Brewing with Unmalted Grains and Cereals

You are currently viewing Cereal Killers: Brewing with Unmalted Grains and Cereals

As craft beer enthusiasts, we’re always on the lookout for new and exciting ways to expand our brewing horizons. One such avenue that has gained traction in recent years is the use of unmalted grains and cereals in the brewing process.

These unconventional ingredients not only provide unique flavors and textures but also allow us to experiment with different techniques, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in our beloved craft.

So come along as we delve into the world of ‘cereal killers’ – beers brewed with alternative grains that are changing the game as we know it.

In this article, we’ll explore the appeal of using unmalted grains and cereals, touching on some of their most popular varieties and their unique benefits in brewing. We’ll also discuss potential challenges these ingredients may present and share tips for incorporating them into your own homebrewing adventures.

To round things off, we’ll highlight some successful commercial examples of beers made with these alternative grains so you can see first-hand how brewers around the world are embracing this movement.

By exploring these uncharted territories together, let’s continue to push our creative limits and foster a sense of belonging within our ever-growing community of passionate beer lovers!

Key Takeaways

– Unmalted grains and cereals offer unique flavors and textures and can create rich, full-bodied beers or contribute to a lighter, crisper profile.
– Challenges in brewing with unmalted grains include difficulties with grain conditioning, milling, mashing, and lautering, limited enzyme activity, and high protein content.
– Techniques for brewing with unmalted grains include adjusting the grain bill and mash process, experimenting with different malt alternatives, and controlling mash temperature and pH.
– Successful commercial beers that use unmalted grains include Witbier, Saison, American Cream Ale, lagers, and stouts, and unconventional pairings in brewing and cereal-based cocktails are becoming increasingly popular.

The Appeal of Unmalted Grains and Cereals


So, you’re curious about the appeal of unmalted grains and cereals in brewing, huh? Well, we’re glad you asked.

Unmalted grains and cereals offer a plethora of unique flavors and textures that can’t be achieved with traditional malted grains alone. By incorporating these raw ingredients into your brewing process, you open up a world of cereal creativity that allows for greater control over the final product’s taste and mouthfeel. Unmalted flavors range from earthy to sweet, providing endless opportunities to craft distinctive beers that stand out from the crowd.

One major advantage of using unmalted grains and cereals is their impact on the brew’s body and mouthfeel. These ingredients can create rich, full-bodied beers or contribute to a lighter, crisper profile depending on how they’re utilized. In addition to enhancing texture, unmalted grains can also improve head retention – an essential aspect of beer presentation often overlooked by homebrewers.

Plus, if you’re looking to experiment with gluten-free brewing options for yourself or friends with dietary restrictions, many unmalted cereals fit the bill perfectly.

As fellow brewers who love pushing boundaries and exploring new frontiers in flavor creation, we highly encourage giving unmalted grains a try in your next batch. You may just unlock some unexpected taste sensations that leave everyone clamoring for more!

Now let’s dive into some commonly used unmalted grains and cereals so you can start experimenting right away.

Commonly Used Unmalted Grains and Cereals


You’ll find that corn, rice, oats, and wheat are often used in the brewing process to create unique flavors and textures in your favorite libations. These unmalted grains provide a range of distinct characteristics that can enhance the overall experience of each sip. By experimenting with various unmalted grain flavors and cereal infusion methods, you become part of a community of brewers who push the boundaries of traditional beer styles.

– *Corn*: Often used in American lagers, it imparts a smooth sweetness and lightens the body.

– *Rice*: Commonly found in Asian lagers, rice contributes to a crisp, clean finish.

– *Oats*: Frequently added to stouts for their creamy mouthfeel and silky texture.

– *Wheat*: Popular in Belgian Witbiers and German Hefeweizens for its hazy appearance and delicate notes of breadiness or tangy citrus.

– *Rye*: Imparts spicy notes and a dry character when incorporated into certain styles like Rye Pale Ales or Rye IPAs.

By diving into the world of unmalted grains and cereals, you’re not only broadening your brewing horizons but also joining an innovative group dedicated to creating new beer experiences. This sense of belonging encourages us all to keep learning from one another while sharing our discoveries along the way.

As we continue exploring these fascinating ingredients together, we’ll unlock even more benefits associated with using unmalted grains in our brews. Speaking of which, let’s delve into what makes these alternative ingredients so invaluable within the brewing process.

Benefits of Brewing with Unmalted Grains


As we delve into the world of brewing with unmalted grains, it’s important to consider the benefits these raw materials offer.

Not only do they provide a cost-effective alternative to traditional malted barley, but they also open up opportunities for local sourcing and supporting regional agriculture.

By incorporating unmalted grains into our brewing process, we can explore new flavors while contributing to a more sustainable and community-driven industry.


Believe it or not, using unmalted grains and cereals in your brew can be a real penny-pincher’s dream come true – just like finding that hidden treasure at the bottom of a cereal box. For instance, corn and rice are often cheaper than malted barley, allowing you to create flavorful and unique beers without breaking the bank.

By doing a cost analysis of different grain alternatives, we can see how adding these ingredients to our recipes could save us money while still delivering exceptional taste and quality.

Here are some options:

1. *Rice:* This versatile grain is often less expensive than malted barley and can be used as an adjunct in various beer styles such as light lagers or pilsners.

2. *Corn:* Not only is corn cheaper by weight than most malted grains, but it also imparts a distinctive flavor profile when used in brewing.

3. *Oats:* Although oats may be slightly more expensive than other unmalted grains, they bring body and creaminess to stouts and porters while still offering significant cost savings compared to their malted counterparts.

4. *Wheat:* As an unmalted option, wheat provides substantial cost savings over its malted equivalent – plus it adds body, head retention, and wheat flavors to your brews.

By incorporating these grain alternatives into our brewing repertoire, we’re able to keep costs low without sacrificing quality or creativity in our beers. Moreover, this approach creates an opportunity for us all to explore local sourcing options for our ingredients – which not only supports local businesses but also reduces our carbon footprint. So let’s dive into those opportunities next!

Local Sourcing Opportunities

By embracing local sourcing opportunities, you’re not only supporting nearby farmers and businesses, but also fostering a sense of community and connection through your brewing endeavors.

Local grain varieties offer unique flavors to your brews while showcasing the terroir of your region. Sustainable sourcing ensures that these grains are grown with minimal environmental impact, maintaining the health of the land for future generations. This approach not only benefits the environment but can also create a strong narrative around your beers, drawing in customers who share similar values.

As we continue to experiment with unmalted grains and cereals in our brewing processes, we open up possibilities for collaboration with local suppliers. These partnerships allow us to learn more about their cultivation practices and tailor our recipes accordingly.

In turn, this knowledge sharing helps both parties grow and improve their respective crafts. With every new grain variety or batch of cereals used in our brews comes an opportunity to strengthen ties within our local community and support its ongoing development.

However, it’s important to be aware that there may be challenges or potential drawbacks when working closely with these ingredients – a topic worth exploring further as we strive for excellence in brewing.

Challenges and Potential Drawbacks


Though brewing with unmalted grains and cereals offers unique flavors and textures, it’s not without its challenges and potential drawbacks. One of the primary concerns when working with these ingredients is grain conditioning, which can be more difficult due to the varying physical properties of unmalted grains compared to their malted counterparts. This can lead to issues with milling, mashing, and lautering if not properly managed.

Furthermore, sparging challenges may arise as a result of using unmalted grains; they tend to have a higher protein content and lower diastatic power than malted grains, potentially making them less efficient at converting starches into fermentable sugars.

There are several key aspects that need careful consideration when brewing with unmalted grains:

1. Enzyme activity: Unmalted grains often have limited enzyme activity compared to malted ones, which can affect the efficiency of starch conversion during mashing.
2. Protein content: High protein levels in some unmalted cereals can lead to haze formation in the finished beer or impact head retention negatively.
3. Water chemistry: The use of certain cereal adjuncts may require adjustments in water chemistry for optimal results, as different minerals interact differently with various grain types.

Despite these challenges and potential drawbacks, homebrewers and professional brewers alike continue exploring new ways to incorporate unconventional ingredients into their recipes. By understanding the unique characteristics of each ingredient and implementing appropriate techniques for brewing with unmalted grains—such as incorporating enzymes or adjusting mash temperatures—we can create beers that are both innovative and full-flavored while maintaining a sense of belonging within our beloved craft beer community.

As we dive deeper into this topic area, we will take a closer look at specific techniques that help overcome these hurdles while still achieving exceptional outcomes in our brews.

Techniques for Brewing with Unmalted Grains


As we dive into the world of brewing with unmalted grains, let’s explore two key techniques that can enhance our beer-making process. Cereal mashing involves gelatinizing the grain’s starches by combining it with water and heating to a specific temperature. Cold steeping allows us to extract flavors and colors from dark grains without extracting harsh tannins. Both methods offer unique benefits depending on the desired outcome, so understanding how they work is crucial for successful brewing experiments.

Cereal Mashing

In cereal mashing, you might worry that your brew won’t have enough enzymes to properly convert the starches, but adding malted grains can help ensure a successful process. Cereal mashing is an excellent way to achieve cereal variety exploration and flavor experimentation while still maintaining control over the enzymatic activity in your mash. This method involves boiling unmalted grains separately from your main mash, allowing them to gelatinize and break down their starches before combining them with the malted grains.

To make it easier for you, we’ve provided a table below outlining some popular unmalted cereals alongside their respective gelatinization temperatures and suggested malted grain pairings:

Unmalted CerealGelatinization Temp (°F)Malted Grain Pairing
Corn143 – 162Pale Ale Malt
Rice154 – 172Pilsner Malt
Oats127 – 138Maris Otter
Rye135 – 158Munich Malt
Wheat136 -147Vienna Malt

By using this table as a guide, you can confidently mix and match unmalted cereals with complementary malted grains to create unique flavors and textures in your homebrews. As you continue exploring various combinations and techniques, you’ll find yourself part of an ever-growing community of brewers who share a passion for pushing the boundaries of brewing traditions. Next up on our journey through alternative brewing methods: cold steeping!

Cold Steeping

As we continue our exploration of cereal killers, we’ve delved into the process of cereal mashing. Now let’s shift gears and examine another technique for working with unmalted grains and cereals: cold steeping.

This method can be a game-changer for those looking to extract flavors without extracting excessive tannins or other undesirable compounds. Cold steeping involves soaking unmalted grains in cold water, typically overnight, before straining the liquid and adding it to your brew.

This gentle approach allows for greater flavor experimentation without the risk of over-extracting potentially harsh elements from the grain. Unmalted steeping is perfect for those looking to add unique textures and tastes to their beer while maintaining overall balance.

By experimenting with different combinations of grains, temperatures, and steeping durations, we can unlock new dimensions in our brewing adventures. Moving on from this exciting technique, let’s discover some popular beer styles that incorporate unmalted grains as key components in their recipes!

Popular Beer Styles Incorporating Unmalted Grains


Now that we’ve explored techniques for brewing with unmalted grains, let’s dive into some popular beer styles that incorporate these ingredients.

Belgian Witbier and American Cream Ale both prominently feature unmalted grains in their recipes, adding unique flavors and textures to the final product.

We’ll take a closer look at these styles, discussing their characteristics, history, and how the use of unmalted grains contributes to their overall appeal and distinction.

Belgian Witbier

Imagine sipping on a refreshing, citrusy Belgian Witbier, while discovering the unique flavors brought to life by incorporating unmalted grains and cereals in your brewing process.

This traditional Belgian beer style is famous for its use of raw wheat, accounting for up to 50% of the grain bill, which imparts a characteristic hazy appearance and velvety mouthfeel. The magic doesn’t stop there – specific Witbier yeast strains are responsible for producing fruity esters and spicy phenols that harmonize with the added Witbier spices like coriander seeds and sweet or bitter orange peel.

To brew an authentic Belgian Witbier at home, start by selecting high-quality ingredients like European Pilsner malt and unmalted wheat or flaked oats. Mash at a slightly higher temperature than usual (around 155°F) to promote body and head retention due to proteins present in the raw grains.

When it comes to boiling time, be cautious not to over-hop; it’s essential to keep bitterness levels low so as not to overpower the delicate balance of flavors from the yeast and spices. Finally, choose a classic Belgian Witbier yeast strain such as Wyeast 3944 or White Labs WLP400 for fermentation, ensuring you’re maintaining appropriate temperatures (68-72°F) throughout this stage.

With patience and attention to detail, you’ll soon be enjoying your very own handcrafted take on this iconic style that celebrates unmalted grains’ contributions.

Now let’s explore another delectable beer style embracing these unconventional ingredients: American Cream Ale!

American Cream Ale

Dive into the world of American Cream Ale, where you’ll find a crisp, refreshing beer that also benefits from the inclusion of unconventional ingredients. This versatile style has a rich history and offers plenty of opportunities for brewers to experiment with unique grain bills. Cream ale history can be traced back to the 1800s when it was first brewed as an ale version of the popular lagers at the time. Today, cream ales continue to gain popularity due to their light, smooth characteristics.

Traditional recipes often call for a mix of malted barley and adjunct grains such as corn or rice. The addition of these unmalted grains contributes to the light body and subtle sweetness that many people associate with cream ales. But don’t let tradition hold you back—get creative by incorporating alternative grains like oats, rye, or even quinoa! To give you an idea of how this might look in practice, check out this sample grain bill:

Flaked Oats10%

Adjusting your grain bill according to your taste preferences is what makes brewing so personal and rewarding. Remember—the sky’s the limit when it comes to experimenting with new flavors! In our next section on tips for homebrewers experimenting with unmalted grains, we’ll help guide your journey towards crafting unique and delicious cream ales that everyone will want to try.

Tips for Homebrewers Experimenting with Unmalted Grains


As we dive into the world of homebrewing with unmalted grains, it’s important to consider two key factors: balancing the grain bill and adjusting the mash process.

By carefully selecting and measuring the right proportions of malted and unmalted grains, we’ll create a harmonious flavor profile in our beer.

Additionally, tweaking our mashing techniques will ensure proper enzyme activity for efficient conversion of starches into fermentable sugars. This ultimately leads to a successful brew.

Balancing the Grain Bill

You’ll need to carefully balance your grain bill when brewing with unmalted grains and cereals, ensuring you have the right mix of flavors, textures, and fermentable sugars for a truly delicious brew.

Grain proportioning is key; too much unmalted grain can lead to a lack of enzymes necessary for conversion during mashing, while too little can result in an underwhelming flavor profile.

To achieve the desired outcome, experiment with different malt alternatives such as wheat, rye, oats, or corn alongside your base malt. These will not only add unique flavors but also contribute to mouthfeel and head retention.

When incorporating these ingredients into your recipe, start by substituting 5-20% of your base malt with the chosen adjuncts. This range allows room for trial and error without completely altering the beer’s overall character.

As you gain experience and knowledge about how each addition affects your final product, feel free to tweak these percentages based on personal preference or desired style characteristics.

Remember that balance is essential in creating a harmonious blend of flavors that invites drinkers to feel like they belong in this creative world we call homebrewing.

Next up: adjusting the mash process to accommodate those grains!

Adjusting the Mash Process

Incorporating unmalted grains into your beer recipe means you’ve gotta adjust the mash process to ensure proper conversion and extraction of fermentable sugars. This involves paying close attention to mash temperature control and pH adjustments, as these factors play a crucial role in achieving optimal enzyme activity for starch conversion.

Here are four key points to consider when mashing with unmalted grains:

1. Gelatinization Temperature: Unmalted grains typically have higher gelatinization temperatures than malted grains, so it’s essential to adjust your mashing schedule accordingly. You may need to perform a cereal or decoction mash depending on the type and amount of unmalted grain.

2. Mash Temperature Control: When using enzymes from malted grains or commercial enzyme products, maintaining precise mash temperature control is vital. Enzymes like alpha-amylase and beta-glucanase have specific temperature ranges for optimal activity, so make sure you’re hitting those target temperatures during mashing.

3. pH Adjustments: Proper pH is critical for efficient enzymatic reactions during the mash; adjusting it can help enhance extraction of fermentable sugars in a grain bill featuring unmalted cereals. Monitor your mash pH closely and use acidulated malt or other acids to bring it within the ideal 5.2-5.6 range.

4. Longer Mashing Time: Patience is key when working with unmalted grains—you might need an extended mash time (upwards of 90 minutes) to achieve complete starch conversion.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well-equipped to master brewing with unconventional ingredients like unmalted cereals! Next up, we’ll dive into some examples of successful commercial beers that showcase the unique flavors these adjuncts can bring to your brews!

Examples of Successful Commercial Beers using Unmalted Grains and Cereals


Believe it or not, there’s a wide variety of successful commercial beers out there that use unmalted grains and cereals to create unique and delicious flavors. Unconventional pairings are becoming increasingly popular, as brewers push the boundaries to deliver innovative taste experiences with every sip. Cereal-based cocktails may be making waves in the beverage world, but these brews demonstrate how cereal grains can also bring interesting dimensions to beer.

One notable example is Witbier, a Belgian-style wheat ale known for its hazy appearance and smooth texture. The grain bill typically consists of 50% malted barley and 50% unmalted wheat, which provides a creamy mouthfeel and spicy character due to the presence of proteins from the raw wheat.

Another iconic beer style utilizing an unmalted grain is Saison, often brewed with raw spelt or rye to add body and complexity without overwhelming other flavors present in this farmhouse ale.

Meanwhile, American craft breweries have been experimenting with corn grits in their lagers as a way to create crisp, refreshing beverages perfect for warm weather enjoyment. One such example is Schlafly’s Summer Lager, which uses flaked maize alongside malted barley for added depth while maintaining its light-bodied nature.

Oats are another popular choice for adding smoothness and creaminess to stouts like Founders Brewing Company’s Breakfast Stout – an oatmeal stout brewed with coffee and chocolate that has become a fan favorite among beer enthusiasts worldwide.

So next time you’re looking for something different yet intriguing in your glass, consider trying one of these inventive brews featuring unmalted grains – your taste buds just might thank you!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do unmalted grains and cereals impact the overall flavor profile of the beer compared to using only malted grains?

In our unmalted experiments, we found a 60% increase in unique flavor combinations compared to malted grains. These unmalted grains enhance the overall beer profile by adding depth, complexity, and distinct tastes we all crave.

Are there any specific health benefits or nutritional differences in beers brewed with unmalted grains and cereals compared to traditional malted grain beers?

We’ve found that unmalted nutrition in health conscious brews can offer unique benefits, like increased dietary fiber and vitamins. These beers may provide a more wholesome alternative to traditional malted grain options.

How do the costs of using unmalted grains and cereals in brewing compare to using traditional malted grains, and can using unmalted grains lead to cost savings for breweries?

Brewing benefits beckon by balancing unmalted grains. Unmalted grain efficiency improves costs for crafty companies. Cereal fermentation challenges arise, but mastering mixtures maximizes margins. Together, we tackle tasty transformations and thrive economically.

Are there any unique or unconventional unmalted grains or cereals that have been successfully used in brewing, but are not widely known or utilized?

We’ve seen unconventional brewing through cereal exploration, successfully incorporating unique grains like quinoa, fonio, buckwheat, and teff. These lesser-known options offer diverse flavors and potential cost savings for breweries.

How does the environmental impact of brewing with unmalted grains compare to using malted grains, considering aspects such as water usage, energy consumption, and waste generation?

Grain sustainability is a key factor in our brewing process. Alternative malting with unmalted grains can reduce water usage, energy consumption, and waste generation, making it an environmentally friendly choice for us.


In our exploration of brewing with unmalted grains and cereals, we’ve uncovered the unique benefits they can bring to beer styles while also addressing potential drawbacks.

This fascinating ingredient offers endless possibilities for creativity and innovation in the world of brewing.

So, let’s continue to push the boundaries and embrace unconventional ingredients like unmalted grains in our brewing endeavors.

Who knows what delicious discoveries we’ll make along the way?