Corn -- A Worthy Ingredient!

At DuVig, we pride ourselves in brewing beer that is 'true to style'.  This is a statement we take seriously in all aspects of the brewing process.  "Brewing to Style” is a process that starts with the choice of ingredients for all our recipes.  Within the beer industry, hops seem to be the most talked about ingredient, but the grain bill is a much larger proportion of each beer recipe and is a large contributor to beer flavor and color and not to mention, the grain bill determines the amount of alcohol in the beer.     

It is fashionable among the craft beer industry to insist that adjuncts, including corn,  are unworthy ingredients in beer. Some of the dismissiveness may be due to the German law “Reinheitsgebot,” a purity law started  in the early 1500s that required beer be made with only water, malted barley and hops (the world had not yet discovered yeast, so it was not written into the law). However, adjuncts are (and were)  viewed differently around the world. Other regions of the world embraced the use of adjuncts,  especially corn as a way toproduce clean and flavorful beers.  Corn has also been used in many spirits throughout the world. It is a main fermentable in many types of whisky and moonshine.  Bourbon uses corn as its main fermentable.

The issue may have risen in the USAwhen macro breweries started using adjuncts such as rice and corn.  They used the ingredients and everyone loved the beers for over a hundred years. But the recent resurgence of craft breweries has created a particular backlash against the big breweries within the micro brew consumer.  It seems as though a love for your local micro brew causes an equal dislike for the macro breweries.  The macro breweries’ decision to use corn and rice in their recipes may have created an environment where micro breweries decided to avoid using these ingredients.

Corn is a distinct ingredient in DuVig's Cream Ale.   The corn makes up about 16% of the grain bill.  The corn is used in the mash along side the more commonly accepted ingredient of barley.  DuVig uses corn because it is a traditional ingredient in the Cream Ale and it is the corn that gives this beer its unique flavor.  Corn helps to dry out the beer and helps with beer clarity because it releases almost no protein in the beer.  DuVig uses corn because of its historical use in the styles and for its unique crisp flavor.  Let's finish with the following quote concerning adjuncts in brewing - In the “Handbook of Brewing,” a chapter on adjuncts written by Graham Stewart of Heriot-Watt University adds this: “Corn gives a fuller flavor than wheat, which imparts a certain dryness. Barley gives a strong, harsher flavor. Both wheat and barley adjuncts can considerably improve head retention. Rice will also give a very characteristic flavor to beer.” Adjuncts not only lend different flavors to home-brews but also improve mouth-feel, head retention and clarity. 

At DuVig, corn holds a place as a worthy ingredient!