Alternative Fermentables Beer

Well hey there beer lover! Have you ever wanted to expand your palate beyond the usual barley and wheat brews? That’s where the funky, flavorful world of alternative fermentables beers comes in.

These creative concoctions toss the standard brewing playbook out the window and experiment with unique grains, fruits, vegetables, and more to make some truly weird yet wonderful brews.

We’re talking beers fermented with sorghum, rice, honey, maple syrup, even bread! The possibilities are endless when brewmasters start messing around with Mother Nature’s pantry. Expect tart, fruity, spicy, and savory flavors that’ll tantalize your tastebuds.

Sure, some of these quirky quaffs may assault your senses at first sip. But with an open mind and adventurous spirit, you’ll come to appreciate the innovation of alt fermentable beers.

So next time you find yourself in a craft beer shop or pub, why not peruse the selection for an intriguing alt fermentable offering? You never know what wacky flavors you’ll uncover until you take that first daring draught. Here’s to new beer frontiers my friend! Chin chin!

Here are 10 popular commercial examples of Alternative Fermentables beers with a brief description of each:

  1. Dogfish Head Midas Touch – This ancient ale uses saffron, grapes, and honey fermented with barley malt. It has a crisp, refreshing taste with notes of fruit and honey.
  2. New Belgium Glutiny – A gluten-free pale ale made with sorghum, millet, and brown rice. It’s light and crisp with citrus aromas.
  3. Green’s Discovery Amber Ale – Brewed with sorghum and buckwheat, this GF amber ale has caramel, biscuit, and nutty flavors.
  4. Stone Delicious IPA – A gluten-reduced IPA with intense hoppy bitterness balanced by malt flavors. Citrusy and piney.
  5. Omission Pale Ale – This craft pale ale from Widmer Brothers uses a gluten-removal process on barley malt, resulting in low gluten levels. Floral and fruity.
  6. Brunehaut Bio Blonde Beer – A Belgian-style abbey ale made with buckwheat malt. Light and refreshing with hints of spice and fruit.
  7. Lakefront New Grist Pilsner – An award-winning gluten-free pilsner brewed from sorghum, rice, and hops. Crisp and clean with biscuity notes.
  8. Ground Breaker Dark Ale – A rich, roasty gluten-free dark ale featuring chocolate and coffee notes from roasted chestnuts, buckwheat, and lentils.
  9. Ghostfish Grapefruit IPA – Bright, juicy grapefruit flavors shine in this naturally gluten-free IPA made with millet, rice, and buckwheat malts.
  10. Evasion India Pale Ale – A hop-forward IPA brewed with millet and buckwheat. Bold citrus and pine with a dry, crisp finish.

Have you ever sipped a beer and thought, “Wow, this tastes unique”? Well, there’s a good chance that what made that beer stand out could be due to something called alternative fermentables.

It’s a trend that’s taking the craft beer world by storm, and for a good reason.

In this article, we’re diving deep into the world of alternative fermentables in beer. We’ll explore what they are, why they’re becoming a hit, and how they’re changing the flavors in your pint glass.

So, grab your favorite brew, and let’s embark on this flavorful journey together!

The Rise of Alternative Fermentables in Beer Brewing

Remember the good old days when beer was just barley, hops, water, and yeast? Well, times are changing! Nowadays, brewers are like culinary explorers, constantly seeking new territories. This quest has led them to the land of alternative fermentables. But what’s driving this trend?

Firstly, health and dietary trends are playing a big role. With more people going gluten-free or watching their calorie intake, beers brewed with ingredients like sorghum or rice offer a welcome alternative.

Also, let’s not forget the thrill of experimentation. Brewers love to push boundaries and alternative fermentables like rye, oats, and even quinoa offer new flavors and textures to play with.

This shift isn’t just a fad; it’s a revolution in the craft beer world. Consumers are now spoilt for choice, with beers offering a range of flavors and textures that traditional ingredients might not provide. It’s like going from black and white TV to full-blown 4K – the variety is dazzling!

Types of Alternative Fermentables

So, what are these magical ingredients transforming your beer? Let’s break it down:

  1. Rice: Often used in lighter beers, rice gives a crisp and clean finish. Think of it like adding a dash of lightness to your beer.
  2. Corn: This brings a touch of sweetness and helps create a smooth texture. It’s like the silk sheets of the beer world.
  3. Sorghum: A godsend for gluten-free beer lovers, sorghum offers a slightly fruity and tart profile. It’s like the quirky cousin who always brings something different to the table.
  4. Rye: Want a bit of spice in your beer? Rye’s your guy. It adds a peppery note that can really jazz up a brew.
  5. Oats: For a creamy and smooth mouthfeel, oats are the go-to. They’re like the comfort food of the beer world.

Let’s lay it out in a table for a clearer comparison:

FermentableCharacteristicsCommon Beer Styles
RiceCrisp, CleanLight Lagers
CornSweet, SmoothCream Ales
SorghumFruity, TartGluten-Free Beers
RyeSpicy, PepperyIPAs, Rye Ales
OatsCreamy, SmoothStouts, Porters

Also we have:

Each of these fermentables brings its own unique flair to the beer, creating a symphony of flavors that traditional ingredients might not achieve. It’s like painting with a whole new palette of colors – the possibilities are endless!

Brewing Process with Alternative Fermentables

Venturing into the world of brewing with alternative fermentables is like stepping into a new culinary landscape. It’s not just a simple swap of ingredients; it requires some crafty tweaks in the brewing process.

For instance, sorghum doesn’t have the same enzymes as barley, so brewers often need to add them separately.

And let’s talk about rice and corn – these need a special process called ‘cereal mashing’ to break them down properly. It’s a bit like making a risotto; you’ve got to treat these ingredients with a little extra love and care.

But it’s not just about overcoming challenges; it’s about embracing them. Some breweries have become maestros at this, turning what could be seen as limitations into opportunities for creativity. Like a jazz musician riffing on a theme, these brewers use alternative fermentables to compose unique and memorable beers.

Flavor Profiles and Beer Styles

Imagine taking a bite of a spicy rye bread, or a bowl of creamy oatmeal – these experiences can give you a hint of the flavors that alternative fermentables bring to beer. Each fermentable writes its own story in the beer it’s part of.

Beers with rice, like many Asian lagers, are often light and crisp – perfect for a hot summer’s day. Corn adds a subtle sweetness, think of the smoothness in a classic American cream ale. Sorghum-based beers can be intriguing with their slightly fruity and tart edge – a gluten-free option that doesn’t compromise on taste.

Then there’s rye, the rebel of the bunch, adding a spicy kick to rye IPAs and ales. And oats, the unsung hero in stouts and porters, provide that velvety mouthfeel we all love.

The best part? Brewers are just scratching the surface. As they continue to experiment, we’re seeing a whole new world of beer styles emerge. It’s like a gastronomic adventure – you never know what exciting flavors you’ll discover next!

Health and Dietary Considerations

Now, let’s talk health. It’s no secret that many of us are becoming more conscious about what we consume. The rise of alternative fermentables in beer is a nod to this trend.

For those dodging gluten, sorghum and rice-based beers are a game-changer. They offer a chance to enjoy a cold one without the gluten found in traditional barley-based beers.

And let’s not forget about the calorie-conscious crowd. Beers brewed with certain alternative fermentables can be lower in calories compared to their traditional counterparts.

But it’s not just about what’s missing. These beers can also pack a nutritional punch. For instance, beers with oats can have more fiber, and those with certain grains might offer a range of vitamins and minerals.

This shift towards health-conscious brewing doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor for health benefits. On the contrary, it’s about finding that sweet spot where good-for-you and good-taste meet.

It’s like having your cake and eating it too, or in this case, enjoying your beer and reaping some health benefits!

Pros and Cons of Alternative Fermentables Beer

The Bright Side: Pros

  1. Flavor Diversity: Alternative fermentables are like the spice rack of the brewing world. They bring a whole new range of flavors, from the light crispness of rice to the spicy notes of rye.
  2. Health-Friendly Options: With gluten-free and lower-calorie choices, these beers cater to health-conscious drinkers. It’s like finding a beer that speaks your body’s language!
  3. Innovation in Brewing: Using these unconventional ingredients pushes brewers to be more creative. It’s a bit like jazz; the more notes you have, the more exciting the music.

The Flip Side: Cons

  1. Consistency Challenges: Brewing with these new ingredients can be tricky. Like baking a cake with a new recipe, it might take a few tries to get it just right.
  2. Limited Availability: These beers aren’t always easy to find. It’s like a treasure hunt for beer lovers, exciting but sometimes frustrating.
  3. Cost: Experimentation can come at a price. These beers might hit your wallet a bit harder than your regular six-pack.

Web Ratings and Consumer Feedback

Have you ever wondered what the rest of the beer world thinks about these alternative fermentables beers? A quick dive into web ratings and forums reveals a fascinating picture.

Sites like BeerAdvocate and RateBeer are buzzing with opinions. Fans of these beers rave about the unique flavors and the joy of finding a gluten-free beer that actually tastes good. On the flip side, some traditionalists might find the flavors a bit out there, like a classic rock fan at a techno party.

But the overall sentiment? Curiosity and excitement. Most beer drinkers love exploring, and alternative fermentables beers offer a whole new playground. It’s like opening a mystery book – you never know what’s on the next page, but you’re eager to find out.

The Future of Alternative Fermentables in Brewing

So, what does the future hold for beers brewed with alternative fermentables? Well, if the current trend is anything to go by, the horizon looks both bright and diverse.

We’re likely to see more breweries experimenting with these ingredients, much like chefs trying out exotic spices. This means a broader range of flavors and styles for us to enjoy. Also, as consumer demand for healthier and more diverse options grows, breweries will likely respond with even more innovative brews.

And let’s not forget technology. Advances in brewing techniques might make it easier and more cost-effective to brew with alternative fermentables. We’re talking about a future where these special beers are as common as an IPA on a bar menu.

In short, the world of alternative fermentables in brewing is like a garden in spring – full of potential and ready to bloom in a myriad of flavors.


As we wrap up our exploration of alternative fermentables in beer brewing, it’s clear that this trend is more than just a passing fad. It’s a vibrant and evolving aspect of the craft beer world, bringing with it a kaleidoscope of flavors, styles, and possibilities.

From the light, crisp notes of rice to the rich, spicy undertones of rye, these unconventional ingredients are opening doors to new brewing horizons and offering beer lovers a taste of something different and exciting.

In this journey, we’ve seen how alternative fermentables are not just about changing the flavor profile of beer but also about adapting to health trends and dietary needs. They represent the innovative spirit of brewers who are constantly pushing the boundaries to create something unique and enjoyable.

The future of alternative fermentables in brewing looks bright and promising, with a potential for even more creative and diverse beer options. As consumers, we have the pleasure of embarking on this flavorful adventure, discovering new beers that challenge our palates and redefine our beer-drinking experience.

So, here’s to the brewers who dare to experiment and to the beer drinkers who embrace these new tastes. May the world of alternative fermentables continue to flourish and inspire, bringing us all together in the shared love of a good brew. Cheers to the future of beer!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What are alternative fermentables in beer?

Alternative fermentables are non-traditional ingredients used in brewing beer, such as rice, corn, sorghum, rye, and oats. They offer different flavors and can cater to specific dietary needs.

Why are brewers using alternative fermentables?

Brewers use alternative fermentables for various reasons, including creating unique flavor profiles, catering to health and dietary preferences, and experimenting with new brewing techniques.

Can beers with alternative fermentables be gluten-free?

Yes, beers brewed with certain alternative fermentables like sorghum and rice can be gluten-free, making them suitable for those with gluten sensitivities.

Do alternative fermentables affect the beer’s flavor?

Absolutely! Each alternative fermentable imparts a unique flavor and texture to the beer, ranging from crisp and light to rich and creamy.

Are beers with alternative fermentables more expensive?

They can be, due to the additional processes and sometimes rare ingredients involved in brewing them. However, prices vary depending on the brewery and the type of beer.

How do alternative fermentables impact the brewing process?

Brewing with alternative fermentables can require special processes and adjustments, such as additional enzymes or different mashing techniques, to achieve the desired flavor and consistency.

What are some popular beer styles using alternative fermentables?

Popular styles include gluten-free beers, light lagers with rice, cream ales with corn, spicy rye IPAs, and smooth stouts with oats.

Can I brew beer with alternative fermentables at home?

Yes, homebrewers can experiment with alternative fermentables. However, it requires some research and possibly adapting your brewing process to accommodate these ingredients.

Where can I find beers brewed with alternative fermentables?

These beers are often available at craft breweries, specialty beer stores, and in some cases, larger liquor stores.

Are alternative fermentable beers a passing trend?

It doesn’t seem so. The demand for diverse flavors and health-conscious options indicates that beers with alternative fermentables are likely to grow in popularity.