The Science Behind Beer Enhancers: Elevating Your Homebrew Experience

Sunday, October 29, 2023
Beer, with its vast array of styles and flavors, possesses one unifying element: the 'mouth feel' or 'body'.

This sensation, reminiscent of the rich texture of a pint of Guinness, is akin to a creamy yet solid breakfast. Now, imagine a beer that feels watery on the palate; it's a stark contrast, isn't it? 

This is where beer enhancers come into play for kit brewers.

Unlocking the Secret of Great Mouthfeel

Simply brewing malt with sugar can produce a beer, but it often lacks the desired body. A well-bodied beer not only enhances the drinking experience but also provides a richer texture. To achieve this, many brewers employ 'beer enhancers' which, as the name suggests, augment the beer's body and overall mouthfeel.

Beer enhancers comprise basic ingredients, primarily a blend of fermentable and non-fermentable substances. The typical components include dextrose and maltodextrin. While the dextrose serves as a vital food source for yeast during fermentation, maltodextrin remains unfermented. This residual maltodextrin contributes to the beer's body, imparting a fuller mouthfeel. Additionally, it aids in foam formation, ensuring your poured beer retains a good head. The combination of these ingredients is particularly suitable for lighter beers, such as pilsners, draughts, and lagers.

For those looking to brew ales or beers with a richer, maltier flavor, light dry malt extract (DME) is the ingredient of choice. DME, often simply referred to as such, can be incorporated into the enhancer mix. 

Some enhancers even include hops tailored to specific beer styles. Hence, when purchasing online, it's crucial to ensure the enhancer's hops align with your intended beer type.
dme adding to beer wort tips

Diving Deeper into DME and Beer Quality

DME plays a pivotal role in enhancing the quality of beer. It's a concentrated malt extract, and its inclusion in the brewing process imparts a depth of flavor and body to the beer that's hard to achieve with simple sugars alone. Unlike simple sugars, which can sometimes give beer an undesirable citrusy undertone, DME provides a balanced malt profile. 

Furthermore, the consistency of DME ensures a uniform flavor profile, which can be a game-changer in achieving professional-quality homebrews.

Branded Enhancers: A Peek into Coopers

Venturing into the realm of branded beer enhancers, Coopers, an Australian beer-making giant, offers two renowned options: Brew Enhancer 1 and Brew Enhancer 2. While the former is tailored for lagers, the latter complements ales. These enhancers are not only available with Coopers' beer kits but can also be purchased separately. 

Apart from Coopers, other esteemed brands like Muntons, Young's, and Copper Tun have cemented their reputation in the brewing community.

Alternative Enhancers: The Role of Spraymalt

Spraymalt, a specially crafted form of DME, offers an alternative to traditional beer enhancers. The drying process, achieved using a spray drier, ensures a uniform powder in terms of both particle size and flavor. Beers brewed with spraymalt tend to have a less dry finish, enhancing the overall drinking experience.

Crafting Your Own Enhancer: A DIY Approach

For those who prefer a hands-on approach, creating your own beer enhancer is entirely feasible. By mixing dextrose, maltodextrin, and DME in specific ratios suited to the beer style, brewers can achieve their desired beer profile. 

For instance, for light beers, a 60% dextrose, 40% maltodextrin, and 0% DME mix is ideal, while a maltier beer like ale might benefit from a 50% dextrose, 25% maltodextrin, and 25% DME combination.

Incorporating an adjunct like beer enhancer can elevate the alcohol content of the brew, making it an added bonus for those seeking a stronger beer.

Concluding Thoughts: Is Beer Enhancer Worth It?


The cost-effectiveness of beer enhancers often comes into question. While adding an enhancer does increase the per-glass cost, the tangible improvement in taste and body makes it a worthy investment. If an enhancer costing $8 can elevate the quality of 23 liters of beer, that's a mere 35 cents added per liter - a small price for a significant upgrade.

Whether opting for branded enhancers, DIY mixes, or store-bought no-frills options, the goal remains the same: to brew a beer that's flavorful, full-bodied, and utterly delightful. After all, isn't that the essence of brewing?
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