You may have heard of the “Bavarian Purity Law,” also known as “Reinheitsgebot.” This German law, dated 1516 and still enforced today, stipulates that only barley malt, hops, and water may be used in the making of beer. It is one of the earliest, and longest running, examples of consumer protection legislation.
Inventive brewers, like inventive cooks, have often experimented with the addition of other ingredients in their search for the perfect brew. These additional ingredients are called adjuncts and are any source of carbohydrates other than malted grains. Many brewers, in their search for the perfect bottom line and a stable beer with a longer shelf life, add ingredients such as cane or corn sugar, molasses, corn, and rice in order to provide the sugars required for fermentation without incurring the costs of more expensive malted grains. Though these cheaper ingredients, in restrained quantities, can be used with intelligent care by a craft brewer, macrobrewers tend to be unrestrained in their use.
Japanese sake, has for years been mislabeled “rice wine.” Because rice is a cereal grain, sake is really a form of beer.