Most modern British beers require the use of sugar to get the right character in the finished beer. Despite what all-malt fanatics would have you believe. It's how brewers in the US can get British beers very, very wrong. By trying to brew them all-malt. Read on to discover why.
"When the tax on malt was abolished some years ago, and the so-called system of free mash tun substituted, little could it have been imagined what an important part such a step would play in the history of brewing. We venture to say that it would be impossible to produce beers of the quality which a critical ale drinker now demands, without the sanction to replace a quantity of malt with substitutes in the shape of sugar and kindred carbohydrates. Nowadays, sugar is used as a substitute for malt, not only for the sake of economy but because it has become absolutely necessary to do so. We do wish that the farmers, with whom we are in entire sympathy, would all recognise this fact. We are told, and have no reason to doubt, that the old-time beers produced from malt and hops only were very palatable. But we do know that it was necessary to store and mature them for a very long time before they became so. High taxation and other overhead charges have only been met by means of a quicker turnover of capital. In order to achieve it, brewing methods have had to be overhauled and speeded up. Consequently, beers must now be brewed such as will be in good condition and ready for consumption even within a few hours of being racked. This object can only be achieved by using materials such as sugars which are less subject to the influence of nitrogenous and albuminous matters. This argument is in itself indisputably in the favour of sugar. There are many others. With the gravities of beer too low to give fermentation and yeast reproduction such as we should desire, sugar is an undeniable asset.
When already inverted and used as a mixing, it is of the greatest benefit, and we know of many cases where apparently hopeless situations with sluggish fermentations have been saved by the addition of a suitable sugar solution. Furthermore, it may well be argued that great economy of space is effected by using sugar instead of malt. There is certainly much to be said for this argument when one comes to study the convenient method now adopted of solidifying invert sugar into hard oblong slabs, instead of sending it in inconvenient casks and pails, and the even more recent development of fluid delivery in bulk.
To those who agitate against the use of sugar, it has come as quite a shock and an amusing one when we have informed them that beer is only the produce of fermented sugars, and that all malt becomes sugar in the process of conversion in the mash tun. The resulting sugar differs very slightly from cane or beet sugars in its composition. The manufacturers of brewing sugars have made great advances in recent years. Every care is now taken to assure that they contain no deleterious substances, and they can be used with much benefit and every confidence."
"Brewing: a book of reference", 1st ed, revised, 1947.
There may be more from this source later in the week. About malt. Seems a good time, seeing all the discussions we've had about it of late.