Any alcoholic beverage made by the fermentation of a grain is considered beer. There is more than one type and more than one style of beer.
Brewing is the practice of regulating the interactions between the beer ingredients resulting in a unique beverage we all love – beer.
Let’s start with the basics.
The basic ingredients that go into beer are water, hops, yeast, and a starch source. The starch source is usually barley, but can be other grains.
The grain must first be malted. This is a process in which grains are soaked and allowed to germinate. The germination process is then stopped by drying the grain with hot air. This allows an enzyme in the grain to turn starches into sugar. Once the grains have been malted, the malt is crushed to allow extraction of fermentable sugars producing a milled product called grist.
The grist is transferred into a mash tun. It is mixed with hot water and the enzymes in the malt now break down the grain’s starches into sugar.
The mash is then moved into the lauter tun. At this point, a sweet liquid (known as wort) is separated from the grain husks.
The wort is brought to a controlled boil. This is when hops and other ingredients are added.
The wort is cooled, strained and filtered. The liquid is transferred to a fermenting vessel where yeast is added. The yeast converts the sugars in the wort into alcohol and CO2.
Time is needed for the young “green” beer to mature. This allows the development of the beers unique flavors and smooth finish. Once the beer reaches maturity it is filtered and carbonated and transferred to a bright tank. Here it takes a few weeks to a few months to age and then it will be ready to enjoy.