Beer is an alcoholic beverage made from 4 ingredients:
- Water - most important because beer is mostly water
- Barley malt - grain that has been germinated partially and then kilned at various temperatures
- Yeast - not the bread kind but the brewing one that consumes sugars (derived from malt) into alcohol & carbon dioxide
- Hops - cone like flowers that add bitterness, flavor, aroma & natural preservatives to the beer.
It is made by:
- Soaking crushed barley malt in hot water for 60 to 90 minutes. This process is called mashing.
- After mashing, the water, which now contains the sugars that have been extracted from the barley malt, is drained out. This process is called lautering and the sweet liquid that is extracted is called wort.
- This wort is then boiled for 60 - 90 minutes during which hops are added. After the boil is complete, the wort is cooled rapidly to 20 C.
- Then the yeast is mixed and this mixture, called green beer, is then left for a week or more so that the yeast can consume the sugars (ferment) and give us what we want - alcohol.
That's it. Your beer is ready. Well, almost. At this stage it is called green beer. After a week or more, during which time the green beer conditions, it will be ready to drink and can be called beer.
Simple. Isn't it? Next >> Equipment for brewing I