How Beer is Made

July 6th, 2009 | by Carleton

beerprocess0b

Beer is made from four basic ingredients: Barley, water, hops and yeast. The basic idea is to extract the sugars from grains (usually barley) so that the yeast can turn it into alcohol and CO2, creating beer.

beerprocess1b

The brewing process starts with grains, usually barley (although sometimes wheat, rye or other such things.) The grains are harvested and processed through a process of heating, drying out and cracking. The main goal of malting is to isolate the enzymes needed for brewing so that it’s ready for the next step.

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The grains then go through a process known as mashing, in which they are steeped in hot, but not boiling, water for about an hour, sort of like making tea. This activates enzymes in the grains that cause it to break down and release its sugars. Once this is all done you drain the water from the mash which is now full of sugar from the grains. This sticky, sweet liquid is called wort. It’s basically unmade beer, sort of like how dough is unmade bread.

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The wort is boiled for about an hour while hops and other spices are added several times.
What are hops? Hops are the small, green cone-like fruit of a vine plant. They provide bitterness to balance out all the sugar in the wort and provide flavor. They also act as a natural preservative, which is what they were first used for. (For more info on hops take a look at our article on the subject.)

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Once the hour long boil is over the wort is cooled, strained and filtered. It’s then put in a fermenting vessel and yeast is added to it. At this point the brewing is complete and the fermentation begins. The beer is stored for a couple of weeks at room temperature (in the case of ales) or many many weeks at cold temperatures (in the case of lagers) while the yeast works its fermentation magic. Basically the yeast eats up all that sugar in the wort and spits out CO2 and alcohol as waste products. (For more info on the difference between ales and lagers check our article here.)

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You’ve now got alcoholic beer, however it is still flat and uncarbonated. The flat beer is bottled, at which time it is either artificially carbonated like a soda, or if it’s going to be ‘bottle conditioned’ it’s allowed to naturally carbonate via the CO2 the yeast produces. After allowing it to age for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months you drink the beer, and it’s delicious!

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Categories: Education, General

  • http://www.blondesnotbombs.tumblr.com/ blondes.not.bombs

    “sort of like you were making tea”

    Mmmmm… delicious, delicious beer-tea…..

  • http://www.blondesnotbombs.tumblr.com/ blondes.not.bombs

    “sort of like you were making tea”

    Mmmmm… delicious, delicious beer-tea…..

  • http://blog.beeriety.com/2009/08/03/what-is-bottle-conditioned-beer/ What is bottle conditioned beer? – Beeriety

    [...] yeast  to naturally carbonate the beer after fermentation is complete. As you’ll recall from our article on how beer is made, fermentation works by having the yeast eat the sugars in the wort and spitting out alcohol [...]

  • http://blog.beeriety.com/2009/08/18/what-is-cask-ale/ What is Cask Ale? – Beeriety

    [...] process starts after the beer has been brewed, but remains uncarbonated and unbottled. The beer is loaded into a steel barrel, or cask, similar [...]

  • http://blog.beeriety.com/2009/08/20/the-process-of-dry-hopping/ The Process of Dry Hopping – Beeriety

    [...] we’ve explained what hops are and covered how they are used in the brewing process, but that’s not all hops have to offer. Despite what some companies would have you think, [...]

  • http://blog.beeriety.com/2009/10/27/try-these-five-barrel-aged-beers/ Try These Five Barrel-Aged Beers – Beeriety

    [...] is usually placed in barrels for aging after primary fermentation is complete and before it has been carbonated. A variety of barrels can be used, but brewers [...]

  • http://blog.beeriety.com/2010/01/12/eco-friendly-brewers/ Eco-Friendly Brewers – Beeriety

    [...] Environmentally sustainable life and work can be tough for most of us, and it’s even more difficult for those in isolated locations like Alaska. That hasn’t stopped the Alaskan Brewing Company from taking extra steps for the benefit of the planet. Due to their remote location and lack of natural resources, many basic ingredients and supplies must be shipped long distances. Essential items such as heavy canisters of CO2 to artificially carbonate their beer must endure a long and treacherous journey. The brewers found themselves constantly having tons of CO2 canisters shipped 900 miles from Seattle to their facility in Juneau. The cost of this operation and the gas required for it was not sustainable, both for their pocketbooks and their carbon footprint. Instead, the brewery developed a unique system to recapture and reuse the CO2 that is naturally produced in the brewing process. [...]

  • http://blog.beeriety.com/2010/02/04/introduction-to-lambics/ Introduction to Lambics – Beeriety

    [...] their yeast through spontaneous fermentation of wild, natural yeast. The unfermented beer (known as wort) is laid out by the brewer in the open air and wild strains of yeast and bacteria are allowed to [...]

  • http://blog.beeriety.com/2010/02/16/style-profile-milk-stout/ Style Profile: Milk Stout – Beeriety

    [...] of the main things that gives it its creamy goodness. During the brewing process most sugar in the wort (pre-beer) is fermented into alcohol by yeast. However, there is always some sugar that the yeast is unable to [...]

  • http://blog.beeriety.com/2010/02/24/how-yeast-effects-beer-flavor/ How Yeast Effects Beer Flavor – Beeriety

    [...] we’ve mentioned before, when yeast is introduced to wort (pre-beer) it will eat the sugars for energy and expel CO2 and alcohol as waste products, a process known as [...]

  • http://blog.beeriety.com/2010/04/08/an-introduction-to-mead/ An Introduction to Mead – Beeriety

    [...] mead brewing process is very similar to the beer brewing process. Both start with a sugar-rich substance, (with beer it’s grains, with mead it’s honey) which is [...]

  • LOL

    LOL

  • Lindapbrown

    Thank you so much–elegant, simple, clear with great illustrations. Bravo! (and the next beer’s on me)

  • http://www.arosph.dk/index.php?/OM-os/din-vej-til-hurtig-og-kompetent-behandling.html Aros

    Beer is made from four basic ingredients: Barley, water, hops and yeast. The basic idea is to extract the sugars from grains 

  • mazi

    Rofl RAWWRRRxxxx

  • charlotte

    hey babes

  • mazi

    ol TI CHI PUONG =D

  • Kensy

    what language do you speak

  • Nigelchanyc

    this helped my homework. Thanks! :)

  • Ramesh3591

    thank u very much… to make me more knowledgeable about beer… it made motive in me to make beer @ home…   

  • Chloeswinton

    ew this is minging mate.

  • Hannah

    yeast is da boooom.

  • Sir Reginald Winterbottom

    Nice simple explanation. Cheers!

  • Jackwilliams

    hiya sexy

  • Jackwilliams

    number 27 please

  • Jackwilliams

    SHIT WEBSITE

  • Tyneece1

    YUMMAAAAY

  • Dickhead1

    Keen to get on the horsey gang buzz Yo

  • Stacey1

    jak
    what a liar eaaah

  • stacey1

    poooooh you stink arss

  • stacey1

    talk shit ya homo im horney

  • Bala

    Simple and clear

  • brandy

    The yeast that is used for beer its extract from horse shit..

  • yongama

    Cheers to the beerginners hala!!!!

  • LaudanumIsHelpful

    Nice

  • christina thomas

    Superman vs Hulk sueprhero battle rocks! check out the Man of Steel take on and defeat the Incredible Hulk. Marvel and Dc crossover event.

  • joejumper

    i thought these comments would be posted by a civil roup of beer-making conisourers talking about their latest batch…but you people are just weird lol

  • h.shelton

    this is so helpful, thanks loads

  • Tintin

    i’m gonna be an alcoholic when i grow up :D

  • peter202

    come fuck wiv me then

  • Shaznay

    This helped me with my Homeqork about drugs stupid homework but whatever :/

  • brian

    hey bby

  • Ellie Daniellie Jarvis

    this helped me a lot thanks xxx

  • guest

    hops are flowers not fruit

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