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THE BREWING PROCESS
Beer is essentially a mixture of natural ingredients. Like baking a cake, beer needs specific ingredients added at certain times to create the desired outcome. Each step in the brewing process is equally important in the production of high-quality beer.
Step 1: BREWING
What's involved? Brewing begins with malted barley being milled, weighed and dropped into a mash tun where it is mixed with water to produce a mash. Starches in the grains are converted to fermentable sugars by a carefully controlled time-temperature regime.
"A spoon full of fermentable sugar."
The malted barley is left in the mash tun until the correct sugar content (a lot more than a spoonful) has been produced. Here's what happens next:
The sugary mash is pumped into the lauter tun, which separates the solids from the liquids.
The liquid, now called wort, is pumped into the brew kettle where the spicy hops are added.
The sugared and spiced wort is then brought to a boil and boiled for a specified length of time.
Step 2: FERMENTING
Fermenting is essentially the process of making alcohol and CO2.
What's involved? Fermentation begins with a liquid mixture called wort - which is boiled-down malted barley and hops. The wort is taken from the brew kettle, cooled and aerated in route to the fermenter, where fermentation takes place.
"Double, Double Boil and Bubble"
En route to the fermentation tank, a special strain of brewer's yeast is added to the wort.
In the fermentation tank the yeast grows, converting the wort's fermentable sugars into alcohol, CO2 and flavor compounds.
Fermenting takes eight to ten days to complete, with the fermentation tank cooled and the yeast removed upon completion.
Step 3: AGING
Like bananas, beer is better when it's not green!
What's involved? After fermentation, the filtered, fermented wort (a mixture of boiled-down water, malted barley and hops) is officially beer. But, you do not want to drink it just yet.
"They call it mellow wort."
At this stage the beer, or "green beer," as it is called, needs to ripen.
This is where an aging tank comes in. The green beer stays in this tank, allowing the flavors to blend and mellow.
The beer is tasted and tested to make sure it meets each brewer's high standard of quality.
Step 4: PACKAGING
At the packaging stage, beer is ready to be bottled, canned or put into kegs.
What's involved? The brew, now aged to perfection, is pumped from the aging tanks through a filter to the packaging release tank. Then the beer is tested to make sure it meets the brewer's high standard of quality. From there it is pumped to a bottle, can or keg filler.
"The complete package."
Heat pasteurization process involves warming the beer to 140 degrees. It is then allowed to cool down to room temperature.
Pasteurization allows the beer to be stored without refrigeration, extending the shelf life to 17 weeks.
Beer is essentially a mixture of natural ingredients. Like baking bread, beer needs specific ingredients added at certain times to create the desired outcome. The recipe for beer is complex in nature, but it begins with four main ingredients: water, malted barley, hops, and brewer's yeast.
Water Beer is approximately 90 percent water. That means it is critical that the water used be of the highest quality.
Each brewery needs a close and reliable water source.
A specific combination of minerals in the water is needed to facilitate the brewing process.
Malted Barley Malted barley is the soul of beer. It provides beer with most of its characteristic color and flavor. To produce darker beers, malted barley is roasted to a dark brown or black. Malted barley is a major source of starch.
It contains an enzyme needed to break down its own starches into fermentable sugars.
When these fermentable sugars are combined with brewer’s yeast, they produce alcohol and carbon dioxide and other flavor compounds.
Hops Hops are dried flower blossoms found on a type of perennial vine. They are used to “spice up” beer. Hops provide much of the aroma and bitter flavors for beer.
There is an element in hops that reacts adversely to light.
When exposed to light, this element breaks down and produces a sulfur compound.
This sulfur compound creates an undesirable aroma, often referred to as “skunky.”
In order to combat this skunkiness, brown bottles were designed to protect the beer from light.
Brewer's Yeast Yeast is added to malted barley after it has been broken down into fermentable sugars.
The yeast converts the fermentable sugar into alcohol.
This process is called fermentation.
During fermentation the yeast increases four fold in size.
This yeast is recovered and used for future fermentations, if quality specifications are met.
STYLES OF BEER (What's an ale? What's a lager?)
Beers fall into two broad categories: Those that are produced by top-fermenting yeasts (ales) and those that are made with bottom-fermenting yeasts (lagers). These styles are called "hybrids."
Ales came first, when brewers weren't exactly sure what role yeast played. Because ales were unstable, brewing ceased in warm weather and brewers would store reserves in as cool or cold an environment as they could find. Brewers storing their beer in very cold mountain caves found that their beer was more stable because the yeast had sunk to the bottom.
This storage method became know as German "lagerung." At colder temperatures these yeasts worked slower, producing beer more attenuated, cleaner, rounder, and less fruity than ales. Fermentation took one-to-three months.
Ales include everything with ale in the name (pale ale, amber ale, etc.), porters, stouts, Belgian specialty beers, and wheat beers. They generally have a more robust taste, are more complex and are best consumed cool (50 degrees F. or a bit warmer) rather than cold.
Lagers include pilseners, bocks and dopplebocks, "Maerzens/Oktoberfests," Dortmunders and a few other styles found mostly in Germany. They are best consumed at a cooler temperature than ales, although anything served at less than 38 degrees F. will lose most of its flavor.