Beer Articles > Brewery Basics: How to Make Beer

Brewery Basics: How to Make Beer

Are you a beer drinker who wonders about how beer is made? Or are you a beer enthusiast who is interested in making your own beer? If your answer is yes to either (or both) questions, read on to learn about some basics of brewing great beer.

Four Main Ingredients

Beer could not be made without four crucial ingredients:

  1. Water

    Beer consists of 90% water. In the days of yore, brew masters utilized the mineral content of natural springs or artesian wells to influence the flavor of beers. Today, brew masters add mineral salts to achieve the right flavor.

  2. Malted Barley

    Malt is defined as any cereal grain after germination and before fully sprouting. In this case, malt is the germinated, dried and slightly roasted grain of barley.

  3. Yeast

    Yeast is critical to creating the alcohol content of the beer through fermentation. There are two types of yeast used to make beer: ale yeast (ferments at temperatures ranging from 60-65F) and lager yeast (ferments at temperatures ranging from 35-40F).

  4. Hops

    Hops are the female flower clusters of a hops plant. Hops have long been used as a flavoring ingredient in beer to add bitterness, or even a tangy flavor.

  5. Key Brewing Processes

    Once you have the four crucial ingredients, there is a process to follow before you enjoy a frosty mug of brew:

    1. Milling

      In this process, the malted barley is weighed and crushed to convert it into starch.

    2. Mashing

      The barley is stirred with hot water, resulting in the extraction of fermentable sugars.

    3. Lautering

      The mixture, now called wort, is separated from the barley grain husks.

    4. Boiling

      The liquid is boiled for 90 minutes to create sugars. Hops are later added to the liquid to give the mixture a bitter flavor and aroma.

    5. Whirlpool

      This process entails the clarification of the liquid by separating particles of protein and hops.

    6. Heat Exchange

      During this process, the wort is cooled to the appropriate fermentation temperature depending on the type of yeast used.

    7. Fermenting and Conditioning

      Here, yeast is added to the wort. After fermentation, the beer is chilled and stored. The storage of the beer will allow for additional clarification and flavor maturation.

    8. Beer Transfer

      The beer is transferred to special tanks for further maturation.

    9. Packaging

      Before this process, beer can be filtered if desired. If not, the beverage can be immediately bottled, canned or pumped into kegs.

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