Brewing beer has been around for millennia, and while the basic principles remain the same, the technology and techniques to make beer have come a long way.
Let’s look at the modern beer brewing process and how it has developed over time since its inception in ancient history to the large-scale operation that is seen at major breweries today.
The History Of The Beer
Beer is an alcoholic beverage that is created by the fermentation of grains. The most common grain used in beer brewing is barley. However, wheat, rye, and oats are also popular choices. Hops are added to the mixture for flavor, and yeast is used to cause fermentation.
Beer is usually made in countries such as Belgium, Germany, and the Czech Republic. It is also popular in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. In the United States, there are many types of beer that are brewed, including ales, lagers, porters, and stouts.
Making beer dates back to about the sixth millennium BC, and archaeology shows that emerging civilizations such as ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia brewed beer. Descriptions of various brewing recipes are available from Ancient Mesopotamia.
How Is Beer Created?
The primary ingredients used in the production of beer are grains, often barley, but occasionally oat and wheat. After these are collected, these grains are roasted, dried, and cracked to separate the enzymes that create beer.
The malt is run through a mill at the brewery. It is essential the right amount of malt is crushed since the size of the grind affects the flavour of the finished product. A very fine grind can cause a stuck mash by turning the grain into a flour-like powder, while an improper grind results in insufficient starch extraction for the brewer.
The heated water, which is normally between 62 and 70 °C, is next combined with the crushed malt. The result of this steeping process is the mash, which resembles oatmeal.
The water hydrates the malt, activates the enzymes, and transforms the starches in the grain into fermentable sugars. These will later serve as the yeast’s food source. The wort, a sweet liquid, becomes the substance of the beer.
During the mashing process, enzymes convert the starches in the grains into sugars. These sugars will later be fermented by the yeast to create alcohol.
The spent grains must first be properly removed from the wort before brewing. Mashout, the initial process, involves raising the mash’s temperature to 77°C to stop enzymatic reactions and maintain the wort’s sugar profile.
By pouring the wort out of the bottom of the lauter ton and recirculating it through the grain bed, loose grain particles are filtered away, producing a cleaner wort.
The wort is moved to the boil kettle after being recirculated. In order to extract as many of the remaining sugars as possible, the spent grain in the lauter ton is lastly rinsed, or sparged, with hot water.
In a big container referred to as a “copper” or “brew kettle,” hops (and other flavors) are added to the beer to cook it.
The hops’ flavors and fragrances are released during the boiling process as a result of chemical reactions. The final product’s protein haze and flavor are reduced by boiling as it enables grain proteins to combine with tannins and precipitate away.
In conditioning tanks of various sizes, from large cylinder vessels to open stone jars to wooden vats, the fermentation process takes place. For the yeast to function properly, the wort must first be cooled to a certain temperature, usually between 15-20 °C.
Brewers frequently utilize one of two forms of fermentation. The primary fermentation process, which is used by many brewers, turns most of the sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide over three to five days.
However, as it takes at least two weeks or longer, secondary fermentation is occasionally used by smaller breweries. As it conditions the beer and reabsorbs any undesired chemical byproducts, the yeast works more slowly.
Since there is less sediment in the finished beer, the clarity of the product has increased. It often also indicates an increase in alcohol by volume (ABV).
Yeast and wort are combined with sterile air-filled water after fermentation.
The purpose of the yeast is to absorb the mash’s sugars and convert them to alcohol and carbon dioxide (CO2).
The conditioning process ensures that the beer is ready for sale, and usually lasts for around two weeks. Its purpose is to allow the beer to mature, for flavors and aromas to mellow, and aid in the clarifying process for a smooth finish.
Conditioning also helps to stabilize the flavor and aroma of the beer, so that it tastes the same every time you drink it. Beer that hasn’t been properly conditioned can taste sour.
Filtering, Processing, and Bottling
The beer is then put through a filtering procedure to eliminate undesirable byproducts including yeast, tannins, and proteins that would create flavors and haze. While many of these impurities will eventually precipitate out of the beer as it ages, filtering helps to accelerate the process by getting rid of them in a matter of minutes as opposed to weeks or months.
The finished product is made after the filtering procedure is accomplished. The beer may then be placed in a cask, bottles, cans, or other containers. Unfiltered beer frequently qualifies as “craft” beer because of its stronger flavor.
As you can see, the process of beer-making is intricate. The history of this drink is just as fascinating, with different countries and cultures layering their own unique traditions into the brewing process. Whether you’re a beer lover or not, we hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the interesting story behind the delicate process of brewing beer.