Beer is the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage in the world, and it is also the third most widely consumed drink in the world after water and tea! No sporting event, festival or BBQ is complete without a nice, ice cold beer. This article takes a look at the process that is involved in making beer.
Beer has four main ingredients: barley, hops, water and yeast. The basic way that these ingredients work is that the sugars are extracted from the grains of barley, and then the yeast helps to convert it into Co2 and alcohol to create the beer. Those are just the basic ingredients required to brew the beer. Many breweries choose to use additional ingredients in order to give it more flavour. These ingredients can include things like fruits and berries, honey and herbs. There are also some more unusual flavours available to purchase, such as chocolate flavoured beer!
The first step is the malting process. The grains are harvested, heated and dried, and then cracked in order to isolate the enzymes required to brew the beer. Barley is the most common type of grain used to make the beer, although wheat and rye can also be used.
The grains go through a mashing process which involves them being steeped in warm water in order to release sugars and activate the enzymes. The liquid is then drained from the mash. The liquid is now extremely sweet and sticky, and it is known as wort.
The next step in the process is to add hops and other spices to the wort and then boil it for approximately an hour. Hops are the small fruit of a vine plant. They are used because they help to balance out the sugar and provide additional flavouring to the brew. Another benefit of using hops is that they will act as a natural preservative.
Now it is time for the fermentation process. The wort and hops mixture is left to cool before it is strained and filtered to remove any particles from the liquid. Yeast is added to the mixture and it is poured into vessel in order for it to ferment properly. It is in these vessels that the fermentation process occurs. The yeast is what consumes the sugar in the mixture, and as a result it produces alcohol and Co2 as the waste products. The amount of time that it is fermented for will depend on the type of drink that is being made. For example, many ales are stored for a couple of weeks at room temperature, while many lagers are stored for a month or longer at colder temperatures.
The brewing and fermenting process is now complete, however the beer will not yet be carbonated. There are two ways to properly carbonate beer, by artificial carbonation, or the beer can be bottled and then it will naturally carbonate over time. Some brewers also like to age the beer in the bottles as it can help to give it more flavor. Some people say that keg beer in Edmonton are to die for, and I certainly agree with it. Take a look here to check out great deals!