As special as it can be, however, beer is no stranger to its fair share of questions and intrigue that surround its mistifying taste and effects. Out of all the different questions that are asked about the “golden brewski”, however, there’s one inquiry that most connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike have: how is beer made?
If you’ve been meaning to learn more about the special draft that you’ve been drinking, then you’re in luck because we’ve put together a quick step-by-step guide on the beer brewing process. Let’s go over each step in the process in greater detail:
Step #1: Sourcing out and purifying the water
In the brewing industry, it goes without saying that every bottle of beer that’s made is no better than the water that’s used to make it. Pure water, for the most part, is an essential part of the brewing process because it plays a crucial role in cultivating the finest tastes to ever come out of a bottle.
Behind the best bottles of beer are brewers who pay an immense amount of attention to how they source their water and how they purify it by setting rigidly-set standards. Although there may be many factors that go into determining the quality of a sample, the key point is that the pure water needs to have the proper calcium or acidic content for maximal enzyme activity.
Step #2: Creating malt
As another key ingredient in developing a finely-brewed beer, the malt is one of few parts that brewers pay a significant amount of attention to. Generally speaking, brewers use Canadian barley to create brewers’ malt because of its taste and unparalleled ability to tie the characteristics of a beer together. Brewers’ malt is made with the help of germinated grain that is dried in a kiln (or roasted). Through the germination process, the barley’s starch is converted into sugar, and the malt itself darkens in colour.
Step #3: Mashing
Once the brewers’ malt is created, it is then added to heated purified water with the help of a controlled time and temperature process, which is also called “mashing.” Throughout the process of the mashing, the malt’s complex proteins are broken down into simpler nitrogen compound that brings every ingredient together and gives beer its signature taste. The mashing process is carried out in a large round tank called a “mash mixer” or “mash tun” that makes it easier to control the time and temperature the mixture mashes in.
Step #4: Lautering
After the malt-water mixture are mashed together, the resulting mash is then transferred to a “lautering” or straining vessel that generates the liquid extract that becomes reminiscent of the beer itself. The device used for the lautering process is best described as a cylindrical vessel that has a slotted false bottom that is placed two to five centimetres above the true bottom for thorough filtration. As soon as the mixture is passed through the cylinder, the final liquid extract (which is a sugar solution called “wort”) is sparged with water and is sent off to a brew kettle afterwards.
Step #5: Boiling and hopping
After extracting the wort, it will then be boiled in a cauldron-like brew kettle to obtain the final desired extract or hop resins that play a significant role in determining the brew flavour, aroma, and bitterness. On average, the brew kettle used in the boiling and hopping process runs through about 1,000 hectolitres within two hours under carefully-controlled conditions. As soon as the boiling and hopping process is finished, the hops and any other undesirable protein substances are removed to produce a clear, pure wort.
Step #6: Cooling and fermentation
The brewed liquid goes through the final stages of cooling and fermentation before it is bottled and sent off for consumption. The derived wort is sent to a hot wort tank and cooled by using a plate cooler that drops the temperature of the substance itself to anywhere between 50°F to 60°F. After it is cooled, the wort is then fermented by storing it in an apparatus for seven to ten days so that it can further cultivate its flavour and allow the yeast in the beer to develop and be subsequently removed. The result of this entire process is a beer that many people have come to know and love.
Brewing beer is one of the most intriguing and detail-oriented processes, especially in recent years wherein artisans have become even more particular about taste. Based on the average brewing process, it takes much effort and attention to detail to create a wonderful pint.
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