The first step in beer crafting is mashing. This involves combining water and grist at temperatures ranging from 100 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. This process breaks down the starches in the grist into sugars, which eventually become alcohol. The process usually takes between one and two hours. Mash temperatures can be increased over time, or the mixture can rest at certain temperatures for longer periods of time. Different temperatures will have different effects on the proteins, enzymes, and fermentable sugars.
Community colleges are starting to take notice of the growth in beer crafting, and are even offering degrees in the field. While a degree in beer crafting may not be as conventional as a degree in winemaking, it is still a great option for students who are passionate about making beer or wine. Both the wine industry and the beer industry are booming in the U.S. and abroad, and degrees in these two fields can help you land a good job in a growing industry.
Beer brewing is a complex process, and it takes patience to perfect it. However, there are many books and guides available to help you along the way. John Palmer’s How to Brew is a fantastic resource, and you can find it free online. You can also find videos and guides on beer crafting sites. If you have the time, you can visit craft beer magazines or subscribe to a monthly membership to learn more.