Brewing beer is a combination of science and art, brewed with a variety of grains, hops and yeast. The brewmaster uses these basic scientific methods to express his or her creativity and create a wide range of styles.
Malting and Milling
Barley, wheat and rye are the most common grains used in brewing, although some beers may use other varieties of grain. A malting process heats and cracks the germinated barley kernels to allow the mash liquor to easily access the starch within them. The crushed malt can then be mixed with hot water in a mash tun (brewer’s vessel) to convert the starches into fermentable sugars.
Lautering and Boil
The next step in the brewing process is lautering, or soaking the mash in a solution of hot water to remove any remaining sugars. This can be done by a number of methods, depending on the type of brewing method being used.
Extract and Hops
Adding hops to the mash adds aroma and flavour to the finished product. They also provide a bittering element that balances out the sweetness of the mash, reducing the risk of overly sweet beers. Depending on the hops, they can have a variety of flavors and aromas including: citrus, floral, tropical fruit and spicy.