How Beer Is Made

Beer is an alcoholic beverage made by brewing and fermenting combinations of grains. Its four typical main ingredients are water, malted barley, hops, and yeast. During the fermentation process, sugars are consumed by yeast and converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The result is a drink that can range from lightly golden to dark brown or black, and it can be fizzy. Beer can also have a distinctively sweet, bitter, or dry taste. In addition, brewers add flavoring agents like spices, fruits, or herbs to make specific types of beer.

In order to produce a beer, the brewer must first prepare the grains. This is known as mashing, and the process uses enzymes to break down complicated starches into simple sugars that can be consumed by yeast. The grains used in beer include wheat, barley, rye, and other cereals. Malted barley is the most common grain, but it can be combined with oats, rice, or corn to create different styles of beer.

The wort is then cooled until it is at the right temperature to add yeast, which are single-celled organisms that consume the sugar and release alcohol and carbon dioxide. Fermentation takes a few days or weeks to complete, depending on the style of beer being produced. The young beer is then transferred to conditioning tanks, where it will age for a few weeks or more. Eventually, the brewer will decide that the beer is ready to be served.