Beer is an alcoholic drink that is made from malted barley, hops, water and yeast. Other sources of fermentable carbohydrates may be used to create different types of beer, such as wheat and rice, but they all contain the same four ingredients and must be brewed in the same way as traditional barley beers. The process of making beer is known as brewing, and it’s a science that requires balancing many factors including temperature, pH, gravity, malt quality and mash consistency.
A great brew starts with the finest ingredients. The mash, or crushed grain, is then malted to help it germinate and be converted into sugars that yeast can turn into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The wort is then boiled to get rid of any unwanted by-products and to prepare it for the addition of the hops which give beer its flavour.
Fermentation is a two-part process; primary fermentation turns the sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide, while secondary fermentation allows the full flavour of the beer to develop. The resulting beer is then filtered to remove any yeast cells and sediment and bottled or kegged for sale.
Beyond being a delicious tipple, beer has many other uses. It can be used as a marinade for meat, and its carbon content works to tenderise food and as a leavening agent in baking recipes. It can also be used to clean stainless steel and to loosen rusty bolts. It is even reputed to give hair more shine and to help sooth sunburn.