Beer crafting is a practice of controlling the interactions between water, grain, hops and yeast. It is a combination of science and art with a skilled brew master expressing creativity by varying combinations of these four ingredients resulting in hundreds of styles of beer.
Yeast, the bacteria that converts sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide, is a crucial ingredient in any beer. The yeast’s job is to eat the sugar in the liquid (wort) produced by the mashing process and create the alcohol and bubbles that give beer its unique flavor and character.
The other essential ingredients are malt and water. Malt is the starch source that provides most of the fermentable sugars in beer. Malted barley is the most common, but wheat, rye, oats, rice and corn can also be used. The grains are processed so that they partially germinate and then dried to activate the enzymes necessary for the mashing process that will turn the complex starches into simple sugars that can be consumed by the yeast.
Once the sugar is extracted from the grains and the wort has been transferred to the fermentation vessel, it is boiled for an hour in order to concentrate the sugars and sanitize the liquid. It is then ready for the addition of hops and yeast. All that is left to do now is wait a few weeks for the yeast to do its magic.