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The 4 essential ingredients for making beer


It doesn’t really matter whether you’re making beer as an experiment in your home or you’re a micro brewery and brewing beer is your business.  When making beer you will need four (4) essential ingredients.  With the manipulation of these 4 key ingredients you will be able to create a variety of different beers.


The first key ingredient is water.  As a beverage, you would expect water to be the first in the list of key ingredients. The quality of the water that you will use is important.  If there are any contaminants present, the beer could be contaminated as well and the flavor will not be as you planned.  There are examples where the quality of the water source creates a unique beer and is often sought after because of it.  A great example of this is the hard water well in Dublin that is the basis for making the famous stout Guinness.


The next important ingredient to making beer is Malt.  Malt is the result of a three –step process of converting regular cereal grain like barley (or wheat or rye) into the flavorful source of starch and sugar for the fermentation of beer.  Barley grain is steeped (or soaked) allowing it to sprout and germinate up to a certain level.  When the sprout reaches its ideal setting, kiln-drying is used to halt the germination process, and the resulting sugars extracted.  Depending on whether you want dark malt or light malt, you need to control the roasting/kiln drying process.


Hops usually have the biggest impact on the flavor of a beer, depending on the beer style. While malt gives beer its sweet, saccharine taste, hops are responsible for the bitterness, citrus or fruity flavors and aromas.  Hops are the female flowers from the hop vine Humulus Lupulus usually added when boiling the wort, or sometimes afterwards during the fermentation for extra aroma .


The last but not the least ingredient for brewing beer is yeast.  Pitching yeast into the wort (the liquid part of the beer mixture) starts the fermentation process that converts the sugar in the malt into usable alcohol and carbon dioxide.  There are top-fermenting or top-cropping yeasts that form on the top of the vessel, resulting in ale style beers  and bottom-fermenting or bottom-cropping yeasts that are eventually made into lagers.

Nov 23, 2012 |

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