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The Beer Brewing Process – Step 3: Boiling


To give a quick run down on the previous steps of the beer brewing process, you first had malt which will then be made into mash (Mashing) through the addition of water.   Lautering follows which separates the wort (the liquid part of the mash) from the spent grain.  Now, you will be able to move on to Step 3:  Boiling, most often the first step for home brewing.

Boiling the wort serves a number of purposes.  Primarily, among these, is the intention to remove bacteria from the wort through the process of sterilization.  Secondary, and very significant to the beer brewing process, is the addition of hops (or other flavor ingredients) to instill flavor and aroma to the wort and thus produce what you know as “beer”.   Boiling also serves to create a concentrated and more tasteful wort because its water content is reduced.

Boiling wort is usually undertaken with a brew kettle.  Simple boil kettles are direct-fired, meaning they have a burner underneath the kettle allowing a favourable boil but was prone to burning the wort.  Over time, boiling wort was done using a steam-fired kettle with the steam originating from an external boiler that allowed more even and intense boiling conditions for the wort.   Boiling of the wort can last anywhere between 30 to 90 minutes depending on the intensity and concentration of the wort that you want to produce.  To lessen the time it takes to boil wort, most breweries nowadays almost always have an external boiler called a calandria, which gives the wort the much needed space to achieve the maximum level of volatility.  After achieving that, it is pumped back into the boil kettle for further boiling.

Once you have achieved the consistency and color of the wort, you may need to pass it through a so-called whirlpool, which through centrifugal forces, separates the denser solids of the wort and leaves them in the middle of the whirlpool tank.

The wort is now finer and better prepared for the next step which is beer fermentation.  However, you still have to cool down the wort before fermentation can begin.  The wort is then pumped into a plate heat exchanger.  A plate heat exchanger is made up of plates with alternating gaps through which hot wort passes side by side with cool water to facilitate heat exchange.  Once the wort achieves the required cooling temperature, oxygen is dissipated into the wort to activate the yeast for use in the next step – fermentation.

Nov 23, 2012 |

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