What is Beer Made From?
We’re all familiar with the basic ingredients of beer – water, grain (often barley) and hops – but what exactly is it that makes beer so unique and delicious? We recently went down to the local brewery and spoke to a brewer, Matt Brynildson to get the lowdown on beer making.
The process starts with malted barley, which is crushed or milled to create a sweet liquid called wort. This is then boiled with hops to extract bitterness and flavour. The wort is then cooled and yeast is added. Yeast is single-celled organisms that feast on the sugars in the wort, creating alcohol and carbon dioxide as they go. Ale yeasts thrive in a warm environment and can add fruity, spicy or earthy flavours to the brew, while lager yeasts need a cool temperature and lend beers crispness and clarity.
Once the yeast has consumed all of the sugar in the wort, it will produce alcohol and carbon dioxide before eventually dying. This process, known as fermentation, takes from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the type of beer being made. Once the fermentation is complete, the brewer filters and chills the beer before bottling or canning. This is the time when you can enjoy your beer, knowing that it has been carefully crafted from only four ingredients – grains for sweetness and texture, hops for bitterness and flavour, yeast to ferment and bring everything together in alcoholic goodness and of course, water to hold it all together!