What is Beer?
What is beer?
The most widely consumed alcoholic drink in the world, beer is made by mashing grain with water, boiling with hops and fermenting. The basic ingredients, aside from water, are malt (kiln-dried germinated barley) and yeast. In the hands of a skilled brewer these four simple ingredients can generate hundreds of beer styles and thousands of unique beers.
Grains, including barley, wheat, rye and corn, are the primary sources of starch in beer. During the malting process these grains are metabolized to produce sugars that will feed yeast during fermentation. The type of grain used will determine a large part of the beer’s flavor, aroma and head.
Beer color is derived from the coloration of the malts and grains used in the brewing process, as well as added fruit or spices. Beers with darker grains and/or roasted malts will typically have darker colors.
A bitter flavor that complements the sweetness of a beer’s malt. The bitterness of a beer is determined by the amount of hops added to the boil, as well as the length of time the hops are cooked. The higher the alpha acid content of a hop, the more bitterness it will add to a beer.
A yeast strain that metabolizes sugars to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide during fermentation. There are a number of different yeast strains that produce distinct beer styles. Yeast strains used to make ale beers produce beer with high alcohol content and complex flavors; lager yeasts produce beer with low alcohol content and more neutral tasting characteristics.