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What is Beer?

What is beer

What is beer?

Beer is an alcoholic drink made by steeping grain (most often malted barley), boiling it with hops and yeast, and fermenting. Beer is a drink with a long history, evidenced by reliefs on Egyptian tombs from 2400 bce. In the 1800s lager beers bottom-fermented by pure yeast cultures became dominant in Europe, while ale beers made by brewing with a variety of yeasts was common in America.


Almost all beers are brewed with water, which can have a significant impact on flavor and quality. Brewers carefully control the water they use to ensure it is of high quality, free of contaminants and has a desired mineral content.


The primary ingredient in most beers is malt, which is made from the seed of the cereal grass Hordeum vulgare. The malting process simulates grain germination, which converts insoluble starch to the sugars that yeast feed on during fermentation. The malt is then dried, which changes its color and flavor.


The third major ingredient in beer is yeast, which is a single-celled organism that converts the sugars derived from the malted grains to ethanol alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. The strain of yeast used can significantly influence the beer’s flavor profile.

Phenolic Flavors

Phenolic flavors are produced during fermentation by reactions between phenolic acids and alcohols. They can take the form of fruity aromas or bitter tastes. Yeast and malt are the primary sources of phenolic flavors, but brewers also add them by adding spices or by smoking malt during mashing.

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