What is Beer?
What is beer?
Beer is the result of a complex but natural process that transforms grain starches into sugar, extracts that sugar with water and then ferments it with yeast to produce the alcoholic and often lightly carbonated drink we know as beer. The main ingredients in most beers are barley, hops and water and the addition of different spices or fruits can add a range of flavors from mouth-puckering sourness to nutty maltiness to floral or fruity notes. Different brewing techniques and the use of different strains of yeast can also give beers their unique characteristics.
Malted barley is first crushed or milled and then soaked in warm water to convert the starches into a sugar solution known as wort. This is then boiled, and the wort is separated from the solid grain. The wort is then cooled and the hops are added. Hops are a flower from the Humulus Lupulus plant that provide bitterness to the beer and act as a natural preservative. The wort is then poured over the hops and yeast is added to ferment the sugar into alcohol and CO2.
The beer is then conditioned in tanks, which can take from a few days to several weeks (or even years) depending on the style of the beer. The finished beer is then bottled or caned, kegged and served.