Home Brew Resources

Where does beer come from?

So you've had a tasty beer before, but do you know what it took to make that beer?

While the following may seem like a complicated process, you'll find it's really quite simple come the day you are ready to try your first batch.

Beer is traditionally made with four ingredients: Water, Malt, Hops, and Yeast.  While beer may contain other components such as spices, etc, these four are the basic elements of a beer.  Though there is much that goes in to the preparation of your malt (Barley, Wheat, etc), we will leave that out for now, as all the ingredients a home brewer uses will be home brewer ready.

The brewing process starts with your malted grain.  The grain is soaked in hot water in a mash tun in order to convert the starches in the grain in to fermentable sugars.  This process is referred to as mashing.  After soaking the grain for the given time for the recipe, the grain is rinsed of this sugary liquid, called wort, and drained in to a boil kettle.

Once all the sugars have been rinsed off the grain, the wort is boiled.  If you are new to brewing, chances are you are using a malt extract kit for your beer, meaning that you did not need to "mash," grains to get your wort.  You will simply be boiling your extract, which is essentially pre-mashed malt.

It is during this boiling process that the hops are added to contribute flavor and bitterness to the beer.  The wort is boiled typically for 60 minutes.  After the wort has been boiled, it is cooled down to a temperature safe for the yeast to be added.  If the wort is to hot, it will kill the yeast, and if to cold, the yeast will essentially just go to sleep when introduced to the wort...  And you don't want that!  It has long been said that the home brewer makes the wort while the yeast makes the beer.

Once you have added the yeast to the wort, fermentation will begin.  This process will typically take anywhere from one to four weeks...  more if the beer is to be aged.  During this fermentation process, the yeast eat the sugars and in turn create two by-products:  Carbon Dioxide, and Alcohol.

So, you've made beer, but you're still not done.  After the fermentation process, the beer still needs to be packaged.  The most common options, especially for the home brewer are bottle conditioning or kegging.  Once bottled or kegged, there will be a slight waiting period for the beer to carbonate or condition, and it will vary depending on the beer style and method.

Well, there's only one step left...  Enjoy!

Expect more resources and links in the days to come...

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