All brewers use the standardized brewing process, when brewing their beers, or ale. The most common ingredients of any brew are barley malt and other cereal grains, as well as hops, yeast, and most importantly water. This article will describe the basic processes involved, which is consisted of six major steps:
Malting creates a specific chemical and physical change in the barley the most important grain used in making many of the beers out in the market today. High amounts of starch and protein are found in barley malt, as well as necessary enzymes that are instrumental to the process of brewing. Malt gives most of the flavor in beer. To make barley malt, a brewer will soak the barley from one to several days, as a way to increase moisture content to the desired levels. The barley is then inserted in special chambers where it is given time to germinate (sprout) over a period of several days. After, the barley is dried in kilns (large ovens), here the germination process comes to an abrupt halt. These brewers will begin this drying process at a temperature of 180 F. They takes these sprouts and store the grain, really called malt at this stage, in which they keep stored for a minimum of four weeks.
Here the brewer will mix in water with the barley malt, to form a liquid mash. They will also make a mash of other cereal grains, such as rice and corn. The mashes are mixed together, and heated at about 155 F. During this heating process, the malts enzymes begin to liquefy the grain and convert the starch in the mixture to sugar and other, more complex carbohydrates. Brewers filter the mixture to remove any grain kernels. The remaining liquid (brownish-amber colored) otherwise called wort, will be transferred to large kettles where they will be boiled.
During the process, added to the wort, are dried blossoms of the hop plant. The hops prevent spoilage and add aroma and flavor to the new brew. When done boiling, brewers will clarify and cool the wort that they have just made.
To encourage fermentation of the brew, the brewer will then add yeast to the wort. This yeast will change the sugar in the wort into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Then the brewer will take out the carbon dioxide and store it for various uses in the brewery. The fermentation process can be as long as up to a week. Most of the yeast is then removed from the brew, once the week is over.
Aging the beer will improve the taste of the newly created beer. These brewers will age beer in storage tanks for several weeks or months. Some brewers will ferment the brew as a second time, to directly age the brew some more.
Once the beer is finished aging, the brewer will clarify and filter the beer, several times to remove the remaining yeast. The finished product is then packaged in bottles, stainless kegs, or cans. Many bottled or canned beer is pasteurized before being packaged.
Brewing your own beer can be exceedingly fun. When having guests over for the football game or just the family over for dinner, introducing your brew then would be a great idea. If the brew is good, then you get bragging rights.