Brewing is the production of alcoholic beverages through the fermentation of extracts from malted grains - traditionally barley or wheat. Malted grains are made by allowing grains to germinate and then drying them in kilns. The malting process creates enzymes necessary for converting complex starches into sugars.
Malted grains are then crushed and heated with water in a process called mashing to convert complex sugars into simple sugars that can be readily extracted and fermented. The sweet sugars are then extracted by running hot water through the grain in a process called lautering. A sweet liquid extract called wort is produced in the lautering process.
The wort is then transferred to a large kettle where it is boiled with hops typically for an hour or more. The boiling process extracts bittering oils from the hops to balance the sweetness of the malt, and also sterilizes the wort. The wort is then cooled rapidly and transferred to a fermenting vat where yeast is added. Yeast ferments the sugars in the wort, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide. After a week of active fermentation, the beer is typically transferred to a secondary vessel for conditioning. After aging the beer is filtered, carbonated and bottled or kegged for consumption.
Brewing Process Articles
- How to Brew - An online book by John Palmer