While the world gets more and more excited about craft beer, a lot of people have very basic questions about how the drink is brewed. If you are an absolute novice and don’t want to be clueless about the beer brewing process, this beginners guide to the steps involved in beer brewing should help you.
Turning the barley into malt: Craft beer brewing begins with creating malt from barley, which is soaked, dried, and then finally roasted to create malted barley, or just malt.
Crushing the malt: Once barley is turned into malt, it is further crushed to bring out the starchy component that’s very peculiar to the malted barley. Hot water is then used to mash the starch and convert it into sugar, before later getting converted into alcohol.
Lautering: The mash, as a result of the aforementioned process, is transferred into a straining vessel, also known as a lautering vessel. Purified hot water is then used to extract as much sugar as possible from the mash. The result is something that is technically termed as “wort”.
Re-lautering: The initial batch of wort is put back into circulation through the same process to extract as much sugar as possible. This is done by adding more water through a method called ‘sparging’, which simply means spraying.
Hopping: In case you were wondering when the hops would make their entry, the moment is finally here. The wort is collected in a kettle before being put to boil. The hops are then added to this boil, doubling up as a flavouring agent as well as a natural preservative.
Cooling: After boiling the wort and mixing it with hops, the mixture is taken to another vessel where the hop component is separated from the wort. The clean wort is then cooled down to room temperature.
Fermentation: The cooled down wort is transferred to fermenting vessels where yeast, a living fungus, acts as the primary fermenting agent to convert the wort into carbon dioxide and then alcohol. The fermenting can last from anything between seven to ten days. The resulting liquid is officially termed ‘beer’.
Filtration: The resulting beer is then stored for a few more weeks and then finally filtered in the last stage of the process to become ready for bottling.