Once we have our malted barley as described in part 1, we’re ready to start brewing beer. Brewing is part art, part science, and while every brewer has their own unique recipe and technique, the basic process is roughly as follows:
Step 1 is to steep the malted barley in hot water using a “mash tun” to form the MASH. During this process, the starches in our malt are broken down into simple sugars resulting in a sweet liquid named “WORT.”
Brewers will then rinse and strain the malt in a process called sparging to extract the remaining sugars before transferred the liquid to a copper or brew-kettle.
Once in the copper, our WORT is brought to a boil, which helps to kill off any unwanted bacteria. During the boil hops are added for bitterness, flavor, and aroma. Typically, the first round of hops affect the bitterness of our beer, while later additions will form the aroma.
After the boil is complete, we need to rapidly cool the hopped WORT and transfer it to the fermentation vessel where yeast is added to begin the process of fermentation. During fermentation, yeast transforms the malt sugar into alcohol and natural carbonation.
Once fermentation is complete, the young beer – sometimes referred to as “green beer” is transferred to conditioning vessels for ageing. The length of the ageing process can range from a few days to several weeks, or even longer depending on the style.