Present at football games, barbecues, beach days, and backyard hangouts with friends, beer is the ultimate staple alcohol. It’s the focus of the world’s largest drinking festivals, with hundreds of different categories in its lineup. From lagers to pilsners, IPA’s to stout, beer is the go-to drink. In fact, its relatively low ABV compared to other alcohol makes it the introduction to alcohol for many first-time drinkers. What makes this beverage so special, and how is it made? What goes into the production of this worldwide favorite? Let’s take a deep dive.
What is beer?
Beer is a brewed alcoholic drink made of grains such as malted barley, wheat, oats, and maize, with barley being the most commonly used ingredient.
Unlike spirits, beer only goes through the fermentation process without being distilled. This results in a lower ABV content. Beer can contain anywhere between 2% to 11% alcohol, depending on the type.
Beer production process
Production of beer involves the following five steps.
In this initial step, grains are gathered and then steeped. Afterwards, they are left to air dry, during which time germination occurs.
Once properly germinated, heat is applied on the grains until they dry up and begin to crack.
During malting, enzymes in the grains become more concentrated.
The malted grains are then steeped in boiling water, activating the enzymes in the malt and releasing sugar into the water.
Mashing takes 1-2 hours. Afterwards, the grains are strained, leaving a liquid called wort.
The wort is then boiled, and spices are added into the mix. These spices include bay leaves, chili peppers, and cardamom.
Additionally, the key ingredient is introduced into the wort. Hops are a kind of flower which helps to maintain the freshness of the beer. These are included into the mixture, and later result in the white foam which appears when beer is poured into a glass.
Boiling takes about an hour.
Here, yeast is added into the wort mixture. The yeast breaks down the sugar in the wort and begins to form alcohol. Depending on the desired ABV, the fermentation process can last for a few weeks.
There are two different ways you can ferment wort:
In this kind of fermentation, the yeast pools at the bottom of the wort. A lower temperature is required in order for this process to work, anywhere between 4 to 10 degrees Celcius.
A lower alcohol content is achieved with bottom fermentation.
With top fermentation, a higher temperature is required to boil the wort, and yeast is added to the surface. This is the oldest and most common fermentation method.
Top fermented beer creates more flavors compared to bottom fermented beers.
5. Bottling and aging
The fizz you taste in beer is the result of carbonation. This is added in during bottling.
Afterwards, the beer is left to age in their bottles to get fizzle out the bitterness of the hops and the strong aromas acquired from the brewing process. Typical aging period is six months.
Difference between beer and wine
Having gone through this production process, you may notice that it’s somewhat similar to the process of winemaking, in that fermentation, bottling, and aging takes place. However, beer and wine are completely different alcohols!
The greatest difference is in the ingredients. Beer is made by fermenting grains, while wine is made by fermenting fruits, mostly grapes. But even the fermentation process is a little difference.
As discussed, beer involves brewing mash and adding in ingredients like spices and hops. This isn’t something involved in the winemaking process.
Finally, beer and wine are different because all beer is carbonated. Though carbonated wines exist in the form of sparkling wine, not all wine is carbonated.
Best beers available at minuman.com
Whether you’re a first timer or a seasoned drinker, here are some of the best beers we have on offer.
Budweiser falls under the lager family. Lager is known for its light taste, which is the result of bottom fermentation.
This brand originated in the USA. It’s blended with a variety of the best hops, creating a medium-bodied drink with a lot of flavour.
Duvel is considered a golden pale ale. Like many pale ales, this brand is hop-forward and has a slight bitterness to it.
Duvel goes through an extended aging process which ensures premium quality and flavours.
Dunkel beer is a type of dark wheat beer, made of dark malts and fine hops fermented using the top fermentation method
Erdinger is especially flavorful, with tastes of nuts, caramel, and fresh bread.
Cass is Korea’s #1 beer. Its crisp and light taste makes for a nice freshness. It’s only 5% in ABV content.
A West Coast IPA, this brand is heavy on the hop flavors and is not for the weak hearted!
Fans of fruity drinks, this Northeast IPA is for you. Pick up hints of pears, melons, and tropical fruits behind the dryness of the hop flavors.
Originating in Belgium, this IPA may be smooth, but it has an intense bitterness amongst its floral and fruity notes.
Looking for a light and sweet beer? Then Brewdog Punk IPA is for you. Its light caramel and tropical fruit flavors are perfect for the summer.
Containing just 4% ABV, Liefmans Fruitesse is aptly named because it’s rich in fruity notes. Try one for yourself and see if you can detect hints of blueberries, strawberries, elderberries, raspberries, and black cherries.
10. La Chouffe
A blonde ale, La Chouffe’s citrusy flavors and bright yellow tint is a refreshing drink for the hot days incoming.