How Beer is Made: Beer is produced through fermentation, where glucose is transformed into alcohol and carbon dioxide with the aid of yeast. Grain sources like barley, wheat, maize, rice and oats provide enough glucose and sugar needed for this process of transformation.
Beer fermentation takes place inside a fermentation tank using special brewing yeast that promotes top and bottom fermentation processes, respectively. There are two types of yeast used: top-fermentation yeast and bottom-fermentation yeast.
Top fermentation yeast: also referred to as ale yeast, forms an ample layer of foam on top of beer during its fermentation process. Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains often work best at warmer temperatures for quicker results with shorter fermentation times.
Bottom Fermentation Yeast (lager yeast): also referred to as bottom fermenter yeast, settles at the bottom of the fermentation tank in order to metabolise food waste, making use of saccharomyces pastorianus yeast as its preferred choice for bottom fermentation.
Difference between Lager beer and Ale beer
- Ale Beer: Beers made through top fermentation yeast processes are known as ale beers and commonly include pale ale, India pale ale (IPA), brown ale, porter, stout, Belgian ale, and wheat beer.
- Lager Beer: Lager beers are produced through bottom fermentation yeast processes and various styles are often made using this process, including amber/red lager, pilsner, helles, bock, Märzen, Oktoberfest, and Dortmunder.
Ale beers offer an assortment of fruity and sometimes spicy notes, while lager beers deliver clean, crisp refreshment with lighter malt profiles and less bitter hop presence than ale beers. When starting out on beer tasting journey it is wise to start out with the latter variety, which offers clean crisp refreshing taste with light malt profiles and pleasant malt profile. If you are new to drinking then starting with lager beer might be ideal, since their hop presence tends to be less bitter overall.
Difference between Craft and Draft beer
There are two terms widely used in the beer world: craft beers and draft beers.
- Craft beers: are produced by smaller and independent breweries using traditional brewing methods.
- Draft beers: also known as draught beers, are served on tap directly from a keg or cask. Draft beers are considered fresher and of higher quality compared to packaged beer.
Beer Making Process
Malting is the initial step in beer making and refers to soaking grains in water and then allowing them to germinate for 2-3 days in germinating boxes, before drying. Germination plays an essential part as it allows amylase enzymes that convert starch to maltose (a form of sugar).
Kilning is used to stop the germination process by gradually heating, known as kilning. Following this stage of processing, dried barley grains are crushed using roller mills into coarse grists known as grists that easily dissolves in water as opposed to whole grain barley grains.
In a vessel known as a mash tun, grist is mixed with warm water at an optimal temperature for several hours before mashing begins – this allows amylase enzymes to convert more starch to sugar for fermentation. Once complete, this mixture is transported into another vessel called the lauter tun where its liquid contents (wort) can be separated from solid substances.
After transferring, the wort is placed into a boiling kettle for several hours of simmering, adding hops and sugar at various points during boiling to enhance the flavour and aroma of beer. Boiling also concentrates and stops malt enzymes; after boiling is finished, clarification occurs in order to remove hops particles as well as undissolved proteins that remain.
Clarified wort is then chilled before being transferred into fermentation tanks for fermentation, where yeast will be introduced that breaks down its sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide production. Top and bottom fermentation techniques are two types of fermentation practices available depending on which yeast strains are employed during this step.
Once fermentation has taken place, beer must then undergo conditioning or maturation for several weeks or months at low temperatures – during this period secondary fermentation takes place as well. After conditioning has occurred, any leftover particles must be filtered off, before going through flash pasteurization in order to kill any microorganisms and extend shelf life.