It's during this process that the starches in the malted barley are converted into fermentable sugars. This is initiated by crushing the malted barley in between rollers, whereby the kernel is broken up.
However, care should be taken not to break it up too much, since this will result in a stuck mash. This is due to the husk that surrounds the kernel getting broken down as well.
The crushed grains should then be sprayed with heated water by a hydrator; any dry spots will then be eliminated. The grains should stay inside the hydrator for about an hour at a temperature of around 65 degrees centigrade.
The liquid should then be drained and additional heated water poured over the mash, to make sure all of the sugars are removed. The drained liquid, containing mostly fermentable sugar, will then be put to the boil.
The next step in the brewing process is called the boil. The finished product here is known as wort.
The liquid from the previous process (the mash) is subjected to high temperatures until it comes to a strong boil, then hops are added. The mixture is kept on the boil for around ninety minutes. This process is responsible for the bitterness you taste in beer. And depending on the type of beer you are brewing, you can add more hops at the end of the boil.
The oils in the hops added near the end of the boil, will affect the aroma and flavor of the beer produced.
The Process of Separating the Solids
The next step is to separate the liquid from the solids. This is done using a device that functions like a whirlpool, with the solids positioned in the bottom center of the machine forming a seemingly solid cone.
After draining the wort, it's cooled down to an appropriate temperature suitable for the introduction of the yeast. It's extremely important for the wort to cool fast. This is accomplished by the use of a 'liquid to liquid' heat exchanger.
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