All over the world people just love drinking beer, they appreciate the unique taste that a refreshing pint of beer has to offer. Brewing your own beer can be a fulfilling and rewarding past time, something to share with your friends and family. If this is your first venture into the world of home brewing then I encourage you to give it a go, you'll be pleasantly surprised at the quality of the beer that can be brewed from home these days.
Beer: The Basic Ingredients
The four main ingredients that go to make up beer are: water, yeast, hops, barley
There are various types of yeasts for different type's beer. It is actually the single celled micro-organism that functions to create alcohol and carbon dioxide in beer.
The main categories of beer yeast are: a) lager yeast b) ale yeast. Lager yeast ferments slower than ale yeast and prefers to ferment at around ten degrees centigrade. While ale yeast rises near to the surface of the beer during the fermentation process, preferring to ferment at around twenty one degrees centigrade.
These are actually the flowers of the hop vine. This is a member of the hemp family (Cannabaceae). There are many kinds of hops that provide diverse aromas, tastes and bitterness.
Hops are what give beer the bitter taste, contributing to its overall aroma. They also act to prevent formation of certain bacteria, which as a result can spoil the beer.
Similar in looks to wheat, barley is actually the seed of a grain. However, it has to be malted before it can be used to make beer.
Malting is a natural conversion process, which allows the barley to germinate. The barley is soaked in water for several days, and then drained. Afterwards it's subjected to fifteen and a half degrees centigrade of heat for five days. At this point the barley should be starting to sprout; this is called the 'green malt' stage. Germination should be stopped once the enzymes released during this process are present and before the majority of the starch is converted into sugar. These sugar producing enzymes will eventually feed the yeast with sugar, so making alcohol.
The green malt is then dried; this is done by elevating the temperature. This process affects the malt flavour as well as the color. It's at this point the small roots that were formed during germination should be removed. The malted barley is now ready to be used in the brewing process.
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