What Does the Beer Brewing Process Actually Look Like in Practice?

Are you impressed by the wide variety of craft beers available these days? Have you considered what goes into making these beers taste so much better than the mass-produced product? 

Last year small and independent brewers produced 23.1 million barrels of beer in the US. That’s a lot of different types of beer.

If you’ve ever met a brewmaster, you know how much they love what they do. It’s a creative process, and each brewery is unique in its approach.

Have you ever wondered how beer is made in a craft brewery? Here’s what the beer brewing process looks like in practice.

The Brewing Process

There are four main ingredients in the brewing process. Grain, or malt, water, hops, and yeast. It’s pretty amazing that so many different craft beers can be made from these four things.

The creativity of the best brewers and the quality and type of each ingredient are the main factors that determine its unique flavor. When you can’t decide what beer to buy, the 12 beers of Christmas is a great gift.

Malting the Grain

Malting is the first step in making beer. The grains are put through a three-step malting process which extracts the starch enzymes in the grain.

The grain is steeped in water and aerated to activate the enzymes. This takes about 24-48 hours. Next, a little shoot grows from each grain. This is the germination stage. This stage takes about 5 days and is also known as the Green Malt stage.

Then the germinated grains are kilned to stop the germination process. Convection heating is used and different steps produce a wide variety of malt colors and flavors.

Mashing

At this stage, the malt is steeped in hot water. This step breaks down the starch enzymes and releases the fermentable sugars. Then the brewmaster drains off the water, leaving a thick syrup called the wort.

The Boil and Adding Hops

The wort is boiled, and hops are added at specifically timed intervals. Several different types of hops can be added at this stage. It’s an important step that determines much of the beer’s flavor.

Hops are small, somewhat bitter fruit. Their flavor offsets the sweetness of the sugar. There are many varieties of hops, and each one has a slightly different taste and level of bitterness. 

When they say a homemade beer is hoppy, they are referring to the hops used in this step. India pale ales (IPAs) are known for their hoppy bitter taste.

Fermenting and Bottling

At this stage, yeast is added, and the mixture is left to ferment. This process generally takes at least several weeks. During the fermentation process, the yeast reacts with the sugars. This creates alcohol and carbon dioxide, which creates bubbles in your brew.

Next, the beer is ready to be transferred into bottles. Then they rest for a couple of weeks before the beer is ready to be consumed.

The Secret of Craft Beer Brewing

When you take the time to learn about the brewing process, you realize how much work goes into creating each variety of craft beer.

Did you find this article helped you understand how craft beer is created? For more information, check out our Food section. Be sure to use our simple search feature to get the latest news.