Recorded in the written history of Mesopotamia and Egypt, beer is considered one of the oldest man-made beverages. OK, we all love drinking beer, but how is this magical elixir created? While there are many different types of beer ranging from wheats to stouts, there is a single process that all beers are created from. While this process is modified or added upon depending on the brew, it is essentially the same across the board.
Beer is composed of 4 main ingredients; grain, hops, water, and yeast. The grain used varies depending on region, or the type of beer you are trying to make. It is common for barley, wheat or rye to be used in the creation of beer. These ingredients are often added upon, by using fruit to add extra flavor and variety to the beer.
Once a grain is chosen, it is used to create the malt. Malt is created by first heating and drying the grain, followed by cracking the grain by way of a grinder, rolling pin, or bottle for those on a budget. By cracking the grains enzymes are isolated for proper mashing.
After the malt has been created, the cracked grain is steeped in hot water. The length of time the grain steeps varies, but it is generally an hour or so. This water is drained and called the mash. The mash contains sugars released by the grain. The grain is typically discarded, or on occasion reused for other purposes such as baking bread.
The mash is placed into a boiling pot where hops and other flavoring elements are added. This boiling concoction is called the wort. The hops serve two purposes. First, bitter hops balance out the sweetness of the mash sugars. Second, the hops are a natural preservative to prevent the beer from spoiling. In fact India Pale Ales are hoppy because the beer used extra hops to ensure preservation while sailing 6 months from Britain to India.
Once the Wort is done, it is cooled, drained, and filtered into a carboy or other fermenting container. In this step yeast is added. The yeast eats the sugar remaining in the wort, This is referred to as fermentation and is what creates the alcohol and CO2 in beer. The beer is allowed to ferment for about 2 weeks or longer at room temperature, or colder for lagers. During this stage the CO2 is allowed to escape.
Once the beer has been fermented it is strained into bottles. Depending on the process used the bottles will be allowed to build CO2 from extra fermentation, or carbonation will be artificially added.
This bottled beer is allowed to age for an additional 2 weeks to multiple months, and shipped to your favorite irish pub in Manchester, New Hampshire, Murphy’s Taproom.
If you are looking to try a variety of these delicious beers, head over to Murphy’s Taproom for 120 beers on tap, live music, and delicious food. We can help you pick the perfect beer for your meal or specialized tastes.