Where it began
Beer is one of the oldest beverages in the world and since the beginning of civilization, has played a huge role in human culture.
Originally made by individuals for home consumption, modern beer styles and recipes have been shaped over the years with the introduction of new techniques, innovations and commercial breweries.
Consistent high quality beer production has been made possible by these new techniques and inventions such as artificial refrigeration and steam power.
French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur gave us an understanding of the principles of fermentation and the role the yeast plays in this process. An additional discovery was the introduction of using hops in beer production. Initially this was a gradual process but soon the use of hops was perfected and it was discovered it not only added bitter flavours and aromas, but also acted as an anti-bacterial agent or a natural preservative that inhibits bacterial growth. Hops completely changed the entire production process of beer as it allowed for longer lasting beers to be sent further around the world.
Finally the invention by Daniel Wheeler in 1817 of the black patent drum roaster and its use in roasting malts, added new textures and flavours to beer styles and ushered in the development of porters and stouts such as Guinness and darker ales.
How it is made
Beer is made up of four ingredients – malted barley (or other grains), hops, water and yeast and the production process has 6 steps:
- Malting: Barely is malted by steeping it in water and then it is dried in a kiln and then stored in silos ready for use.
- Milling: The malted barley is milled and then ground into grist.
- Mashing: The grist is now mixed with hot water to create a mash. During this process enzymes in the malt convert starch into simple fermentation sugars. The sweet liqueur or wort is then separated from the grain.
- Boiling: The wort is boiled and the hops are added.
- Fermentation: Yeast is added into the cool hopped wort. During fermentation the yeast converts grain sugars into CO2 and alcohol. At the end of this process the result is green beer.
- Maturing: Green beer is matured until the characteristic flavour of the beer is achieved.
Watch the video below to find out more about the beer brewing process:
Beer falls into three main categories:
Lager - Generally pale straw to yellow/golden in colour and this type of beer often has a rather subtle taste.
Ale - Is golden/brown beer, full bodied, often with a sweeter, fruity, malty and warming taste.
Stout - Generally dark ruby to black with a rick, malty and roasted flavour.
Pour one part Guinness stout into a champagne flute glass.
Add one part of chilled champagne directly into the same glass.
Stir gently and serve.
Did you know?
The history of beer dates back over 7000 years ago and was first recorded in Egypt and Iran.
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(*One standard drink contains 8g of alcohol)