your thirst for beer
Make it Happen – The
FROM THE GRAIN TO THE GLASS – A mere bottle cap is all that stands between you and a delicious brew. Pop it off, and you’re opening an experience crafted by expert brewers to deliver a specific style, taste and feel through a carefully-controlled brewing process. How is it done? We’ve broken it down from the grain to the glass.
The brewing process starts with grains. Barley, to be exact. The barley is immersed in water until it sprouts, and is then dried to halt germination, which creates malted barley. Variations in time and temperature can produce many different malt styles to create dark, roasted stouts and porters or lighter lagers and IPAs. Brewers can also purchase pre-made malts for brewing the style beer of their choice.
The malted grains are then ground in a mill to create grist, meaning the starches inside are exposed. Oftentimes, brewers will add other grains such as rye or wheat during this process, which changes the flavor and overall composition of the beer. Variations in time and temperature can produce many different malt styles to create dark, roasted stouts and porters or lighter lagers and IPAs. Brewers can also purchase pre-made malts for brewing the style beer of their choice.
The grist is then steeped in hot water, similar to making tea, using a Mash Tun. Mash is created when the steeping activates enzymes in the grains that break down the starches and release sugars. Different steeping temperatures extract different enzymes and fermentable sugars, which help determine the flavor and body of the beer, as well as alcohol content.
The sugars are then separated from the grain using a Lauter Tun. This process creates wort, a sweet liquid sugar water.
The wort is then boiled for about an hour in a brew kettle, which sterilizes the wort. During the boiling process, hops and desired spices are added. Hops provide flavor and bitterness to balance out the sugars, and also serve as a preservative for the beer.
Separation and Cooling
After boiling, a whirlpool separates the wort from the hops, leftover grains or other additives like spices, and then rapidly cools the wort. At this point, the liquid is essentially unfermented beer.
The wort is then placed in a fermenter, and yeast is added. The liquid is exposed to oxygen through a process called aeration, which allows the yeast to split into multiple cells and consume the sugars, just like when making bread. The yeast causes the temperature of the liquid to rise, so brewers must watch the temperature closely and cool when necessary. Different temperatures are required to brew different styles of beer. Lagers, for instance, need cool temperatures, while ales require room temperature. Fermentation typically takes up to one week, but time can also vary depending on the style of beer and alcohol content.
Also called secondary fermentation, conditioning allows the flavor of the beer to fully develop. Temperatures are lower during this process, and the duration necessary for conditioning again varies depending on the style of beer and alcohol content.
Bottling and Aging
Once fermentation is complete, it’s time to bottle and rack the beer! While the beer is now alcoholic, it is still flat and uncarbonated. There are several ways to carbonate the beer. Brewers can add CO2, like making soda, or they can bottle-condition the beer, which allows the beer to carbonate naturally from the CO2 the yeast produces. Bottled beer should be allowed to age, which can vary from a few weeks to a few months, and when you pop that cap, an expertly-crafted experience awaits.