There are so many things to say about beer. But if you’ve only taken your first steps as a beer drinker it might be difficult to find your way through all the technical terms. So here’s a quick overview to get you started. In the future you’ll be able to read more about all of these things on our website, complete with a beer tip to experience what you’ve just learnt about.
Ingredients
Beer in its simplest form consists of four ingredients: Malt, Hops, Yeast, Water.
Malt, or malted cereal grains, to release sugar for the yeast to eat.
Hops, the cones of the hop plant that contain oils which give bitterness and aroma to the beer.
Yeast, a microbe which converts the sugars from the malt into alcohol and a huge variety of flavors.
Water, often the most overlooked ingredient but nevertheless very important for beer.
The brewing process
Beer is made in a few steps.

Step 1: Milling. The malt grains are roughly milled in a malt mill. The milling needs to be fine enough to break the grains open but rough enough not to turns the chaff to dust. This gives access to the starch inside but maintains the structure required for filtration later on.

Step 2: Mashing. During the mash the malts are added to the water and heated towards 65°C. At this point enzymes inside the malt will cut sugars off of the starch. Proteins are also cut up to form the basis for the foam head. The end product is called the mash.

Step 3: Filtration. The mash is transferred to the filtration tank and once it’s settled will form a filtration bed. On top of this sparging water is added (also known as lautering) and at the bottom water with malt extract also known as wort is obtained.

Step 4: Boiling. The wort is brought to a boil. During this step the hops are added. Depending on when this is done, either more bitterness or more aroma is extracted. At the beginning of the boil bittering hops are added, at the end it’s the aroma hops.

Step 5: Fermentation. The boiling wort is cooled down, usually to between 10°C and 25°C depending on the kind of yeast that is used. It is then transferred to the fermentation tank and the yeast is added. At this point the brewing is technically done but the beer isn’t ready yet. The yeast will convert the sugars from the wort into alcohol and flavor compounds thereby turning the wort into beer.

Step 6: Lagering. When the yeast is done fermenting the beer is cooled down further. This lets the flavors balance out and precipitates compound that create haze thereby resulting in a clear(er) beer.

IBU, EBC, %ABV, °Plato

These numbers allow you to estimate what kind of beer you’re working with, even if you’re unfamiliar with the specific style.

IBU – International Bitterness Units. The higher the bitterness, the higher the IBU.
EBC – European Brewery Convention. A European organization that focuses on the technical and scientific aspects of the brewing sector. But in this case also a scale that indicates the color of the beer. From yellow (4 EBC) to orange (26 EBC) to black (60 EBC).
% ABV – % Alcohol By Volume. Self-evident.

°Plato – The extract concentration, or how much sugar is dissolved can be expressed in °Plato. This number indicates how much sugar was originally present in the wort. Combined with the alcohol percentage you can estimate the amount of sugar remaining in the finished beer and by extension how sweet the beer is.


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