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 turn the chaff to dust. This gives access to the starch inside but maintains some 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 compounds 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.
°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.