Home Brewing Ingredients
July 25, 2014 by
What is all the talk about Hops, Barley Malts, and
Yeast? Here you'll learn about the four basic
ingredients used to brew beer.
Beer is a fermented hop-flavored, malt-sugared liquid.
And, while there are a number of ingredients that can be
tossed into the brew pot, a good bottle of real beer comes
down to four basic items...
Around 95 percent of beer is water. So, this is
certainly an important part of beer. In fact, the
world has a plethora of styles of water. From Dortmand
and Munich to Denver and Asheville. The water can vary
in levels of minerals. It can be hard or soft,
alkaline or not. Home brewers in certain parts of the world
must use bottled water since their local water supply
contains high levels of chlorine, and other chemicals.
On the flip side, many home brewers add carefully measured
minerals in an attempt to mimic water from the varying
regions of the world as they try to clone beers of the
Malts provide the sugars which ferment and create
alcohol. Without sugars, there would be no beer.
In the home brewing scene, malts come in the form of powder
(dry malt extract) or syrup (liquid malt extract).
Unless you make your own... which involves steeping malted
barley in hot water to extract the sugars, in a process
known as "mashing".
One has to wonder how sugars are transformed into alcohol
in the beer brewing process. How does it happen?
What's the driving force behind fermentation? The
answer is yeast. Yeast are living micro-organisms.
They thrive (at certain temperatures) by eating the sugars
from malts. The result? Alcohol and CO2.
Several hundred years ago, all beer was generally very
smooth. Then came the idea of adding bitters and other
flavors to beer to help balance the sweetness. Today
there are dozens of types of hops available from all over
the world. Their use in the brewing process provides
brewers with a major element in crafting unique beers.