Brewing is the actual process of alcoholic beverages
and alcohol through fermentation. This method is
used with beer production, although the term can
also be used for other drinks as well. The term
brewing is also used to refer to any chemical
mixing process as well.
The process of brewing has a long history indeed,
which archeological evidence tells us that this
technique was actually used in ancient Egypt as
well. Many descriptions of various beer recipes
can be found in Sumerian writings, which are
some of the oldest writings of any type.
Even though the process of brewing is complex and
varies greatly, Below, you'll find the basic
stages relating to brewing.
1. Mashing - This is the first phase of brewing,
in which the malted grains are crushed and soaked
in warm water in order to create an extract of the
malt. The mash is then held at constant
temperature long enough for the enzymes to convert
starches into fermentable sugar.
2. Sparging - At this stage, water is
filtered through the mash to dissolve all of the
sugars. The darker, sugar heavy liquid is known
as the wort.
3. Boiling - The wort is boiled along
with any remaining ingredients to remove any excess
water and kill any type of microorganisms. The
hops, either whole or extract are added at some
point during this stage.
4. Fermentation - The yeast is now added
and the beer is left to ferment. After it has
fermented, the beer may be allowed to ferment again,
which will allow further settling of the yeast and
other particulate matter which may have been introduced
earlier in the process.
5. Packaging - At the final stage, the
beer will contain alcohol, but not too much carbon
dioxide. The brewer will have a few options to
increase the levels of carbon dioxide. The most
common approach is force carbonation, via the direct
addition of CO2 gas to the keg or bottle. I'm not a
big fan of this. I normally let my home brews gain
CO2 by simply sitting in the bottles for a minimum
of three weeks.
After it has been brewed, the beer in normally a
finished product. At this point, the beer is
kegged, casked, bottled, or canned. Beers that
are unfiltered may be stored for further fermentation
in conditioning tanks, casks, or bottles to allow
smoothing of harsh alcohol or heavy hops.
There are some beer enthusiasts that consider a
long conditioning period attractive for various
strong beers such as Barley and wines. Depending on
the beer enthusiast and what he likes to drink,
it will vary.