Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Brewing Process

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.

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.

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