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How Beer is Made

Beer 101

20
August
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In one of my recent articles, Summer Sippin' , I talked about a couple of great beers to drink in the summertime. If you are really feeling adventurous however, you can take it one step further by trying to brew your own beer. It is quite invigorating, and it can be very pleasing to drink something you've worked so hard on to create. I think that any man should try making beer, or wine, at least once in their lives.

First, a general overview of the process:
Beer is at the basic level is composed of four main ingredients: malt, water, yeast, and hops. These ingredients are mixed at different stages, and through various biochemical reactions alcohol is formed from sugar. Generally speaking, homebrewers will start off with malted barley as it is difficult and time consuming to create your own malt. Instead, brewers can buy all different types of malt, each offering different flavor and taste.
Malt:
beer malt

The process begins when the brewer mills the malt, which involves cracking the grain. The milled grain is then mixed with hot water to produce "mash". Doing this for specific amounts
of time at known temperatures will convert the starch in the grain into fermentable sugars. One this step is done, the sugar-water or "wort", is separated from the grain. Washing
the grains with hot water removes most of the sugar attached.

Next, the wort is boiled with the hops for a few hours. I'm sure some of you have heard the word hops before and always wondered what they are. Hops are flower clusters that are the primary
flavoring and stability ingredient used for beer. They give beer a lot of its aroma, as well as flavor and bitterness. After the wort boils with the hops, the mixture is then cooled to a lower temperature, and then put into a keg to ferment. Yeast is added at this stage, in order to begin the fermentation process. Basically, the yeast feasts (haha) off the sugar from the malt and in exchange produces alcohol and CO2 gas. The beer is left to ferment for up to two weeks or sometimes even longer. After this process, the beer is ready to bottle and enjoy!!

Hops:
hops

This was just a basic overview. At all of the stages listed above, various methods, ingredients and flavorings can be added to customize the beer. There is a reason why people spend years and years mastering this trait.

Before you go out and try making your own beer totally independently, you may want to try a beer making kit. They have these all over online, and they mostly get negative or mixed reviews.
One kit that I've seen personally work somewhat well is MrBeer. Although it is very novice, it is a great kit to at least get your feet wet. The kit breaks everything down for you, and the instructions are very, very simple. Everything you need to brew your first batch of beer is included. Personally, the beer I tasted produced from the kit tasted pretty damn good. I'm sure with more practice and customization you could produce a great beer. Once you move on, you can go onto more general instructions such as these to create a homebatch:
http://www.wikihow.com/Brew-Your-Own-Beer

However, if you are just beginning, I would at least give MrBeer a shot as it is a decent starting out kit.

MR.BEER? Home Brewing Kits. American's #1 Home Brewing System. Makes a great gift!

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