Apr 262009
 

Brewing is the actual process of making 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 forced carbonation, via the direct addition of CO2 gas to the keg or bottle.

After it has been brewed, the beer is 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.

 

 Posted by at 11:12 am
Apr 142009
 

Wheat beers are beers that are brewed with both malted barley and malted wheat, rather than using just barley.  The addition of wheat will lend wheat beers a lighter flavor and somewhat paler color than most all barley ales and beers.  Wheat beer is normally top fermented, which is fermentation with ale yeast.
All types of wheat beers have become very popular in the last several years, especially in warm weather.  In earlier centuries, the brewing of wheat beer was illegal in many places, simply because wheat was too important as both bread and cereal to waste it with brewing beers.

The two most important varieties of wheat beers are Belgian and German.

Belgian

Belgian wheat beers are easily the best known, as they get their name from the suspended wheat proteins which give it the whitish color.  Belgian white beers often have spices such as coriander or orange peels added, which help to give them a hint of fruity flavor.

German

German wheat beer is a well known variation throughthe sourthern part of the country.  The German yeast wheat is a variety in which the yeast isn’t filtered out.  The filtration will take the yeast out, and also strips wheat proteins which will make it appear cloudy.

A lot of microbrewers in the United States as well as Canada that make their own variations of wheat beer, They are particularly popular in Portland Oregon, which is considered to be the beer capital.

In Europe, wheat beer is normally served in special types of wheat beer glasses.  In Belgium they are normally solid glasses.  Other countries will take half a liter, in which the glasses are normally tall and slim, tapering slightly towards the base.
In the United States, wheat beer is normally served with a slice of lemon.

 Posted by at 11:06 am
Apr 142009
 

Over the years, keg beers have gotten a lot better.If a cask beer is in poor condition, it’s actuallypossible for a fresh keg beer to be much bettertasting.  Even though this may sound absurd, it’svery common for someone who’s unfamilar with caskale to not be able to taste the difference betweenkeg and cask beer.
The warm temperature that cask beer is famous fordoesn’t apply in the summer months all that oftenthese days, as temperature control units in pubs have beer run through coolers.  The fact is, somepubs will run cask ale lines through lager chillersin order to get the beer below the maximum temperaturerequired, so cask ale may very well end up just ascold as a keg lager.

This isn’t really a good thing, as ale requires acool rather than very cold temperature to bring outall of its flavors.  In a well run pub however, thecask ale will be served at the right temperature -cool but not too cold.

The smell of cask ale is much fresher and more wholesome than keg beer.  Keep in mind, the aroma ofcask ale doesn’t have the stored up impact of bottled type beers, as this beer has already beenexposed to the air for a couple of days – meaningthere is no impact when you transfer it to yourbeer glass.

Normally, the aroma wil be released into the air whenit has been warmed up, which will probably happenwhen you get near the bottom of the glass.

The flavor of cask ale is very similiar to the aromain it, which is very fresh and delicate. Unlikeother bottled beers, the flavor of cask ale is even more noticeable than the aroma.  At first,the aroma is very slight, although the flavor more than makes up for it.
The intensity of the flavor will depend on the styleof beer.  The CO2 bubbles themselves will have very little flavor, therefore a mass of burstingbubbles against your tongue will prevent the actualbeer from making contact.

With cask ale, there is little to no carbonation,so more of the flavor will connect with your tastebuds.  You should be able to note the fruity tasteup front, with balance in the middle and bitternessin the end.  The flavor of a cask ale is much morenoticed than keg or even bottled beer.

Bottle conditioned beers will also have this typeof flavor profile, although they’ll need to beprepared and conditioned well in advance, meaningthat the bottle will need to be opened and allowedto settle for a while.  Cask ales offer the conditioning being done fro you, so you won’t needto do it.

The most important aspect of cask ale is how it feels in your mouth.  It shouldn’t be fizzy.  If itis, it’s either a keg beer or a cask ale that’s been put on too soon.  There will be a natural feelin the beer, a life that makes you want to drink it.

 Posted by at 10:58 am
Jan 122009
 

The main ingredients found in beer are water, malted barley, hops, and yeast.  There are, however, other ingredients such as flavoring, sugar, and other ingredients that are commonly added.

Starches are used as well, as they convert in the mashing process to easily fermentable sugars that will help to increase the alcohol content of beer while adding body and flavor. Below are the main ingredients.

Water

Seeing as how beer is mainly composed of water, the source of water and its characteristics have a very important effect on the character of the beer.  A lot of beer styles were influenced by the characteristics of water in the region.  Although the effect of minerals in brewing water is complex, hard water is more suited to dark styles, while soft water is more suited to light styles.

Malt

Among malts, barley is the most widely used due to its high amylase content, and a digestive enzyme that facilitates the breakdown of starch into sugars.  Depending on what can be cultivated locally, other malts and unmalted grains can be used, such as wheat, rice, oats, and rye.

Malt is obtained by soaking grain in water, allowing it to germinate, then drying the germinated grain in a kiln.  By malting the grain, enzymes will eventually convert the starches in the grain into fermentable sugars.

Hops

Since the seventeenth century, hops have been commonly used as a bittering agent in beer.  Hops help to contribute a bitterness that will balance the sweetness of the malts.  They also contribute aromas which range from citrus to herbal.

Hops also provide an antibiotic effect that favors the activity of brewer’s yeast over the less desirable microorganisms.  The bitterness in beer is normally measured on the International Bitterness Units scale.

Yeast

Yeast is a microorganism that is responsible for fermentation.  Specific strains of yeast are chosen depending on the type of beer produced. The two main strains are ale yeast and lager yeast, with other variations available as well.

Yeast helps to metabolise the sugars that are extracted from the grains, and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide as a result.  Before the functions of yeast were understood, all fermentations were done using wild or airborne yeasts.

Clarifying agent

A lot of brewers prefer to add one or more clarifying agents to beer that aren’t required to be published as ingredients.  Examples include Isinglas finings, which are obtained from swimbladders of fish and Irish moss, which is a type of red alga.
Since these ingredients can be obtained from animals, those who are concerned with either the use or consumption of animal products should obtain detailed information from the brewer.

 Posted by at 11:27 am
Jan 122009
 

To get the most out of a visit to Oregon, you’ll need to try a local craft beer.  Even if you don’t like to drink craft beer, it’s something you should at least experience.

If you are new to microbrews, you should know that just because the beer is a microbrew, it doesn’t mean that you’ll need a knife and fork to drink it.  All over the state, you’ll find several different microbreweries that offer everything you could ever want.

All mass produced American style lagers have set a rather disappointing standard for the beer drinkers of the country.  These beers can only be as good as their ingredients.

Instead of the fine grains such as barley and wheat, corn and rice are often used as cheaper replacements.  In place of the whole kiln hops, the bigger breweries rely on small pellets of compressed hop dust.

Throughout the state of Oregon, there are more than 50 breweries that provide both locals and visitors with many alternatives to drink.  The microbrewed craft will rely on tradition, using the more expensive ingredients in place of money saving shortcuts.  The implication here, is that these types of beer are normally bitter or overly sweet.

Anytime you visit an unfamiliar brewpub, there is a great way to sample a variety of brews without having to buy a whole pint.  Several pubs offer a sampler tray with five to seven two ounce beers, often labeled to avoid any type of confusion.

Throughout Oregon, microbrews are very popular, in the pubs and on the street.  You can find many different varieties, more than you can find in other states.  If you don’t live in Oregon, and you get the chance to visit, you shouldn’t hesitate to check out some of the excellent microbrews.

 Posted by at 11:19 am