#Main Ingredients of Beer# What is inside a beer bottle? Do you want to know? Then watch this video if you aren’t a blog lover.
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Contents and related time codes of this documentary are:
- What is beer? – 00:00:34
- Brewing history – 00:01:28
- Main ingredients – 00:04:02
- Additives, not mentioned on the label – 00:12:42
- Health benefits – 00:16:09
- Complete brewing process – 00:16:45
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What is Beer? #Main Ingredients of Beer
Beer is one of the oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic drink. Also, it is the third most popular drink all over the world after water and tea. Beer is distributed in bottles and cans and commonly available on draught, particularly in pubs and bars.
The brewing industry is a global business, consisting of several dominant multinational companies and many thousands of smaller producers ranging from brewpubs to regional breweries. The strength of modern beer is usually around 4% to 6% ABV (Alcohol By Volume), although it may vary between 0.5% to 20%. But some breweries creating beers of 40% ABV and above.
Now beer is a part of the culture of many nations and associated with social traditions such as beer festivals, as well as a rich pub culture involving activities like pub crawling and pub games.
History #Main Ingredients of Beer
The earliest archaeological evidence for the existence of fermentation and beer brewing was found in Raqefet Cave in the Carmel Mountains near Haifa in Israel.
These pieces of evidence are 3,000 years old and belong to the Semi-Nomadic Natufians.
Since that time to time, various races and tribes have changed the brewing process, used equipment and the added ingredients to get the best out of grains.
Germanic and Celtic tribes spread Beer brewing in Europe as far back as 3000 BC, and it was mainly brewed on a domestic scale.
Before the Industrial Revolution, beer was made and sold on a domestic scale. But during the Industrial Revolution, the production of beer moved from artisanal manufacture to industrial manufacture.
The development of hydrometers and thermometers changed brewing by allowing the brewer more control of the process and greater knowledge of the results.
In 1516, William IV, Duke of Bavaria adopted the Reinheitsgebot also known as the Purity Law.
This is the oldest food-quality regulation and it is still in use even in the 21st century. According to that the only allowed ingredients were water, hops, yeast and malts. Today, many brewers still adhere to these guidelines, but some may experiment with additional ingredients based on those four main ingredients.
In 1912, the use of brown bottles began to be used by Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company of Milwaukee in the United States. After that this innovation has been accepted worldwide due to its quality of preventing harmful rays from destroying the quality and stability of beer.
In the late 19th century, brewing was restricted to commercial operation in many countries and homebrewing was prohibited. Since the brewing was subjected to various legislations and taxations in developed countries. However, in 1963, the United Kingdom government relaxed homebrewing legislation and other developed countries also followed that. Since then the homebrewing became a popular hobby.
The Benedictine Weihenstephan brewery in Bavaria, Germany has a great history in brewing from the year 768. In 1040, it was licensed by the city of Freising and therefore it is the oldest working brewery in the world.
Today the Anheuser-Busch-InBev company, based in Belgium and the Dutch-based Heineken company are the leading brewers in the world.
They manufacture plenty of popular beer brands including Bud, Light, Budweiser, Amstel, Desperados, Sol, Affligem, Tiger, Tecate, Red Stripe and Krusovice.
Main Ingredients of Beer
No.1 – Yeast #Main Ingredients of Beer
Yeast is a fungus, a living organism which is invisible to the naked eye. Yeast uses to produce beer because it metabolizes sugar of the grains and converts them into Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and alcohol through fermentation. Yeast requires sugar to digest and oxygen to breath. Therefore, the brewer must supply pure oxygen to the yeast.
If you are a homebrewer, you have the option of brewing beer with either dry yeast or liquid yeast. Yeast is an extremely nutritionally rich, and contains protein, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals which can keep you healthy.
There are two types of yeasts called Ale yeast and Lager yeast.
These types of yeast are specially cultivated for use in brewing and bread yeast cannot be used for beer. Each of them makes a significantly different style of beer.
Ale yeast (Also known as Saccharomyces Cerevisiae)
Bear that uses Ale yeast is fermented at a warmer temperature between 15-25 and the yeast collects on top during fermentation. Ale yeast typically has a darker and more alcoholic profile. Top yeast produces more esters during the fermentation, and they generate “fruity” aromas unique to each variety of yeast. E.g. – Pale Ale, IPA’s, Stouts, Hefeweizens and Porters. Etc.
Lager yeast (Also known as Saccharomyces Pastorianus and Saccharomyces Carlsbergensis)
Beers that use Lager yeast are fermented at a cooler temperature between 4-15 and the yeast drops to the bottom of the brew during the fermentation. Lagers typically have a light and crisp flavour profile, in which you can taste more malt and hop tones. E.g. – Pilsners, Helles, Oktoberfest, Bock, Bud, Coors, Miller and Blocks.
No.2 – Water #Main Ingredients of Beer
Water is the simplest ingredient of beer, but also important because 90% of beer is water. For this reason, it is a great drink to quench the thirst.
But this water must be pure and safe water without any taste or smell to make a good beer. On the other hand, irons and mineral salts of water affect too much both the beer flavour and the enzymatic reactions of its manufacturing process. So, many brewers filter the mineral salts of the water. For example:
- Sulphate gives a dry taste.
- Sodium and Potassium gives a salty taste.
- Calcium precipitates the phosphates of the beer wort, reduces the pH and increases the nitrogen assimilable by the yeast, improving its flocculation.
Therefore, different regions having different mineral components are originally better suited for making certain types of beer. For example:
- Dublin in the Republic of Ireland has hard water having higher levels of mineral content (generally Calcium and Magnesium), well suited to make Stout.
- Pilsen in the Czech Republic has soft water which is largely free from minerals, well suited to make Pale Lager and Pilsners.
- Waters in Burton in England contain gypsum, which benefits making Pale Ale.
No.3 – Hop #Main Ingredients of Beer
In the early 1800s, brewers used spices, herbs, and various ingredients to flavour their beers. But after they found out about this green flower, the whole brewing process was changed. Hops are small, green, cone-shaped flowers that grow on a Bine which can reach 20 feet. The scientific name for the hop is “Humulus Lupulus”.
Resins and oil contamination in the female flower of the hop plant make hops useful for beer brewing. Hop resins give beers their bitterness and balance the sweetness of the malts. This bitterness is the quality that twists your tongue and prickles your taste buds when you sip a beer.
Different varieties of hops have a different amount of resin and this is measured in terms of Alpha Acid percentage (AA%). And the bitterness of the beer is measured by the International Bitterness Unit (IBU) scale. This scale normally runs from 0-100. Lighter beers will generally take between 6-17 IBU’s, while North American IPA beers may often achieve IBU’s greater than 60. While this is a scientific measurement, it does not measure perceived bitterness. For example, a beer with a high level of malt may have an IBU of 80 but it may only be perceived as 40, due to the balance between malt and hops.
Hop oils are where we get more delicate and nuanced hop flavours and aromas in our beer. Flavours and aromas depend on the exact variety of hop. Grapefruit peel, tangerine, ripe pear, pineapple, baking spices, guava, lemongrass, wildflowers, French perfume, and many more flavours and aromas are there.
- Hops that are known for their solid bittering powers are usually called “bittering hops”.
- Popular in these beer brands – Apollo, Brewer’s Gold, Columbus, Nugget
- Hops that have less bittering potential, but a lot of fragrant hop oils like fruity, resinous, spicy and floral are called” aroma hops”.
- Popular in these beer brands – Cascade, Centennial, Hersbrucker, Saaz
- Hops that are pretty good at both are called “duel hops”.
- Popular in these beer brands – Amarillo, Mosaic, Citra, Northern Brewer
Other than that, hops also act as a preservative to keep the beer fresh for longer. Due to the antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and sedative properties, hops were used as a medicinal plant in the ancient civilizations such as Romans.
Hops are typically grown between the 30th and 50th northern latitude. That’s mean in Oregon, Washington State, Germany, England, France, Spain, Canada and Belgium. However, scientists have been working diligently to harvest new hops in places like Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and even in South Florida.
No.4 – Grains #Main Ingredients of Beer
The making of any alcoholic beverage starts with a source of sugar. In wine, the sugar comes from grapes, in cider, it’s from apples and in mead, it’s from honey. Like that, the sugar source for the beer is grain. Beer brewers use Wheat, Rye, Rice, Oats, Corn, Sorghum and other grains for this, but the preferred grain is Barley.
Malted grains provide a spectrum of colour to the beer that ranges from pale straw to black. Pale malt creates the lighter colour and flavours seen in the easiest drinking and thirst-quenching beers while dark malts are responsible for the richer, more robust colours like in Porters and Stouts.
Barley is a thick, rounded and yellowish grain, having the scientific name as “Hordeum Vulgare”. It is belonging to the grass plant family.
The origin of this plant comes from Mediterranean areas, such as Nile delta, where the first beer has developed. But now its cultivation has spread to other areas of the world because it can adapt easily to other climates.
The reason for using Barley by many beer brewers is because it can give more sugar than other grains and it also has a natural fibrous hull which acts as a natural filter during the brewing process. Today there are many kinds of Barleys are being genetically modified to have multiple characteristics that brewers are looking for to create the best flavours and to enhance the overall quality of the beer.
Wheat gives off a soft, bread-like taste with a slightly sour touch. Wheat is used as the major sugar source in Weizen and wheat beers.
Oats provide a velvety, somewhat fuller mouthfeel and a taste of oatmeal. Oats are traditionally used in Oatmeal Stout and other types of beer like in Session IPA’s and New England IPA’s. Kuit is a traditional Dutch beer type, brewed with at least 45% oats in the malt dump.
Rye provides a slightly spicy, earthy touch to beer and can create a somewhat syrupy mouthfeel. Jopen Jacobus is an example of a beer with Rye.
Corn is a relatively cheap source of starch and is often used in American-style beers. Corona beer and Hite Pale Lager are well-known examples for that. Corn often gives a dry mouthfeel and aftertaste, and this can be tasted in Asahi Super Dry beer.
Mostly, these other types of grains are used in addition to a base of barley. The composition of the grain types adds their unique flavours, aromas and different textures to the beer and control the overall cost.
Additives of Beer #Main Ingredients of Beer
To maintain consistency, longevity, perceived freshness and quality on a global level, mass beer brewers add various kinds of additives along with the above mentioned 4 major ingredients. But these substances may not considerably find in the final product and also the manufacturers are not mentioning their existence on the label.
No.1 – Antioxidants
Oxygen reacts with the active compounds which give aroma and flavour to the beer and creates negative effects. Thus, Antioxidants are added to beer to reduce or postpone such undesired flavour deterioration and to improve the shelf life.
Examples – Sulphites (E numbers 220-228), Ascorbic Acid (Also known as Vitamin C)
No.2 – Foam Stabilizers
Characteristics of added ingredients or problems of brewing process may cause the beer to lose its inherent foaming abilities. Because of that which beer may be considered insufficient for consumer acceptance. To overcome this issue, foam stabilizers are added during the beer brewing process.
Foam stabilizers increase the surface tension of the beer and create much more durable foam bubbles when the beer is poured. This ersatz foam tends to have substantially different aesthetic qualities than natural foam, a fact that the consumer may or may not notice.
Examples – Propylene-Glycol-Alginate (PGA)
No.3 – Colour Regulating Agents
Like in wine and liquor, colouring agents are used during beer brewing for the colour correctives.
Examples – Caramel colour
No.4 – Chemical Stability Enhancers
These substances help beer to maintain its clarity over long periods at very low temperatures.
Examples – Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), Collupulin (Also known as Enzyme Papain)
No.5 – Clarifying Agents or Beer Finings
These substances typically precipitate along with protein solids and other traced components in the finished product. This process makes the beer appear bright and clean rather than the cloudy appearance of ethnic and older styles of beer such as wheat beers.
Examples – Isinglass, obtained from swim bladders of fish
Irish Moss, a seaweed
If a beer is marked “Suitable for Vegan”, it is clarified either with seaweed or with artificial agents.
No.6 – Flavouring Agents and Spices
Brewers add a variety of substances to their beer to create unique aromas and flavours.
Examples – Oak chips, Cocoa nibs, Flavoring oils, Cloves and Coriander seeds, Coffee, Cherries, Citrus fruit, Cinnamon sticks, Vanilla bean, Brown sugar or maple, Juniper, Cranberry, Nutmeg, Fresh ginger, Chocolate, Peppermint, Dark fruits and Caramel, Honey, etc.
No.7 – Adjuncts #Main Ingredients of Beer
Many industrial brewers use adjunct grains to save money because barley is relatively expensive. Some European brewers use 10%-20% adjunct grains and some large United States brewers are notorious for using as much as 30%-40% adjunct grains in their beers. But in Germany, use of adjuncts or anything other than malt, hop, yeast or water in larger is prohibited by the famed German Purity Law.
Some brewers use non-grain adjuncts Brown Sugar, Honey, Lactose, Maple Syrup, Molasses, Treacle etc.
Health Benefits of Beer
The hops, yeast and grains in beer contribute carbohydrates, a small amount of B vitamins, folate, niacin, magnesium, and potassium. Beer contains calories from both the alcohol and carbohydrates because it is made from fermented cereal grains. These calories are typically called empty calories because they do not contain a significant amount of nutrients that fuel our body’s daily functions.
If you aren’t drinking too much beer, there are no negative effects on your body. But some researches recommend the daily limit as 2 beer for men and 1 beer for women.
Brewing Process of Beer
The brewing process can be break into 11 steps like this.
Step 1: Malting
Barley cleaned and soaked in water for about 2 days. Then excess water is drained away and the barley is incubated for 4-5 days to allow germination. The germination allows the formulation of highly active α-amylase, β-amylase and proteases enzymes as well as flavour and colour components. Some dextrose sugar syrup is also added during the process. But usually, adjunct grains are added to the process without malting.
Step 2: Kilning
The germinated grains are then kilned by slow heating at 80 and this is also known as the roasting process. The kilning temperature is directly affecting the colour of the beer. When the kilning temperature is higher, darker beer will be produced. Examples:
- Lightly roasted malts use for Kolsch, Pale Ale, Pilsner, Etc.
- When light malts roast a little longer and its use for Amber Ales, Marzens, Etc.
- After roasting some more longer it can be used for Drunkels, Brown Ales. Etc.
- Extreme dark malts use for Porters, Stouts, Etc. and gives a distinct coffee/chocolatey flavour.
Step 3: Milling the grains
Then the dried grains are crushed together between rollers to break up the kernels to extract fermentable sugars and to dissolves better in water. This milled product called grist.
Step 4: Mash Conversion
The grist is then transferred into a mash tun, where it is mixed with heated and purified water in a process called mash conversion. This resulting material is maintained at 65 for about 1 hour to allow natural enzymes in the malt to break the malt’s starch down into sugars. This total process requires careful temperature control and the liquid obtained by mashing is called wort.
Some brewers harden the added water to make unique beer flavours. This technique is called Burtonising and this term came from Burton-Upon-Trent where famous for brewing using harden water.
Step 5: Lautering
The mash is then pumped into the lauter tun, where a sweet liquid known as the wort is separated from the grain husks.
Step 6: Boiling of wort and adding Hops
The wort is then collected in a vessel called a kettle. Then the liquid is boiled with stirring for 2-3 hours and hops are added at various interval during boiling. Hops added at the beginning is primarily for bittering purpose because during the long boil hops contribute more bitterness. Hops added in the middle of the process contribute a bit of both resin and some oils. Hopes are added also at the end to extract more oils as well as more aromas. Because aroma would be destroyed during a long boil.
The boil helps in extracting hop flavours, coagulating remaining protein, inactivating remaining enzymes, sterilizing and concentrating the wort.
Step 7: Wort separation and cooling
After boiling, the wort is transferred into a whirlpool for the wort separation stage. During this stage, malt and hop particles are removed and the clear wort is cooled to a temperature between 10-20 in the wort cooler.
Step 8: Fermentation
To start the fermentation, yeast is added during the filling of the vessel. Yeast converts the sugary wort into beer by producing alcohol, a wide range of flavours, and carbon dioxide. This Carbon Dioxide is used in the later process to give the beer its sparkles.
The temperature and the length of the fermentation process are determined by the type of beer being produced. But fermentation is usually carried out at 3-4 but it may range from 3-14 and it usually completes in 14 days. When a creamy, frothy head appears on top of the brew, the fermentation process recognized as over. Then the yeast removed from the top or bottom of the vessel.
Step 9: Maturation
After fermentation, the young “green” beer needs to be matured to allow both a full development of flavours and a smooth finish. For this, it is stored at 0 for several weeks to several months.
Step 10: Filtration, Carbonation, and Cellaring
After reaching its full potential, the beer is filtered and carbonated by Carbon Dioxide of 0.45-0.52%. Then it is transferred to the bright beer tank, where it goes through a cellaring process that takes 3-4 weeks to complete. Once completed, the beer is ready to be packaged.
Step 11: Packaging
Filling, placing caps on bottles, labelling, and placing cans and bottles in boxes is done by machines. The beer filling is done while applying a counter pressure to prevent any Carbon Dioxide from escaping. Packaged beer may be heat pasteurized or micro-filtered to increase the shelf-life up to six months when properly stored.
Draught beer normally sold and consumed within a few weeks. So, draught beer may not go through this process and placed in sterilized kegs to make ready for shipment.
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