Sunday, March 1, 2009

Beer Brewing 101

Home brewing is a four step process (but most home brewers only do three of the four).

Malting is the first step and is also the one that most home brewers do not do themselves. They instead allow a malting company to do this for them. After the malting process is complete the grains are kilned (dried) which allows for longer storage times. They drying also enhances flavors and aromas which are then removed in the brewing process.

Mashing is the second step. The grains are soaked in hot water which dissolves the starches. Maltose (the most prevalent sugar produced in this process) and other malt sugars are what the yeast converts to alcohol during the fermentation process. This mashing process has been done for you, too, if you use malt extracts (liquid or dry) instead of grain when you brew.

Step 3 is the boil. Malt sugars, water and other ingredients are combined in a brewpot to make what is called wort (beer before it is beer). Boiling sanitizes the beer ingredients. Hops are added at various times with the first hops providing bittering (the boil removes oils from the hops to do this). Later hop additions provide both flavor and aroma. After the boil (usually about 60 minutes) the wort is cooled and yeast is added.

Usually within about 12 hours the yeast will be at home in the wort and it will begin to convert the sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This fermentation process will take from four to seven days. Some beers (especially lagers) may take several months to fully ferment. When fermentation is complete the beer is ready to bottle or keg.

If you would like to brew your own beer, BlueStem Winery has the brewing equipment you need and will assist you in your beer brewing endeavors.

BlueStem also stocks everything you need if your preference leans toward making wine. BlueStem stocks wine making kits from both Cellar Craft and WinExpert and is always ready to answer your winemaking questions.

No comments: