How Beer is made:
Most modern breweries go through these essential Processes for Craft Beer Brewing
The Mill / The Mash Mixer/ The Lauter Tun/ The Brew Kettle/ The Fermenter/ The Aging Tank/The Finishing Tank.
Malted Barley- What is it?
Most beer is made from Malted Barley. The Barley Kernels are usually soaked in water for 3 days so they will start to Germinate which is then halted by Dry Roasting. At that very specific point the barley has just the right amount of moisture and the right amount of protein and must be no smaller than 2.5mm in size.Only very large breweries malt their own barley nowadays, most receive it already malted.
Milling the malt is the first step in the process. In the mill the malted barley grains are cracked , cracking the outer shell of the malt and removing the husk, releasing the starch from inside the grain. We are not trying to make flour here!
The dry grain is introduced to the very wet and hot water! 🙂 It goes in and forms a porridge like mixture. Hot water reactivates the natural Enzymes in the cracked malt forcing the starch to convert into sugars which dissolve into the water. The brew then goes to the 3rd step
In the lauter tun , which is similar to a collinder the mash is strained and a relatively clear sugary liquid called wort drips into the bottom of the tank. During this stage the brewer adjusts the strength of the Mash, a process called sparging, essentially diluting and adding water.
The Brew Kettle is essentially a large Pressure Cooker. Here the wort is brought to a steaming rolling boil and at the exact moments the recipe requires the brewmaster adds flavour giving hops at different stages. Hops are akin to the spice of the beer and have natural preservative qualities. Generally hops added at the start add Bitterness to the brew, In the middle they are adding earthy/grassy tones and nearer the end are the floral/aromatic hops. Sometimes a whirlpool is used after the brew kettle to take any brew particulates and hop residue from the mix
Fermenting and Aging/Finishing:
The wort is then cooled , generally using a heat exchanger to approx 68 deg F or 20 Dec C. [Room temp]. The brew is then moved to the Fermenter tank. Here Yeast is added to the cooled wort.. By now the wort is approx 10% sugar. The Yeast literally eats the sugar and as a byproduct produces Alcohol [Ethanol] and Carbon Dioxide. This little Pac-Man eats up the sugar and burps out CO2 and Ethanol that creates a delicious beer, The CO2 is allowed escape via a one way vent and the alcohol is trapped in suspension in the liquid. After approx 10-21 days the beer is moved from Aging [Secondary Fermenter] to finishing tanks during this period. The Aged beer is transferred to a finishing tank which acts like a serving tank for the Brewpubs.