Brewing is the conversion of unfermentable sugars into fermentable sugars. Sounds complex, but the process is very similar to making tea. Enzymes, so called amylases, present in the grains used for brewing convert starches (long chains of sugar molecules) into monomers (glucose). These amylases are also present in saliva, which helps you digest bread and other starchy products. All different types of amylases have their own preferred temperature, which makes it necessary for every different type of beer to follow a different recipe. If you want to produce a beer with body, it is essential to stop this process in time.
After brewing, the sweet liquid (wort) is boiled for about an hour. This is done for 2 reasons: firstly this boiling sterilizes the wort and makes it the ideal substrate for yeast. Secondly, during this boiling process, hops are added, which gives beer its characteristic bitterness. There are 2 main types of hop: bitter hop, which is added at the beginning of the boil which gives a base note of bitterness to the beer, and aroma hop, which is added to the wort at the end of the boil, which mainly gives aroma and smell to the beer. As most aromatic compounds are sensitive to degradation by heat, it is important to time the hop addition well.
After boiling, yeast is added to convert sugar into ethanol. Each yeast also produces secondary metabolites, influencing the final flavor of the beer. Fermentation is usually performed in anaerobic conditions (meaning with limited oxygen availability). Do you have any questions about beer? Would you like to learn how to brew your own? Or are you interested in doing a guided tasting? Then please contact me via the contact page!