The Daily Drink: How craft beer is made
Craft beer is made from the same four basic ingredients as regular beer. It also goes through the same process of extracting the sugars from grains so the yeast can convert them to alcoholic beverage.
The difference between them is how the brewmaster gets creative in combining the grains, hops and yeast to produce a distinct taste of craft beer.
Here is the process that The Daily Drink team follows to brew its own delicious craft beer.
The main ingredient is usually barley, but sometimes wheat, rye and other cereal grains are also used. The grains are harvested and the seeds run through a malting process starting with germination. The purpose is to start the seed germinating to activate starch enzymes. The malting process creates fermentable sugars when the yeast is added later in the process.
Mash and lauter
The next step is to steep them again in hot water after the grains are malted. This process activates the starch enzymes in the grain which cause it to break down and release a sweet and syrupy liquid known as wort. Used grains that are left are separated or lautered from the wort.
Boiling and adding hops
Hops and other spices are then added to the wort once the lautering is complete. Hops are small pine cone looking fruit that grows on vines. They provide bitterness to balance out the sugar in the wort. If you notice, most commercial beers are mostly bitter tasting. It’s because they have more hops than barley.
This part of the process decides what kind of beer is going to be made. It can be ales or lagers, depending on the type of yeast that the brewmaster will use in the fermentation stage.
Yeast helps break down the sugars and create both alcohol and carbonation, that soda fizz when you open a can of beer. There are more than 1,500 varieties of yeast but there are only two types of yeast used for craft beer, top cropping and bottom cropping.