Beer is made from four basic ingredients: Barley, water, hops and yeast. The basic idea is to extract the sugars from grains (usually barley) so that the yeast can turn it into alcohol and CO2, creating beer.
The brewing process starts with grains, usually barley (although sometimes wheat, rye or a mixture.) The grains are harvested and malted (germinated) then roasted to stop the germination process. It is during germination that the grains produce an enzyme that helps convert starch into fermentable sugar.
The grains then cracked to expose the inner part and “mashed” in which they are steeped in hot, but not boiling, water for about an hour. This causes the enzymes in the grain to break down and release the sugars. After the mash is done we collect the sugary water, called wort (pronounced wert – ). The wort is what will become the beer.
The wort is boiled for about an hour while hops and other spices are added up to 12 different times.
Hops provide bitterness to balance out all the sugar in the wort and provide flavor. They also act as a natural preservative.
Once the boil is over ( from 60-90 minutes) the wort is cooled, transferred to a fermentation vessel and yeast is added to it. At this point the brewing is complete and the fermentation begins.
The beer is stored for a couple of weeks at cool temperature while the yeast works its fermentation magic. Basically the yeast eats up all that sugar in the wort and spits out CO2 and alcohol as waste products.
You’ve now got alcoholic beer, however, it is flat and uncarbonated. We either transfer the beer into a large “brite” tank and inject CO2 to give the beer carbonation or we add a bit of sugar and bottle the beer uncarbonated. The sugar provides a little food for the remaining yeast and this naturally carbonates the beer.