How is Beer Made?
Updated: Nov 18, 2020
Brewing is one of the oldest and most interesting food production processes in human history. In its most simple form, brewing consists of four stages.
Mashing: The first step in the brewing process is mashing. A selection of base and specialty malts are milled and added to hot water. The mixture is then boiled to break down starches into simple sugars that yeast can consume. After boiling, the spent grain is removed through a process called lautering and sparging. The remaining liquid is now called the wort.
Boiling: The wort is then transferred into the brew kettle. Here, it is boiled for 60-90 minutes to sanitize the mixture and concentrate and caramelize sugars. During the boiling process, hops are added on a hopping schedule. Hops provide the wort with bitterness, aroma and flavor, and anti-microbial properties. The earlier the hops are added in the hopping schedule, the longer they will steep and the more bitter the resulting beer will be. Once the boil is complete, the wort is cooled and transferred into the fermentation tanks.
Fermentation: Yeast is added to the cooled wort and left to ferment. During fermentation, the yeast consumes the simple sugars in the wort and produces alcohol and CO2. This process takes between 2 and 3 weeks.
Clarifying, Resting, and Lagering: After fermentation, the wort has transformed into beer! The beer is then typically filtered to remove the yeast and any leftover grain and hop matter, which results in a crystal clear beer. Many craft breweries choose to leave their beer unfiltered and hazy - us included! Once packaged, the beer needs to rest for differing amounts of time. Ales are ready to drink in a few days, while lagers need to go through a lagering process to develop better flavors. This aging can take weeks to months, which is why they are named after the German word for “storehouse,” lager.