As the week comes to its end and Monday, unfortunately, is luring around the corner a new blog post is being written just for you, to brighten up your final hours of the weekend. So sit back, relax, pour yourself a nice beer and enjoy this post about the beauty of beer, its components and the science involved.
Beer has four main components being water, malt, yeast and hops. These components have been used for centuries. The texture and flavour of the beer is mainly determined by the type of these components as each of them has a certain humidity, flavour, scent,… depending on where it’s been cultivated and under what circumstances. Of course, if you’d only use these components all beers would basically be the same. Over the past decades brewers have been adding other components such as cinnamon or rosemary. These led to a whole new spectrum of beer flavours which we now label as ‘craft beers’. Thanks to the courage and determined brewers we can enjoy a total of 32,000 beers worldwide. I still got a long way to go to try them all.
The malt determines the colour of the beer and undergoes a series of processes before it can be used in the beer. It has to soak, germinate and finally kilning, which is the process where it’s being dried in an oven at high temperatures. The higher the temperature the darker the malt and thus the darker the colour of the beer will be. The colour is checked on an EBC scale ( European Brewery Convention) which goes from as low as 4, like a pilsner, up to 80 equal to the colour of an imperial stout.
Hops not only create the flavour and aromas in the beer but also contribute to the stability of the foam layer and the transparency. Hops straight from the field contain approximately 80% moisture which is reduced by drying to 10%.
The final component, yeast, is what makes us drunk on nights out. During the fermentation process the yeast converts sugars to alcohol and carbon dioxide (the gas that makes drinks fizzy).
Crafting beer is not just a matter of throwing these ingredients together and letting it ferment. To craft a delicious beer we all enjoy takes time, precision and craftsmanship.
A little fun fact
Back in the early 19th century beer was even used as a healthy beverage. Back then people had no idea about micro-organisms such as bacteria that contaminated their drink water. During the process of brewing beer you boil the substance and thus killing off all the micro-organisms. Because of this people didn’t get sick. Even though that was ages ago they weren’t wrong. Beer is a very healthy product sometimes containing 50% of necessary proteins. Though because of the alcohol involved it can’t be labelled as a healthy product. That’s one of the reasons breweries are producing non-alcoholic beer as it can be advertised as a healthy product.
The beauty of beer
I’ve found a couple of informative videos on the web about the different kinds of beer and the whole brewing process. For anyone who is interested I’ll leave the links down below. However one video caught my attention because of its poetical view on beer. The person in question is Professor Charlie “The Pope of Foam” Bamforth from the university of California who teaches the science of malting and brewing. He talks about the beauty of brewing. How beer is much more than an alcoholic beverage that you drink to get drunk.
Hereby I will conclude this post for today as I take my last sip of a Grimbergen.
For the readers who are interested, here’s a link to a video by professor Karl Siebert about how we taste beer with all our senses: Science of beer – Cornell University
If you’d like to know more about the brewing process itself then here’s a video by the same man as in the first video, Charlie Bamforth: The Art and Science of Beer – University of California.
Cheers, see you next week!
~Blanckey The Brewer