Process Assignment Paper
Mankind has been producing fermented beverages since the
beginning of history. In fact, the creation of beer and similar drinks is often
credited with helping civilization due to beer’s capacity to store calories for
a long period of time as well as the sanitizing properties of the brewing
process (cite “history of the world in 6 glasses” here). However, beer has
evolved into a more complex endeavor since its prehistoric beginnings.
Brewers today have turned the brewing process into a science
as well as an art. We will follow the process of a malt extract brew, a process
used by many homebrewers. The principals followed in home-brewing are the same as
those used in large-scale breweries. However, most breweries must go through
the processes of malting, milling, mashing, and lautering. These steps will be skipped for us as the
sugars from the grains will be introduced in a concentrated “malt extract”
which is the product of these steps.
We will be talking about brewing in a basic, general form.
In order to produce a specific style of beer you must follow a recipe and
process of that style. There’s a lot of room for creativity in brewing turning
it into an art form of its own.
The malt extract brewing process starts with the heating of
water in a brew kettle. Typically specialty grains are steeped in the water
before it is brought to a full boil. These grains give flavors and aromas that
are specific to each style of beer. After these grains have been steeped the
water is brought to a full rolling boil and the malt extract is dissolved into
the water which is now wort. During the boil, which typically lasts from 60 to
120 minutes, hops are added. The qualities of aroma, taste and bitterness that
hops impart to beer depend on what point they are added. Hops can be added
early in the boil for bittering, with more time boiled resulting in more
bitterness. Hops added at this point in time are called “bittering hops”. They
can also be added mid-boil for flavor, or late boil for flavoring and aroma.
Hops added at this point in time are called “aroma hops”.
is transferred to a fermentation tank and the yeast is pitched. Before yeast is
pitch it is good practice to create a “yeast starter”. Doing so decreases the
lag time for fermentation and gives the yeast the best chance of dominating the
fermenting beers microbiology. Different types of yeast are used to create
different styles of beer. This stage is the called the primary fermentation. The
pitched yeast convert the sugars from the malt into alcohol and carbon dioxide
that lead to an ale or a lager, depending on the type of yeast used. Once yeast
has been pitched at proper temperature, the beer is generally maintained from
60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit for ales, and 50 degrees Fahrenheit for lagers. (Cite
a source here). The temperature of the fermenting beer is closely monitored by
brewers as fluctuations in temperature affect the yeast potentially producing
During the conditioning process for ales and lagers, the
beer will mature and smooth, and by-products of fermentation will diminish. This
process often takes place in a secondary fermentation vessel as it is important
to get the beer off the “trub” that collects on the bottom of the primary fermenter.
A lot of creativity can be taken during this stage to add flavors to the beer. It
is possible to dry hop during this stage for added aroma, and other methods
such as barrel aging can further introduce complexity. Some brewers even
introduce fruit or spice additives. The conditioning process can last from one
to six weeks and sometimes more.
the beer has fermented, it must be kegged or bottled and carbonated, either
naturally or by force. Force carbonation involves adding CO2 to a
container under high pressure, forcing it to be absorbed into the beer. Most
breweries use force carbonation because it’s a much faster process and allows
for greater clarity in the beer.
is a method to introduce carbonation during the fermenting stage. Bottle
conditioning – or adding a small amount of sugar and yeast at bottling – is
also used to generate carbonation. Cask-conditioned real ale is carbonated by
adding sugar, yeast and hops when the beer is first introduced to the cask.