Brewing beer is essentially the process of fermenting grain or fruit over a period of time, the sugars in the grain or fruit will then turn in to alcohol. You can make beer with either the grains or an extract from grain. The way commercial producers make beer is not so different from the way that home brewers do.
The steps to a home brewed beer
First we need to make a mash that is why this stage is often called the mashing stage. We need to crush en steep all the grains in water and thus forming an extract. This mash is then kept at a constant temperature and by doing this some enzymes and starches are distracted from the grains. The distracted starches will become sugars that later on will become alcohol.
Sparging is the name of the stage. Fresh water needs to be added at this point so any sugar that remained in the mash will now dissolve. From now on we will call this mixture wort, this is the basis for all beers, a dark liquid loaded with sugar.
When we are done with the sparging and we are sure that all sugar has dissolved we will boil the wort. If you need to add any extra ingredients this is the time to do so. Hops is a given in this but you can add anything that your recipe calls for. A lot of the home brewers out there have their own special ingredients that they add to the recipe, so they can have a special flavor that is connected to them. By bringing the wort to a boil we also kill bacteria and other microorganisms that could be present in the wort it will also get rid of the excess water.
Now we place this mixture of wort, hops and other ingredients in to a glass vat or jar and we add yeast to it. Now we let this mixture ferment for some time. This fermentation process can take from 7 up to 14 days (sometimes longer), during this time sediment will settle on the bottom of the glass jar or vat together with other materials. When this first fermentation is done most brewers will put the beer in a new container so it can ferment some more.
Now we have come to the last stage which is the packaging stage. Get your beer bottled and capped.
Where do the bubbles come in?
You might wonder when the bubbles, or carbonation as we call it, gets in the beer. Most of the beer drinkers in the world like their beer to be carbonated. Except a few people, no one likes his or her beer to be flat. When you brew your own beer some carbonation will have happened but it won't be much. When you do your brewing at home then there are a few methods to get more carbonation in your brew,
This method is not for everyone and is called forced carbonation. When you use this method you would be forcing carbon dioxide, just before capping them, into the bottles. This is not only difficult but also could be hazardous and therefore is not a method we would recommend.
A much easier way of getting more carbonation in your brew is to just let it ferment a bit longer. When the yeast starts to ferment in the beer and creating alcohol in the process has a byproduct and that product is called carob dioxide. So the longer the beer is allowed to ferment the more carbonation you will get.
You could also add some unfermented wort to each bottle of beer just before they are capped. This way the fermentation process continues in the bottle and thus adding more carbon dioxide to the beer. But be very careful with this method, if you add to much wort the bottle could explode because to much pressure builds up inside the bottle.
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