Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Save to My Library
Look up keyword
Like this
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Beer: A Story of Sugar and Starch

Beer: A Story of Sugar and Starch

Ratings: (0)|Views: 75 |Likes:
Published by Lee Morgan

More info:

Published by: Lee Morgan on Aug 09, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less





Beer: A Story of Sugar and Starch
The first alcoholic beverage made probably wasn't beer. The first fermented drink of whichchemical traces have been found was made from a mixture of ingredients that included rice,honey, and wild grapes. Beer has, however, become the most consumed alcoholic beverage onEarth. To get a sense of the sheer scale of brewing today, consider that annual production volumes of major breweries are reported in millions of hectoliters (100 liters each), ormillions of beer barrels (31 gallons each).Most other fermented beverages—such as wine, cider, or mead—simply cannot be producedon such a scale. Barley's crop yield is unmatched among ingredients well-suited for producingalcoholic drinks. Understanding why other high-yield ingredients—such as wheat, corn, orrice—are not generally used in beer, except in combination with barley, requiresunderstanding the basic chemistry of the malting process.Malted barley is composed of barley grains which have been steeped in water to initiate thegermination process, in which the barley seed prepares to sprout. The grains are then rapidly dried with hot air to halt the germination process before the grains actually sprout. The goal of this process is to activate certain enzymes, namely 
which can break down the starches—which yeast cannot ferment into alcohol—into sugars, which yeast canferment. Barley has a much higher enzyme content (or
diastatic power
) than other cerealgrains like corn and rice, and is therefore much more capable of converting its starch intosugar in the mashing process.If you think this sounds complex, try making sake (technically aform of beer). Since rice has a relatively low enzyme content, sake makers use an
mold to convert the rice starch into sugar over the course of several weeks.Mashing is the first stage of brewing—brewers usually leaving the malting up to the maltsters.In the mash, malted barley is introduced to water between 140 and 160 degrees farenheit, andheld at this temperature for a period of time, often 60 minutes. The heat and moisture allow the enzymes present in the barley to convert its starches to sugars. Mashing is performed in alarge insulated container known as a mash tun. After draining the hot liquor from the mash tun, the grains are often rinsed, or sparged, withmore hot water. The sugary malt solution, which is now called
is transferred toa large kettle and brought to a boil. At this point, beer's third ingredient (after barley and water) is added.Hops. In the western United States, they've become something of a fetish, but hops weren't acommon ingredient in beer until the Middle Ages. Before then, a variety of different plants were used to flavor and preserve beer, such as sweet gale, wild rosemary and yarrow.Recently, some American brewers have again begun to produce beers using these herbs. Theseales are known as
 but they're still quite rare—for now the hop remains king.Hops serve two functions. First of all, they make beer taste better (i.e., bitter). The bitternessthey provide balances the sweetness of the malted barley, and the spicy, floral, or fruity flavorsthey contribute are often pleasant, sometimes divine. Secondly, hops contain
alpha acids
thatare toxic to gram-positive bacteria such as
, which often spoil beer, so hopped beer is less prone to infection and the off-flavors resulting from infection.
Hops are usually added to beer during the boil. Beer—or, more precisely, wort—is boiled for along period of time, usually 60-90 minutes, which, among other things,
the alphaacids in the hops. This is important because alpha acids do not taste bitter as they are found innature—only isomerized alpha acids provide bitterness. Hops boiled for a longer period of time will therefore contribute more bitterness, but the long boil will also destroy much of thehops' other flavors. Brewers often distinguish between
bittering hops,
added early in the boil,and
aroma hops,
 which are boiled for a shorter period of time. Adding hops anytimeafter the wort has cooled, a technique known as
dry hopping
, contributes negligible bitterness but lots of hop flavor.Once the beer has cooled, the wort is transferred into a fermentation vessel. The brewerusually pitches a single strain of ale yeast,
 Saccharomyces cerevisiae,
either from a lab orharvested from a previous batch of beer. Notable exceptions include lagers, which requirelager yeast,
 Saccharomyces pastorianus,
and wild beers, which make use of a variety of wild yeasts and bacteria.Even within
 S. cerevisiae,
there are as many different yeast strains as there are breweries, dueto the speed at which yeast evolves. Yeast strains crucially differ in how much they 
that is, what percentage of the malt sugars they can convert into alcohol, as well as in whatflavor compounds they produce as byproducts of fermentation. Belgian ale strains, forexample, tend to be highly attenuative and produce pungent flavor compounds.The yeast convert the malt sugars into alcohol over the course of a week or two in a stageknown as
 primary fermentation.
 At the end of this stage the yeast begin to
orclump together, and drop to the bottom of the fermenter. Most brewers employ at least a shortconditioning period following primary fermentation to allow the beer to clear of yeast and the yeast to clean up some less pleasant byproducts of fermentation, such as
 After conditioning, the beer is ready to be carbonated. Most commercial breweries carbonatetheir beers mechanically, while most homebrewers and Belgians use a process known as
bottle conditioning.
In this process, the brewer adds a precisely measured amount of sugar tothe beer immediately before bottling. The yeast ferment the sugar in the sealed bottle,producing only a very small amount of alcohol, but enough carbon dioxide to make a crisp,fizzy beverage. Bottle conditioned beers often have a small but significant amount of yeast atthe bottom, so decanting the beer carefully into a glass, leaving the yeast with the last 1/4 inchof beer, is generally recommended to preserve clarity of appearance and flavor.
Glossary of TermsIngredients:Hops
- There are dozens of hop varietals, with widely ranging flavors. Wikipedia has a pretty good list. American hops tend towards citrus and pine-like flavors, while European hops tendto be more mild, earthy, and spicy. New Zealand and Japanese hops are the next frontier.
Malt extract
- Available in liquid (LME) or dry (DME) forms, this extract is a concentrationof the sugars present in the wort after the mash. Using extract obviates the need for a mash.
Base malt
- Malt that has been relatively lightly kilned, so as to not destroy the starch-converting enzymes. Base malt is the only malt that must be included in beer, since only basemalt can produce fermentable sugars. Common varieties of base malt include: Pilsner, 2 row,Marris Otter, Vienna and Munich (ordered from palest to darkest).
Specialty grains:Crystal; crystal malt
- Malted barley that has been stewed and then dried, in a process thatcauses starches to be converted into sugars via enzymatic action. These malts do not need to be mashed (i.e., steeped carefully to allow this very enzymatic conversion), and can be steeped very casually. Crystal malts add caramel-type flavors and unfermentable sugars to a beer,making it sweeter and more viscous. Crystal malt is categorized according to how dark it has been roasted, where a higher number corresponds to a darker malt and a more intensecaramel flavor. Darker crystal malts also contribute dark fruit flavors.
Roasted barley; black barley 
- Unmalted barley that has been very deeply roasted. Gives beer a nutty, coffee-like flavor. The characteristic flavor of modern stouts.
Black patent
- Malted barley that has been very deeply roasted. Similar in flavor to roasted barley, but less coffee-like and with a bit more of an smoky edge. Often included in smallerquantities than roasted barley in stouts and porters.
Chocolate malt
- Malted barley that has been roasted slightly less than black patent. Flavorsof unsweetened chocolate and bread-crust dominate. The characteristic flavor of modern brown ales.
Measurements:Original Gravity (OG)
- A measurement of the specific gravity (i.e., density) of the wort before fermentation. Water has a specific gravity of 1, and a liquid with anything held insolution will increase that liquid's specific gravity. Therefore, a wort with a high specificgravity, such as 1.080, is a wort with a lot of stuff in solution, the majority of which isgenerally fermentable sugar (chiefly glucose and maltose).
Final Gravity (FG)
- A measurement of the specific gravity (i.e., density) of a beer afterfermentation. As the sugars, which are heavier than water, are converted to alcohol, thedensity of the beer decreases. A beer with a low final gravity is a beer with very few 

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->