It’s not as though I have no idea how the process of brewing beer works but the details are definitely foggy at best. In theory the process can’t be that hard, they have been brewing beer for thousands of years and if people without technology could do it the process at it’s most basic level should be easy to follow. I was assume that the difference between then and now is that while we haven’t perfected it we have certainly refined it.
The process as I understand it is something like this: boil ingredients, add other ingredients, cool the mixture, add yeast somewhere in the steps above, age and then bottle and drink. I know that it is way more complicated and that every step, every ingredient can drastically change the taste, alcohol, clarity of the beer etc. Knowing this and seeing it in words worries me but that’s half the fun.
I have been doing my research, in the last book I picked up, The Complete Beer Course – Boot camp for Beer geeks: From Novice to Expert in Twelve Tasting Classes by Joshua Bernstein he lays out the process in the best way I have seen for beginners. Below is how he lists the process and the explanation of it in my words.
- Milling: Taking malt and crushing it to grist
- Mashing: Grist is steeper in hot water into fermentable sugars
- Lautering: Grains are separated from sugar broth making wort
- Boiling: Wort, water and hops are placed together
- Whirlpool: Wort is then spun to remove done hops and proteins
- Wort Cooling: Cool down of the mixture in order to add yeast
- Fermenting: Yeast is added and the mixtures starts transformation
- Conditioning: Beer is cooled to encourage spent yeast to drop to bottom of tank
- Filtering and Packaging: Some beers are strained before being placed in bottles and drinking
To clarify I am not going to jump right into some high level brewing. I have friends who do this and I know that would be a terrible idea. I am going to hunt down a starter kit, that should have step by step directions and will dumb down the ingredients. I am certainly not going to roast my own malt, I see flames of destruction.