How is Beer Made?

Beer dates back to the earliest recorded times. It is an alcoholic beverage where sugars from barley, wheat, other grains or rice is used to produce sugars which combined with yeast ferment to produce alcohol. Flavored with different hops and variations in brewing techniques, beer is as unique and distinctive a beverage as any.

Beer enthusiasts can enjoy and participate in the process through Home Brewing.

Over the last 70 years, the beer industry has grown and changed considerably, many collect Beer Cans and Brewery Memorabila.

While other beer fans go for the in-home bar setup complete with state of the art beer gear.

How is Beer Made?

Most beers are made from malted barley. Barley is a type of grain which is then soaked in water allowing it to begin to germinate. It is then quickly dried out producing malt which can then be crushed and mixed providing beer with its distinctive flavor.

Other grains such as wheat and rye as well as rice can be used with each having a unique flavor.

Hops are used for flavoring, often adding a bitter taste.

Yeast, when mixed with the natural sugars from the malted barley, causes fermentation which produces alcohol.

Different types of yeasts produce different types of beer. Dark, stout beers often use yeast that floats to the top and forms a thick layer on top of the beer. Whereas certain lagers are produced using a yeast which ferments at lower temperatures and settles to the bottom.

Water is the final, and many times, critical ingredient.

How is light beer made?

Beer Brewers discovered that if they used certain enzymes, they increase the amount of fermentation that occurs. Specifically, one enzyme would convert more starch from carbohydrates into alcohol. This allowed them to use ‘lower carb’ based malts and grain ingredients.

Another enzyme went even further in this conversion producing a higher alcohol content which allows them to, yes, add more water and still maintain the same alcohol level.

So, light beer is made by increasing the amount of starch that gets converted into alcohol by introducing more and different enzymes which then allows the brewer to reduce calories through different grains or by adding more water to balance the extra alcohol.


For America’s favorite Beer Magazine, Draft, click here!

More Sites To Get You Started:

Read about the Craft Brewers Conference in Chicago on our April Hobby Ideas page.

For basic start-up information and all equipment needed, visit Beer & Wine Making.

Visit New Jersey’s Premier Hands-on Microbrewery, located inside Grape Beginnings Winery in historic Freehold, NJ. For information, call 732-431-BEER

Beer Types

Ale: Usually a dark gold to reddish in color, more fruity flavored, beer made from top-fermenting yeasts which is yeast rises to the top of the beer vats during fermentation.

Draught Beer: Any beer served from a keg. Usually contains less carbonation than bottled beer so it tastes slightly different and usually better.

Dry Beer: Usually golden in color, this beer has little or no after taste since most of the sugars are converted into alcohol during fermentation.

Lager: Most popular type of beer based on using bottom-fermenting yeasts where the yeast settles to the bottom. Light in color and often highly carbonated.

Ice Beers: During the brewing process, the beer is reduced in temperature until the point where it begins to crystalize in ice. These ice crystals are then removed, thereby removing extra water, leaving behind a higher alcohol level.

Malt: By-product of grains after first soaking them in water starting the germination process, then drying out producing a powdery substance.

Mash: Mixing malt with water, then raising it to boiling tempertures begins to turn the starches into sugars that will be used in fermentation.

Stout: Dark beers usually from roasted malts.


Beer Can Terms

Flat Top: Similar to today’s beer can shape. The All-American Beer can is an example.

Crowntainer: The Schmidt’s Beer shows an example of a crowntainer. Notice the bottle cap top and how the can top has a gradually reducing neck.

Cone Top: Type of Can with a top shaped like a … yes, you guessed it a Cone. The Atlantic Beer can above shows that it looks like a cross between the flat top and the crown.