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What is Beer?

Beer is a beverage made by the fermentation of grain, just as wine is made by the fermentation of fruit. It is produced with malted cereal grains (wheat, barley, corn, etc.), hops and water that is fermented by adding yeast. Yeast eats sugar that produces carbon dioxide and alcohol. Alcohol levels can range from 2% to 15% alcohol by volume (ABV).

Beer is a complex drink that can take on thousands of interpretations but its popularity is undeniable as it currently sits as the third most popular drink in the world, after water and tea.


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The Brewing Process

1

Water

Pure water is essential to good beer – and brewers pay scrupulous attention to the source and purification of their brewing water. The water used in brewing is purified to rigidly set standards. 
2

Malt

To make malt, grain is first allowed to germinate. It’s then dried in a kiln or often roasted. This germination process creates enzymes that convert the grain’s starch into sugar. Depending on how long the roasting process takes, the malt will darken in colour.
3

Mashing

Now malt is added to heated, purified water and, through a carefully controlled time and temperature process. The mashing takes place in a large round tank called a "mash mier" or "mash tun", and requires careful temperature control. 
4

Lautering

The mash is transferred to a straining or "lautering" vessel, usually cylindrical, with a slotted false bottom two to five cm above the true bottom. The liquid extract drains through the false bottom and is run off to the brew kettle. This extract, a sugar solution called "wort", is not yet beer.
5

Boiling & Hopping

Boiling takes place in a huge cauldron-like brew kettle that holds up to 1,000 hectolitres under carefully controlled conditions. The process to obtain the desired extract from the hops usually takes about two hours. The hop resins contribute flavour, aroma and bitterness to the brew. Once the hops have flavoured the brew, they are removed. 
6

Hop Separation & Cooling

After the beer has taken on the flavour of the hops, the wort then goes to the hot wort tank. It’s then cooled, usually in an apparatus called a plate cooler. As the wort and a coolant flow past each other on opposite sides of stainless steel plates, the temperature of the wort drops from boiling to about 50°F to 60°F in a few seconds.
7

Fermentation

Tthe yeast breaks down the sugar in the wort to carbon dioxide and alcohol. It’s also where a lot of the vital flavour occurs. During fermentation, which lasts about seven to 10 days, the yeast multiplies until a creamy, frothy head appears on top of the brew. When the fermentation is over, the yeast is removed. At last, we have beer!
8

Cellars

For one to three weeks, the beer is stored cold and then filtered once or twice before it’s ready for bottling or "racking" into kegs.
9

Packaging

In the bottleshop, machines can fill up to 1,200 bottles per minute. A "crowning" machine integrated with the filler, places caps on the bottles. Emerging from the pasteurizer, the bottles are inspected, labelled, placed in boxes, stacked on pallets and carried by a lift-truck to the warehousing areas to await shipment.

Types of Beer

Brewed with top fermenting yeast at cellar temperature, ales are fuller-bodied, with nuances of fruit or spice and a pleasantly hoppy finish. Generally robust and complex with a variety of fruit and malt aromas, ales come in many varieties. 


Ales are often darker than lagers, ranging from rich gold to reddish amber. Top fermenting, and more hops in the wort gives these beers a distinctive fruitfulness, acidity and pleasantly bitter seasoning. Ales have a more assertive, individual personality than lager, though their alcoholic strength is the same.

Lager originates from the German word lagern which means 'to store' – it refers to the method of storing it for several months in near-freezing temperatures. Crisp and refreshing with a smooth finish from longer aging, lagers are the world's most popular beer (this includes pilseners).


A lager, which can range from sweet to bitter and pale to black, is usually used to describe bottom-fermented brews of Dutch, German, and Czech styles. Most, however, are a pale to medium colour, have high carbonation, and a medium to high hop flavour.

There’s very little distinction between a Porter and a Stout, but they do have their differences.


Porter is a dark, almost black, fruity-dry, top fermenting style. An ale, porter is brewed with a combination of roasted malt to impart flavour, colour and aroma. Stout is also a black, roast brew made by top fermentation.


Stout, not as sweet to the taste, features a rich, creamy head and is flavoured and coloured by barley. Stouts often use a portion of unmalted roasted barley to develop a dark, slightly astringent, coffee-like character.

Generally dark and sweeter in flavour, malts contain hints of caramel, toffee, and nuts. They can be light to full bodied.

Beer Styles

A very versatile beer, Amber beers are full bodied malt aromas with hints of caramel, these beers could be either lager or ale.

Blonde ales are very pale in colour and tend to be clear, crisp, and dry, with low-to-medium bitterness and aroma from hops and some sweetness from malt.

Dark amber or brown in colour, brown ale have evidence of caramel and chocolate flavours and may have a slight citrus accent or be strong, malty or nutty, depending on the area of brewing.

A very mild, sweetish, golden style of ale.

Dark ale is a British type beer, combining hops, yeast and a blend of malts. It's a medium chestnut brown colour, with a delicate fruity smell and robust, malty character.

Most fruit beers are ales however, they typically do not carry an ale character. In order to allow for the fruit flavor to come through nicely, the malt’s flavor is not dominant and there is a low bitterness level to the beer.

First developed in the UK, Golden ales are straw coloured with a slight hint of citrus and vanilla. The beer can sometimes contain spicier flavours.

A full-bodied beer with a creamy texture and copper colour. Honey beers are slightly sweet with hints of caramel.

Extremely light in colour and mild in flavour. Light beer has fewer calories and/or lower alcohol content.

Pale ale has a fruity, copper-coloured styler. It originiated from England. Pale ales are robust beers that can be enjoyed with strongly spiced foods.

This is a broad grouping that can describe any beer over 7% ABV. Strong beers are typically dark in colour, some are almost black. Different styles can include old ales, double IPAs, and barleywines.

Light and easy to drink with very little aftertaste. Wheat provides a soft character to beer and is sometimes hazy or cloudy with a touch of spice notes.

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