What’s beer and how it’s made


Beer is very tasty. No doubt about that. It contains a lot of flavour. Beer usually is a low alcoholic beverage consisting of water, malt, hop and yeast. However, beer can be brewed with more ingredients.

Beer is a very old beverage, approximately 5000 year. Traces of beer have been found in the old Mesopotamia, now Iraq. This is where they baked bread and when this bread was steeped in water, it turned into beer. Wild yeast consumed the sugars and produced it into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Beer is produced with the use of a recipe and it can contain all sorts of flavours and aromas. When beer is brewed, malted grains are heated in water, creating wort. Wort is packed with an enormous amount of sugar which are mixed with water. Harmful bacteria are made harmless by boiling water with hop. After the boiling phase, the beer is quickly cooled and the desired yeast is added. The yeast consumes the sugar and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide.

When more malted grains are used, more sugar will be in the wort. This causes the beer to have a higher alcohol percentage. The alcohol percentage is determined by the amount of malt and not the colour of malt.



What are the ingredients in beer?

Beer is made from water, malted and unmalted grains, yeast and hop. In addition, additives such as fruit, sugar, honey, herbs, and spices; sour orange peel, gale, common juniper, coriander, orange peel, however also coffee and chocolate. With these ingredients, the list of recipes can be endless.


The composition of beer depends on where the beer is brewed and where the water comes from. The composition of the brew water has a great influence on the flavour of beer. The reason for this is not the flavour of the water but the different minerals that can cause reactions during the brew process.


Grains are malted and dried or roasted after this process the grains can be called malt. Roasting the grain can take place at different temperatures. The higher the temperature, the darker the malt becomes. Barley, wheat, oats and rye are often used in the beer brewing process. However, buckwheat, spelt, corn and rice can also be used.


Beer is usually made with hops, this is used as a conservative and flavouring agent. There are three different kinds of hops;

  • Bitter hops
  • Aroma hops
  • Dual purpose hops

Bitter hops is added at the begin of the brewing process and gives beer its bitter flavour. Aroma hops is added at the end of the brewing process and gives beer its aroma flavour. Dual purpose hops can be added at different at different times.


To brew beer, different types of yeast can be used. There are four types of fermentation styles, namely;

  • Bottom fermenting (Pilsner and some Autumn Bocks)
  • Top fermenting (Blond, Double and Stouts)
  • Spontaneous fermenting (Lambic, Kriek, Gueuze)
  • Mixed fermenting (Flemish brown and Brettanomyces beers)

Yeast is a very important flavour factor in the brewing of beer.


Written by Arvid Bergström