What are the 4 main ingredients in beer?

WATER

The beer is actually water. The water content of each region is different. As a result, beers from different regions gained regional character.


For example, Dublin has hard water well suited to making Stout, while Pilzen has soft water well suited to making Pale Lager and Pilsners.


Burton’s waters in England contain gypsum, which caused pale ale brewers to add gypsum to the local water to achieve beer of the same character.

MALT

The starch source in a beer provides the fermentable material and is a key determinant of the strength and flavor of the beer. The most common starch source used in beer is malt. Grain is soaking in water, allowing it to begin germination, and then drying the germinated grain in a kiln.

Malting grain produces enzymes that convert starches in the grain into fermentable sugars. Different roasting times and temperatures are used to produce different colors of malt from the same grain. Darker malts will produce darker beers.

All beer includes barley malt as the majority of the starch. Malt’s fibrous shell, which also facilitates the conversion of starch to sugar. Besides malt, any sugar-containing food can be used in brewing, even potatoes!

To keep it simple, malt is the sugar source in the brewing process.

HOPS

Flavoring beer is the sole major commercial use of hops. The flower of the hop vine uses as a flavoring and preservative agent in all beer made today. The flowers themselves are often called “hops”.

Hops contribute a bitterness that balances the sweetness of the malt. The bitterness of beers is measured on the International Bitterness Units scale (IBU).

Get more detailed information about IBUs here.

Hops contribute floral, citrus, and herbal aromas and flavors to a beer. Hops have an antibiotic effect that favors the activity of brewer’s yeast over less desirable microorganisms. Hops aids in “head retention”, the length of time that a foamy head created by carbonation will last. The acidity of hops is a preservative.


Hops are the natural preservative in beer and no other preservative is added. Hops also influence the aroma, flavor, and bitterness of the beer.

Get more detailed information about IBUs here.

YEAST

Yeast is a living organism that converts sugar to alcohol. Yeast strains can be used for many generations. One strain of yeast can be used many times within the brewery when brewing different batches of beer.


Many beers contain ‘neutral yeasts’, which do not influence or enhance the flavor of the beer. But in Hefeweizen, the yeast creates the lolly banana and clove flavor that you smell and taste.

Get more detailed information about yeast here.

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