General techniques of beer production

Beer is an alcoholic beverage made by brewing and fermentation from cereals, usually malted barley, as well as maize and flavoured with hops and the like for a slightly bitter taste. Beer is the most consumed alcoholic beverage in the world and the third most popular beverage after water and tea.

The manufacturing processes of beer essentially involves treatment of grains, malting or germination, mashing or extraction with water, filtration and fermentation. However, the advanced techniques have allowed brewers to produce beer in a more sophisticated and efficient way.

The raw materials for beer production generally include cereal (barley malt, rice or maize), hops, water, and yeast. Malted barley is the main ingredient, which, when milled and heated in water to extract its nutrients, provides a nourishing sugar and protein-rich solution named wort (pronounced as wert). It is an ideal medium in which yeast may grow and ferment. The malting process converts the starch in the cereal into fermentable sugar which is extracted from the malt during mashing.

Hops is added to the boiling wort as it was discovered that hops had anti -bacterial properties which preserved the wort and fermented beer, giving the beer a refreshing bitter taste.

Germination process is halted at desired malt quality, green brown malt is converted to stable, storable product, colour and flavour are also developed, enzymes are stabilized and preserved, and unwanted flavours are removed.

The mixture of milled malt, gelatinized adjunct and water is called mash. Mashing consists of mixing and heating the mash in the mash tun, and takes place through infusion, decoction or a combination of the two.

The objectives of mashing are solubilization and dissolution of grain components, breakdown of grain cell wall structure extraction and hydrolysis of starch, sugars, proteins and non-starch polysaccharides and fermentable sugar profile is established. This process producing a liquor called sweet wort.

Once the wort is cooled, it is oxygenated and blended with yeast on its way to the fermentor. The wort is then put in a fermentation vessel. Fermentation of the wort carried for 5-6 days at controlled temperature of 16ᵒC with the help of glycol.

During the fermentation, alcohol level is established, flavour profile of beer is established and carbonation level is established. At the end of fermentation, yeast flocculates and can be easily separated. The tanks are then rapidly cooled from 16ᵒC to - 2ᵒC with the help of glycol within 72 hrs.

Beer aging or conditioning is the final step in producing beer. Cold maturation temperatures will influence beer clarity.

The filtration takes place in a kieselguhr (diatomaceous earth) filter using frame, candle, or mesh filters. Spent kieselguhr can be used in farming, reprocessed, or as building material. Following filtration beer is stored in “bright beer tanks” and is ready for packaging in the bottling section.
General techniques of beer production

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