Beer is so common around the world that it is drunk by millions of people worldwide. However, a lot of the people drinking it might not be aware of what the actual process is for how beer is made. Let’s take a brief look at the history of beer brewing and how it is made today.
Ancient Beer Brewing started with the Chinese folk around the year 7000 BCE who brewed the first beer, but the beer brewing process that got recognition quickly was credited to the Sumerians Of Mesopotamia within 3500-3100 BCE.
Some scholars have said the finding of beer was found accidentally, others claim it was developed to be an intoxicant.
The creation of beer then made its way to Egypt, where they revamped their product by creating a lighter product which generated more popularity. With the increased popularity of wines; beer was thought to be a barbarian drink. The people they regarded as ‘barbarians’ were the Germans who are recognized to perfect the art of brewing.
Like modern porridge, their drink was thick. The straw was consequently developed by “Sumerians” or “BabyLoanians,” who is said to have done it, especially for their beer.
The Sumerians believed that beer was a divine gift from God meant to encourage joy and well-being. Mesopotamian beer manufacturing developed significantly and became more commercialized under Babylonian rule, as more laws were put in place.
Beer used to be considered a gift from the gods by the people of ancient Egypt. They valued it so much that they even created Tenant, a beer goddess. The most well-liked beer in Egypt had a honey flavor, and laborers were given it as a reward for their work and for medicinal purposes. Brewers were initially women, but men ultimately took over the trade.
The word for beer in ancient Egypt was zytum. As beer was so widely used in Egypt, Cleopatra VII imposed a charge on the beverage in order to decrease public intoxication and raise funds for her war against Rome.
Similar to the Greeks, the Romans thought beer to be a low-class beverage and chose strong wine instead of beer.
It was known that beer was unpopular because Sophocles referred to it as being unfavorable and advised against drinking it excessively. Emperor Julian wrote a poem in which he said that beer smelled like a goat whereas wine smelled like nectar.
Since 800 BCE, the Germans have been making beer. Later, Christian monks joined the trade, and brewing became a part of monastic life.
Additionally, the Germans had a daily beer ratio and had to consume beer as part of their diet. The German purity law went into effect in 1516, allowing for the lawful and regulated use of substances in brewing.
Once grains are collected, they are heated, dried, and cracked to isolate their enzymes
Malt is passed through a mill to be crushed to the correct size as this will affect the final taste. Too fine of a grind will leave incomplete extraction of starches.
Malt is mixed with hot water to create a mash. The hot water hydrates the malt to create a liquid called the ‘wort’ which becomes the body of the beer.
The temp of the mash is raised to halt enzymatic reactions to preserve the sugar profile of the wort.
As loose grain particles are filtered out by flowing the wort out of the lauter ton, it recirculates back over the grain bed to create a clearer wort.
The wort is proceeded to the kettle to boil, and the grain in the lauter is rinsed with the help of hot water to remove as much of the sugar remains.
Beer is cooked by adding hops known as a copper/brew kettle.
This stage involves reactions that are chemically triggered to release hops flavors and aromas. It also helps to reduce protein haze and flavor in the final product.
Tanks of various sizes are used for fermentation. The wort must be cooled first to ensure the proper functioning of the yeast, normally between 15-20 degree-centigrade.
Many brewers adopt primary fermentation, which takes three to five days since the yeast primarily converts sugar to alcohol and CO2.
Secondary Fermentation sometimes is used by smaller breweries as it takes 2 weeks or longer. The yeast works slower, as it conditions the beer and reabsorbs any undesired chemical byproducts.
This process is to ensure the beer is ready to be sold, it helps stabilize the flavor and aroma to ensure the taste is consistent. Beer, which is not conditioned properly, may taste sour.
Filtering is there to remove unwanted by-products that provide flavors and haze. Even though they will precipitate out eventually, filtering speeds up the process. The beer will then be put in a cask, container, or can.
The history of the beer brewing process is fascinating in how many countries it has originated from and how the different countries have composed their own beer unique to their country. It showcases how detailed the process was to enjoy a well-rounded beer!