WATER – The universal solvent, which makes up 85% to 95% of beer. The worlds most famous breweries are a direct result of their water supply.
MALT– A cereal grain that has been steeped, germinated and kiln dried. Malt contributes 100% of color and fermentable extract.
HOPS – Green cone like flowers that impart a degree of bitterness and aromatics to beer, as well as help to balance the sweetness of the malt. Originally used as a preservative for long voyages at sea.
YEAST – A unicellular fungus, which consumes the sugars from malt and produces alcohol, CO2 and more yeast. The two primary yeast classifications are Ale and Lager. Ale yeast ferments at warmer temperatures, rise to the top of the vessel when finished and produce a fuller, fruitier beer. Lager yeast ferments cooler and therefore takes longer, settles to the bottom when finished and produces a cleaner, crisper beer. There are exceptions to every rule, but these are general distinctions.
Mill – The malt is ground into grist (or meal), to increase the surface area of the grain and maximize the amount of extractable starches.
Strike – Also known as doughing in or mashing in, which is the act of combining hot water with the grist at a given temperature to begin the mash process.
Mash – The point at which natural enzymes convert the grain starches to fermentable sugars and non-fermentable carbohydrates (dextrins), as well as degrade haze-forming proteins. This process adds body, head retention and other characteristics to the beer.
Sparge/ Lauter – This step involves spraying the spent grain with hot water to retrieve the liquid malt sugar remaining in the grain husks, also known as wort.
Kettle Boil – The process of transferring the sweet wort to the brew kettle and boiling for 1-2 hours depending on the beer being made. During this time hops are added to create bitterness, flavor and then aroma.
Whirlpool – At the end of the boil, wort is set into a whirlpool, which forces coagulated proteins and vegetive matter from hops into the center of the kettle.
Floculation – Proteins and vegetive matter from hops continue to settle into the center of the kettle and remain once runoff is complete.
Heat Exchanger – The wort is then cooled to optimal fermentation temperature by running it through the heat exchanger. Oxygen is then dissolved into solution in order to revitalize the yeast and aide in reproduction.
Fermentation Tank – Yeast is added to the cooled wort at which point sugars are metabolized into alcohol and CO2.
Conditioning – When the sugars in the fermenting beer have been almost completely digested, the fermentation slows down and the yeast starts to settle to the bottom of the tank. At this stage, the beer is cooled to around freezing, which encourages settling of the yeast, and helps refine the flavor for a cleaner, smoother finished product.
Filtration – Filtration occurs when beer mechanically flows through layers of filter material, the two main techniques being surface filtration and cake filtration. Filters range from rough filters that remove much of the yeast and solids (e.g. hops, grain particles) left in the beer, to filters tight enough to strain color and body from the beer.
Carbonation – The dissolving of carbon dioxide through a ceramic stone into beer, at which point a desired level is reached for optimal enjoyment and dispensing.
Packaging – Putting the beer into the containers in which it will leave the brewery. Typically this means putting the beer into bottles, aluminum cans and/or kegs.