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A brewer makes many choices throughout the brewing process about how is beer made

How to Drink Better: Beers are flavoured with everything from chocolate to raspberries

Q. How is beer made?

A. There are four basic ingredients used to make beer; water, grains (usually malted barley), hops and yeast. As with wine, beer is made by fermenting sugars into alcohol. Instead of grapes, brewers use malted barley.

First, barley grains (or wheat, oats or rye) are steeped, sprouted and dried in a kiln or roasted at a malting house. On arrival at the brewery, they are cracked open in a grist mill and then added, with some water, to a container known as a mash tun. Here they are heated to convert the starches into sugar and create a rich sweet liquid known as a wort. This takes an hour or two. The wort is then separated from the spent grain and heated again. Hops are added at this stage to give beer its characteristic flavour and bitterness, followed by yeast. The wort then ferments into beer, finishing when the sugars have all been used up.

Once the fermentation is finished the beer is matured for a period in tanks or barrels and then bottled or put into casks.


This is a simple explanation of the process. A brewer makes many choices throughout the brewing process. For instance, the kind of grain, strain of yeast, the variety of hops, the fermentation temperature and many other factors make beer into the wonderful complex drink that we enjoy today. And then of course many beers are flavoured with everything from chocolate to raspberries. These are added during fermentation.