The Beer Chronicles

All about beer

Beer Ingredients

with 3 comments

beer ingredientsBeer is a fermented hop flavored, malt sugared, liquid drink. Sounds simple? However the process of making beer and ingredients used are not. Because of the length of the content, I have broken down the post in two. In this post I would be talking about the ingredients of Beer and follow it up with a post that would discuss the process of making Beer.

Ingredients of beer

The basic ingredients of Beer are water, malt, hops, and yeast. They are discussed as below:

Water: The main ingredient in Beer is water and one needs to be very careful about the water, water source that is being used in producing Beer. It must be pure, with no trace of bacteria. This is very important because only then will it allow the other ingredients to release all their flavours. Usually the minerals present in the water available varies regionally, that is why the taste of beer also used to vary in olden day as per the regions. However today we can chemically adjust, to produce the desire flavour/variety of beer.

Barley: Beer is a grain based drink. Traditionally Barley has been the main grain ingredient which went in producing Beer. However today there are alternatives like rye, maize, rice and oatmeal. Barley being a cereal and since it can be preserved for a long time after harvesting, brewers preferred its use. It is the malted barley that gives beer its characteristic color and taste. Barley is malted before being used to brew beer. Malting is a process of bringing grain to its highest point of possible soluble starch content by allowing it to sprout roots/germinate.

Hops: Humulus lupuluare is a flowering plant. Flowers of this plant are used to add flavor and aroma to balance the sweetness of the malt. They are generally dried before use. The variety of hops used, will leave its own distinct flavor\aroma.

Yeasts: To convert the sugars that are extracted from grains, into alcohol and carbon dioxide, yeast is used. Different types of Beer yeast help to give Beer its various tastes. Nowadays there are two main varieties of yeasts that are used in brewing, saccharomyces cerevisiae and saccharomyces carlsbergensis.

Certain other products are also used in the making of beer, in particular spices: Coriander, Ginger, Cloves, Sage, Fennel, Mustard seeds, Aniseed, Cinnamon etc.

So, this is all about ingredients used in beer making. In next post I shall discuss about the beer making process.

Stay tuned!


Written by admin

April 20, 2011 at 8:09 pm

3 Responses

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  1. […] thus prevents a lot of infections. Hops are added during this stage of boiling.As I mentioned in my earlier post, hops are used to add flavor and aroma to balance the sweetness of the […]

  2. Great! You know what it made me think? The section on yeast: I’d love to see a really in-depth article just about the yeast. I remember a while back, I read that one American microbrewery claimed to have “brought back yeast from Duesseldorf” for their Altbier, and I wondered if that was bunk or what. Do breweries really have their own strains of yeast, to impart unique flavors? Man, if you do a write-up on something like that, I’d just make my day.


    April 27, 2011 at 9:32 am

  3. @Sean: We would love to do a detailed article on Yeast, however to answer your query, yes some breweries do have their own strain of yeast and they prefer to use it over the mass market produce. We are also trying to get the same strain that we use in Belgium for our plant in Goa, India. The same strain of Yeast is being used for over a 100 years and whenever we need a new batch we just use our old sample to produce it. However as Yeast is a very volatile and fragile ingredient we have to be very careful that we do not contaminate it in any manner. Hence it is kept under perfect conditions at the University lab. We are planning to so the same here too.


    April 27, 2011 at 6:20 pm

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