Beer has been a popular drink across the world for many years. The beverage originated in Germany and consists of a five-stage process which can produce a large variety of different beers. The process of making beer can be thought of as a series of chemical engineering tasks that includes separation processes and biochemical reactions. These five stages of beer brewing are known as malting, mashing, brewing, fermenting, and maturation. The four most common ingredient used to make beer include water, barley, hops, and yeast.
Stage 1 : Malting
Malting is probably the most important stage in the beer making process, because it will greatly determine the style of the beer. This process converts the hydrophobic starch molecules in barley into hydrophilic sugar molecules that are water soluble.
It involves soaking the barley in water and letting it dry under cool temperatures for several days to germinate the seeds to the point at which they are about to sprout. Germination converts the starches into sugar to enable the plant to grow. The malt is then dried by heating it slowly, which is essential to the beer’s flavour. The spouting barley’s roots are removed and it is placed between rollers to be milled or crushed in a way that the sugars in the malt can dissolve in water during the mashing phase.
Stage 2 : Mashing
The crushed malt is then mashed by mixing it with water and heating it to high temperatures for several hours to further convert starches to sugars and dextrins. The mashing process is critical to the sweetness and alcohol content of beer and it produces a sweet liquid called wort.
Increasing the content of malt in a beer will increase its sweetness and alcohol content. The temperature of the mashing process, the amount of malt mashed and the mashing time will determine the type of beer. Heavy wort is used in making sweet beers with a high alcohol content, while light beers contain a lighter wort.
Once the malt has been mashed to wort, it is cooled and put through a fermentation process. The beer brewing process is continued in Part II.