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Beer Brewing And The History
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Beer Brewing And The History

Exactly when humans first began making alcoholic beverages such as beer is not known with any amount of certainty. However, a major turning point in human history was the transition from a foraging and collecting society to a productive, agrarian one.

This gradual transition happened very early (ca. 9000-7000 BC) in the Near East and the Fertile Crescent and the rest of the world followed. As a result, many historians are inclined to give credit the history of beer and brewing as starting with the Sumerians because of ancient records that tell of a prehistoric Eurasian cereal grains cultivated by the civilization at the time. It has been assumed that beer may have been brewing many years before then, primarily by the Chinese.

The historic grain, called emmer, is commonly thought to have been involved in the birth of beer. Horst Dornbusch, noted beer author, relays a familiar anecdotal story about some bread that was left out and got wet and was forgotten about for several weeks. The resulting pooled liquid that collected beside it was pale, semi-bitter, only slightly bubbly, and produced “god-like effects” when consumed orally. Thus the history of beer and brewing had begun and the birth of beer was bestowed on man. Such a story cannot be verified, of course, but it is easy to image that such a thing could have happened.

The origins of beer soon led to a standardization of the practice of brewing, and there are not many who have brewed with more efficiency and structure than the Germans. The German Beer Institute (GBI) online notes that Germans have been brewing ales for at least three thousand years, traditional dark lagers for about five centuries, and the blond, crisp, clean lagers - for which they have become so famous - for only a little under 150 years. Pilsners, however, are only in their infancy, started under half a century ago.

Beer is made from four main ingredients – water, yeast, malt, and hops. Malt is made from barley. Barley goes through the process of germination whereby the grain is moistened with water, causing it to sprout and form malt.

After the germination process, the malt goes through a screening where the dried sprouts are then removed. The malt is then ground, put into a large heated tub, and mashed. Water is then added to the mixture and cooked to a specific temperature.

The mash is then pumped into circular copper or stainless steel containers that have slotted bottoms and multiple stirring rakes. The solid items settle on the bottom of the containers which causes a filter, after the stirring has finished. This filter is what labels beer as a bottom-fermented brew, due to the fact that the heavier items sink to the bottom.

The remaining liquid is now referred to as the wort. The wort will continue to flow through the filter of solid items into a brewing kettle, where the hops will be added. The hops and the wort are then boiled for two hours before the wort is strained, and the hops are then removed. The wort turns a darker shade during the boiling process.

The wort is then cooled before it is moved to a fermenting vat where it is mixed with the yeast. After fermentation, the beer is run into glass-lined vats and kept for one to two months at near freezing temperatures. Carbonation is then added to the beer to make it effervescent. The beer is refrigerated, passed through a pressurized filter, and then packaged before being shipped to the markets.  


Street Talk

I've been an amateur brewer for a few years now, although I'm pretty inactive right now. Reading stuff like this makes me want to brew up a batch, though... Or maybe I'll just crack open a craft beer that's already brewed instead. :) Nice article.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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