That’s right, Tasty Beer Making Ingredients. Not that many, really… just malt, hops, yeast and water. That’s all it takes to make great tasting brew at home.
With the different kinds of malts, hops and yeasts, the number of brew styles is virtually infinite. Not to mention the same recipe will taste different if brewed under uber secret periods of time and different laboratory-precise controlled temperatures.
But if you understand the role of these ingredients in beer, it won’t be long before you find yourself sitting at your favorite micro-brewery
chugging sipping and ice cold refreshing one and thinking to yourself… “hey this one’s got centennial hops and a hint of chinook hops and light DME”
The first ingredient to know is the grains that make up the Malt. Believe it or not, beer used to be considered meal replacement food and it used to be that workers (more notoriously sailors) would drink it for energy… huh?… I’m still not sure how you get energy out of beer. Maybe they meant happiness and the true history of beer has been lost in translation?
The point here is that beer used to be thought of as liquid bread. The grains used to make beer can be wheat, barley, rice, oats, or rye and are considered to be the main ingredient of beer. Grains color your beer anywhere from clear pale yellowish all the way to dark brown (pretty much black).
What’s important to note on the type of malt you use or how much gravity will it yield and how fermentable will it be.
Once you figure that, then hops will make up the next ingredient to make up the flavor of the beer. Depending on how sweet the malt is and how malty you want your beer, you’ll decide how much to bitter your beer. You can bitter your beer by using hops with high AAUs or more hops with less AAUs. Typically high AAU hops are used for bittering, but I don’t limit myself to rule of thumbs.
In fact, I’ve brewed using hops with low AAUs to bitter and High AAUs as finishing hops…
Once you smell the hops once, you’ll instantly recognize it the next time you drink beer. This is probably the easiest ingredient to detect when trying out different beers. It definitely is my favorite. Most home brewers I know are hop heads…
Then comes the yeast. This ingredient gets little or no attention. For most, it’s just something that activates the fermenting process, but the yeast does actually contribute a lot to the end product.
If the malt you use is high in Gravity and you are looking to bring that down, then you’ll want to use yeast with high attenuation levels. Or maybe you want the opposite. In the end, the yeast will determine how light bodied or heavy bodied the beer turns out.
Last we have Rocky Mountain and Fiji Island quality water… Actually this doesn’t make a big difference until you turn to all-grain brewing where you have to use soft water with enough minerals for mashing.
The hard part about this is drinking enough beer and learning what kind of malt is used and then you can start cloning your own beers…