Beer: Types, Descriptors, Creation
Beer is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermentation of grains.
Beer is typically 10 proof, meaning its alcoholic content is roughly 5%.
Types of Beer
Ales - Ales are a rich beer variant offering a wide array of flavors and colors: from bitters to milds, pales to ambers, there are also abbey ales, nut brown ales, and many more, including Blue Moon. They are top-fermented, brewed at cellar temperature, and generally have malty or fruity aromas.
Lagers - Lagers are bottom-fermented, and it generally takes several months at near-freezing temperatures to finish a brew. While the result is less complex than most ales, these beers offer a much sharper, crisper flavor, making them by far the world’s most popular brew. Lagers like Budweiser, Coors, and Miller are what most people think of when they think beer: pale, carbonated, and lightly hoppy.
Stouts & Porters - Stouts and porters are the darkest beers on the market. Both are nearly black, with thick, rich, malty flavours. The color and flavor in a porter comes from a variety of roasted malts mixed with other grains. Stouts are much the same, but with a more pronounced profile from barley. Perhaps the most famous example of a stout is Guinness.
Malts - Malt beers are darker, thicker, and sweeter than lagers or ales. Their flavors often have chocolatey or nutty notes. Popular malt liquors include Olde English and Colt 45.
Hops - Hops are perhaps the best-known ingredient in beer, providing flavor and aroma in a variety of differing degrees. The plant itself is a flowering vine (latin name: Humulus lupulus). In addition to bitterness, hops provide stability, citrus notes, zest, and spice to a brew.
Malt - There are many grains that can be used in beer — wheat, oats, rye, barley, and more. Malt, or malted barley, however, is generally the most-used grain in the fermentation process. Malting is the process where partial germination is used to convert starch from barley seeds into natural sugars. A rich variety of flavors and colors can be yielded from the malts chosen in the brewing process. Malts are also used for whisky making.
Germination - Germination is the process that seeds undergo when they first sprout into plants. In the malting process, barley seeds are allowed to partially germinate so that their resources and starch reserves are made available. During the early stage of germination, enzymes are created which convert the starch from the seeds into sugar. At this point in the malting process, germination is halted and the sugars are used for fermentation. If germination were to continue, plants would grow from the seeds and they would consume the sugar as energy for growth.
Fermentation - Fermentation is the process by which alcohol is developed from the ingredients in a brew. It is the same process that produces wine and spirits, with sugar being converted by living organisms (e.g., yeast, enzymes, etc.) into ethyl alcohol through their digestion process.
Full-bodied alcohol - A beer’s full-bodiedness is its weight and thickness in the mouth. The texture of a beer while drinking can be light, heavy, or anywhere in between, with fuller-bodied referring to richer, more complex flavor profiles.