Whether you like enjoying a beer on a hot weekend, afternoon, or hate the taste of alcoholic drinks. There’s actually a ton of science that goes into creating it. Science may be the last thing on your mind when enjoying a cold one, but it’s always good to know just what youre enjoying was made of. Science contributes to the type of beer, the different flavors, and how it made with alcohol.
For more information regarding chemistry and the general science of beer brewing feel free to check our Chemistry of beer- Overview of brewing.
The Beer Ingredients
The main ingredients in any beer are water, malted grains, hops, and yeast. Hops are the flowers of the hop plant which are used for flavoring. The only other uses of hops are in herbal medicine. With these four ingredients, you have everything you need to make beer but the combinations in the processes make all the difference. All of these ingredients are boiled together for set amounts of time until the final mixture is filtered and sent to fermentation.
Mineral content in your water source can make a huge difference to the type of beer that you brew. Calcium and magnesium in your water otherwise referred to as hardness affect how the yeast grows and metabolizes.
Hops and Yeast
Hops in beer are the main driver behind modern beer and without them, our beer wouldn’t be so enjoyable. Hops act as a surrogate that allows bubbles to be trapped in the head of the beer. If they are not added to the water they would have much less surface tension resulting in no head and a bitter taste. Hops can provide certain flavor notes to the beer but their main effect is in stabilizing the beer.
Yeast is the most important element. These little cells seek out glucose molecules. The yeast converts the glucose into ethanol and carbon dioxide which is the carbonation. During the fermentation process, certain molecules can have different effects on the final flavor of the beer. Factors that can influence the fermentation in alcohol content are:
- Mineral content
- Pitch rate of the yeast
- Length of the fermentation process
Brewers closely control all of these variables to get flavors that they want out of the final brew.
Different types of Beers
Budweiser is a pilsner malt meaning a light golden beer with a sweet hint in medium amount of hops.
Guinness is a darker beer that has dark roasted malted grains that give the color and lightly roasted malt that provide sugar for fermentation.
Rodenbach has lighter roasted malts and wheat with low to medium hops. They use wild yeast with spontaneous mixed cultures to ferment this beer.
There’s no reason to store beer for long periods of time like other alcohol. The flavor profile in beer is already completed at the time of brewing. In fact, most beers have an expiration date of within a year or even shorter if natural carbonation is used. Cheers.