Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
He was a wise man who invented beer.
The first step in making beer involves combining barley and water in a
process called malting. Here is how the process of malting works: Barley
is composed of germ, endosperm, and a layer of bran. The living part of
the barley, the germ, lies dormant until it is planted or comes in contact
with water. Once the germ comes in contact with water, it germinates and
begins growing. The starch in the endosperm provides the nourishment
needed for the germ; however, the germ cannot digest the starch without
assistance. Therefore, it secretes an enzyme that breaks the starch into
simpler sugars, which can be digested more easily. Although barley is not
sweet, it has been discovered that barley which is soaked in water and
allowed to sprout, produces a sweet syrup. This is a result of barley's
natural germination process. It is this enzymatic conversion of barley
into fermentable sugars that is known as malting. The barley malting
process lasts for forty-eight hours.
After malting, the sprouted barley is then roasted. Roasting is a vital
step in the creation of beer's color and flavor. Adjusting the roasting
time, temperature, and amount of barley will cause variation in the beer's
color and flavor. A longer, higher roast produces a darker, more flavorful
barley, and a darker, more flavorful beer. A lower, shorter roast produces
a less flavorful beer.
The barley kernels are then ground into a grain mixture called a grist.
With blander beers, the barley is often mixed with other cereal grains,
such as corn, wheat, or rice to form the grist. The grist is then mixed
with hot water to form a mash. The purpose of mashing is to continue the
malting process where the germinating barley left off. This process allows
the enzymes contained in the grain to convert the starches of the mashed
grains into sugar. The sweet liquid solution created is called a wort.
Hops, dried flowers from the spice-like hops plant, are now added to the
wort to create a hopped wort. There are many varieties and forms of hops.
The hopped wort is brewed in a copper or stainless steel kettle, imparting
a unique aroma and cooked flavor into the wort. The liquid is now ready to
be converted into beer.
In order to understand how sweetened hopped wort is converted into an
alcoholic beverage, one must understand the fermentation process.
Fermentation is a process by which yeast converts sugar into carbon
dioxide and alcohol. In making beer, yeast converts the sweetened wort
into beer through fermentation. There are thousands of yeasts. The two
most popular fermenting yeasts are Saccharomyces cerevisiae (top
fermenting), which produces ales, and Saccharomyces uvarum (bottom
fermenting), which produces lager.
In major beer production the key to successful brewing is consistency and
uniformity. Additives and processing aids can provide the assistance
needed to deliver a consistent and uniform product, though not necessarily
a beer with more character. Over fifty-nine chemicals or additives are
legally permitted to be used as beer additives. Hydrogen peroxide, bromade,
or other alkalis can be used to accelerate malt germination. Natural
enzymes such as papain or bromelin (plant derived), or industrial enzymes
such as amylo-glucosidase or aspergillus niger, can supplement an enzyme
deficient mash to help break the starches into sugars. Papain or tannin
can assist in the removal of unwanted protein, delivering a clearer,
brighter beer. After brewing, natural clarifiers such as isinglass finings
(prepared from ground tropical fish - which include sturgeon, a non-kosher
fish), gelatin, silica gel, or poly-vinyl poly prolamine (PVPP) remove
dark particles from the beer. Caramel color may be added to darken the
beer, extra carbon dioxide for carbonation, or alginates for head
retention. Gelatin and isinglass clarifiers, are not used in domestic
finings is a traditional British beer clarifier that has been used for
centuries in the United Kingdom.
Traditional beers do not have added flavorings. Lemon flavored grain
beverages, beers with other fruit flavorings, and spices must be termed
"Flavored Beers." Such a product should be considered suspect,
any beer with added sugar is non-kosher (see sugar). It is best to avoid,
all together, flavored beers. Two new additions have recently emerged in
contemporary brewing, non alcoholic
beer and micro-breweries. The production of non alcoholic beer is similar
to regular beer with one additional step. After the wort is fermented, the
alcohol is distilled off through boiling or other distilling techniques.
The product that remains is non alcoholic beer.
In general, most of the raw ingredients and additives used in American,
Norweigian, and German beers are kasher. However, one BIG problem with
Beer is brewer's yeast. Most resources that detail the production of
brewer's yeast note that brewer's yeast is grown on hops. This, however,
is a little inaccurate. Hops is an herb. Yeast must grown on
carbohydrates. Brewer's yeast is usually grown on either blackstrap
molasses or beet sugar - a quick look at the label of a package of
brewer's yeast will tell you this.
Both blackstrap molasses and beet sugar are usually non-kosher (see
sugar). Therefore, most beers, unfortunately, are non-kosher. The one way
to insure that you have kosher beer is to make your own. This would
include culturing your own yeast. Several sites on the internet are
available to obtain the supplies for making your own beer (they include
yeast culture kits); and most beer making stores will have these supplies
as well. One site to visit for beer making supplies is: http://www.leeners.com.