Barley + Hops + Yeast + Water = Beer
While having the right ingredients is an integral part of brewing beer, the actual process is a bit more complex. Read on to learn more about how beer is made:
Once the grains (usually barley or wheat) have been harvested, they go through a process called malting. This process, heats, dries out and cracks the grains and isolates the enzymes needed for brewing.
The malted grains then go through a process called mashing. During this stage the grains are soaked in hot (but not boiling!) water for about an hour. This causes the enzymes from the grains to react in a way that releases sugars, so when it is drained the water still contains all of the sugars. This water is called wort.
Next, the wort is boiled while hops and other spices are added.
Once the water is boiled for about an hour, it is moved to a fermentation vessel. In this vessel, yeast is added. For ales, the yeast and water are left to sit for a few weeks at about room temperature and for lagers, they are left to sit in the cold for many weeks. During this time, the yeast soaks up all of the sugars from the wort and produces C02 and alcohol waste.
Bottling & Aging
You technically have beer at the end of step 4, but it is flat and noncarbonated. So, when beer is bottled, canned or kegged it is either artificially carbonated or allowed to sit and produce natural carbonation. The longer a beer sits, the more natural carbonation there will be.