This week we wanted to take some time to talk about what goes into our brews. The biggest ingredient (besides the water) is grain with hundreds of pounds going into each batch. There are many types of grains used in brewing from rye to oats, though the main ingredient is barley.
Most of the barley we use undergoes a process called malting. Malting is important because it allows the brewer to extract sugars from the grain that will later be converted in CO2 and alcohol by the yeast.
Barley kernels have a ton of starch in them which the plant can use to fuel its reproduction. The starch in barley is too big for the yeast cells to eat so it must be modified before we can extract usable sugars. Luckily barley naturally creates an enzyme during germination that breaks the starches down into smaller pieces which the brewer and yeast are happy with.
The key to the malting process is to “trick” the barley into germination to release the enzyme and then to stop the process in a kiln before it consumes all of the fuel. Depending on the temperature and duration of the kilning process malt color and flavor will vary.
Tune in for the rest of the week as we talk about the different malts we use in house:
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