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  General Beer Information


Beer is an alcoholic beverage that is fermented and brewed from barley, corn, hops, water and yeast. The beer brewing process begins with pure water, corn and malted barley. The corn and malted barley are cooked to create a mash. The wort is trans- ferred to the brew kettles, where it is boiled, and hops are added. Yeast, which converts sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide, and sterile air are added next. and the wort moves to fermentation tanks. Two different types of yeast can be used - bottom and top. Bottom yeast settles to the bottom of the tank after converting all of the sugar and the resulting beer is Lager. Top yeast rises to the top of the tank when it's done with the sugar, and the beer it produces is Ale.

LAGER: The term is derived from a German word that means to store or to stock. It refers to the long period of layering, wherein the beer is stored in cellars to undergo the slow second fermentation. The aging of a better lager will last for several months, most domestics see little more than a week of cellar time. Lagers are generally pale gold in color, light in body and flavored with a medium to light hop taste. The term pilsner and lager are used interchangeably throughout most of the world today.

Alcohol Content: Usually 3.0 to 3.8

FACT: In the United States malt beverages with an alcohol content higher than 5 must be called Malt Liquor. Stout. Porter, or Ale. They cannot be labeled beer.

ALE: Ale is more vinous in nature, possesses a greater percentage of alcohol, it is more aromatic, more full bodied, and has a more pronounced hop flavor and tartness.

Brown Ale: Brown ale is a traditional beer style in Britain, tawny in color and often very sweet.

Alcohol Content: Usually 4.0 to 5.0

STOUT: Stout is dark in color, (almost black) a rich malty flavor usually combined with a rather strong bitter hop taste and a high alcohol content. The dark color is attributed to the main ingredient of the beer, roasted barley Alcohol Content: Usually 5.0 to 6.5

FACT Stout usually has low to medium carbonation and is best served at temperatures above 45 degrees.

BOCK: Bock is a dark beer with a slightly sweet malt flavor and strong hop background, bock is brewed in the winter for consumption in the spring. True bock derives its color from the heat treatment given the barley in the malting process and may have as much as ten percent alcohol by weight. The style has seasonal associations, with the month of May (Maibock), and with Autumn, often labeled with a goat symbol. Bock means a male goat in various Germanic languages. Usually served best at room temperature or slightly chilled, (according to taste)

FACT: Many artificial bocks are produced today that are colored and flavored by a prepared syrup containing caramelized sugar.

OCTOBERFEST: Once brewed only for Autumn festivals (usually held in September) differs little from regular lager.

WEIS: White beer or wheat beer. This beers major market is in Germany, yet, was first developed in England. Made from wheat and barley malt, it has a distinctive sharp yeasty or bready aroma and a taste by itself. Hence it is usually served with a slice of lemon or fruit syrup, whereupon it becomes more like a lightly flavored, pleasant effervescent liqueur. It is white col- ored and cloudy with a rich foam.

PORTER: Porter is made with charcoal or colored malt and is a dark brown, heavy-bodied malty flavored brew with a slightly sweet taste and a less pronounced hop flavor than ale. Alcohol Content: Usually about 5.0%

Terms for Tasting

Acidic - having a taste of acid. A predominance of sourness.

Aftertaste - a palate sensation that occurs after the beer has been swallowed.

Aroma - fragrance, usually in a pleasant sense: applied to a beverage, it is the component of the odor that derives from the ingredients of the beverage. As opposed to the boquet which is the result of by-products from the fermentation process.

Balance - the texture of a beer concerned with the harmony of various flavors and sensations.

Barley - a cereal grass with bearded spikes of flowers, and its seed or grain. Barley is the most suitable cereal grain for making malt beverages: It provides flavor, head, body and color.

Bitter - the tangy or sharp taste in beer that results from hops; without the bitterness a beer has no zest, with too much bitterness it is hard and biting.

Body - the mouth-filling property of a beer. Taken at it's extreme, stout has a heavy or full body. Pale low-calorie beer may be thin or watery.

Calorie - the unit of heat needed to raise a kilogram of water one degree Celsius: human-body intake and energy expenditure are measured in calories. A twelve-ounce portion of beer has some 150 calories.

Enzyme - an organic substance that converts starch into soluble substances such as sugars.

Fermentation - the breakdown of complex molecules in organic compounds caused by the action of a ferment (such as yeast). In malt beverages, it is the decomposition of sugar into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide. Finish - that part of the palate sensation that occurs just before and during swallowing.

Hops - the dried ripe cones of the female flowers of a climbing-vine of the nettle family. The resin or extract from the cones is used for bittering and preserving beer.

Malt - barley that has been steeped in water to produce sprouting then kiln-dried.

Pasteurize - to subject to a temperature of 142 - 145 degrees Farenheit for thirty minutes to destroy disease-producing bacteria and to check fermentation.

Skunky - like the peculiar aroma of a skunk. A beer may smell and taste of skunk. A defect found usually in well-hopped beers and caused, it is believed, by photosynthesis.

Vinous - winy, winelike, fruited in a fermented sense.

Yeast - the ferment or fermenting agent, which turns the wort into beer. In particular, in beer making the yeast is the strain Saccharomyces cervisiae, or Brewer's yeast.

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