As almost any cereal containing certain sugars can undergo spontaneous fermentation due to wild yeasts in the air, it is possible that beer-like beverages were independently developed throughout the world soon after a tribe or culture had domesticated cereal. Chemical tests of ancient pottery jars reveal that beer was produced about 7,000 years ago in what is today Iran, and was one of the first-known biological engineering tasks where the biological process of fermentation is used in a process.
In Mesopotamia, the oldest evidence of beer is believed to be a 6,000-year-old Sumerian tablet depicting people drinking a beverage through reedstraws from a communal bowl. A 3900-year-old Sumerian poem honoring Ninkasi, the patron goddess of brewing, contains the oldest surviving beer recipe, describing the production of beer from barley via bread.
The relationship between alcohol consumption and health has been the subject of formal scientific research since at least 1926, when Dr. Raymond Pearl published his book, Alcohol and Longevity, in which he reported his finding that drinking alcohol in moderation was associated with greater longevity than either abstaining or drinking heavily. Subsequently, various studies have examined the health effects of different degrees of alcoholic beverage consumption (Blackwelder et al., Ellison, Hennekens, Rimm et al., Rogers, Trevisan et al.). While it is widely recognized that alcoholism has negative health effects, moderate consumption, frequently defined as the consumption of 1-4 alcoholic drinks in a day (depending on the age and gender of the subjects) has been found to have a positive effect on longevity (Camargo et al., Yuan et al., Coate, Doll & Peto, Klatsky). See Alcoholic beverages — recommended maximum intake for a list of governments' guidances on alcohol intake which, for a man, range from two to six drinks per day.
A number of independent peer-reviewed studies in modern medical literature support the finding that moderate alcohol consumption is associated with benefits in longevity because of reductions in coronary heart disease, stroke, and some other diseases (Dairdron et al.; Ely & Berne; Facchini et al.; Langer et al.; Mennen et al,; Paassilta et al.; Rimm et al.; Thun et al,; Wang & Barker; Zhang et al.). Proposed mechanisms of these benefits include the effect of alcohol on cholesterol levels, insulin activity, blood pressure, and the chemistry of blood clotting. Frequently, such studies qualify these findings with admonitions against heavy alcohol consumption or abuse, due to the negative health effects often associated with this behavior.
Hops are a flavouring and stability agent in beer. The first documented use in beer is from the eleventh century. Hops comes from the flowers of Humulus lupulus, and contain several characteristics very favorable to beer:
hops contribute a bitterness that balances the sweetness of the malt,
hops also contribute aromas which range from flowery to citrus to herbal and,
hops have an antibiotic effect that favours the activity of brewer's yeast over less desirable microorganisms.
While hop plants are grown by farmers all around the world in many different varieties, there is no major commercial use for hops other than in beer. Today, the principal production centers for the UK are in Kent (which produces Kent Golding hops) and Worcestershire. Other important production areas include the state of Washington in the USA, Belgium, Germany, and the Czech Republic.
Brewing is the production of alcoholic beverages and alcohol fuel through fermentation. The term is used for the production of beer, although the word "brewing" is also used to describe the fermentation process used to create wine and mead. It can also refer to the process of producing sake and soy sauce. "Brewing" is also sometimes used to refer to any chemical mixing process.
Brewing specifically refers to the process of steeping, such as with tea and water, and extraction, usually through heat. Wine and cider technically aren't brewed, rather vinted, as the entire fruit is pressed, and then the liquid extracted. Mead isn't technically brewed, as heating often isn't used in the mixing process, and the honey is used entirely, as opposed to being heated with water, and then discarded, as are hops and barley in beer, and or tea leaves for tea, and coffee beans for coffee. Spices could technically be brewed into a mead though.
Brewing has a very long history, and archeological evidence suggests that this technique was used in ancient Egypt. Descriptions of various beer recipes can be found in Sumerian writings, some of the oldest known writing of any sort.
Brettanomyces is a non-spore forming genus of yeast in the family Saccharomycetaceae, and is often colloquially referred to as "Brett". The genus name Dekkera is used interchangeably with Brettanomyces, as it describes the teleomorph or spore forming form of the yeast. The cellular morphology of the yeast can vary from ovoid to long "sausage" shaped cells. The yeast is acidogenic and when grown on glucose rich media produce large amounts of acetic acid. Brettanomyces is important to both the brewing and wine industries due to the sensory compounds it produces.
In most beer styles, Brettanomyces is viewed as a contaminant and the characteristics it imparts are considered unwelcome "off-flavours". However, in some styles -- particularly certain traditional Belgian ales -- it is appreciated and encouraged. Lambic and gueuze owe their unique flavour profiles to Brettanomyces.
The process of culturing yeast under conditions to produce alcohol is referred to as brewing. Brewing can only produce relatively dilute concentrations of ethanol in water; concentrated ethanol solutions are toxic to yeast. The most ethanol-tolerant strains of yeast can survive in up to about 25% ethanol (by volume).
Belgian beer comprises the most varied and numerous collection of beers in the world. Belgian beer-brewing's origins go back to the Middle Ages, when monasteries began producing beers. Unlike in other European countries, Belgian beer production remained alive due to the 1919 Belgian "Vandervelde Act", that prohibited the sale of spirits in pubs, inducing the market to produce beers with a higher level of alcohol. The Vandervelde Act was lifted as late as 1983.
High esteem of Belgian beer is supported by beer experts such as Michael Jackson. Although beer production in Belgium is now dominated by InBev (the world's largest brewer by volume) and Alken-Maes, there remain 125 breweries in the country, producing about 500 standard beers. When special one-off beer styles are included, the total number of types of Belgian beer exceeds 1000.
These days, Belgian beers are sold in brown (or sometimes dark green) tinted glass bottles (to avoid negative effects of light on the beverage) and sealed with a cork, a metal crown cap, or sometimes both. Some beers are refermented (subjected to a final fermentation phase) in the bottle. These are often labeled "bottle-conditioned." Although many major brands of beer are available at most supermarkets, beverage centers located throughout the country generally offer a far wider selection, albeit at somewhat higher prices.
Gruit (or sometimes grut) is an old fashioned herb mixture used for bittering and flavouring beer, before the extensive use of hops. Gruit or gruit ale may also refer to the beverage produced using gruit.
Gruit was a combination of herbs, some of the most common being mildly to moderately narcotic: sweet gale (Myrica gale), mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), heather (Calluna vulgaris) and Marsh Labrador Tea (Rhododendron tomentosum, formerly known as Ledum palustre). Gruit varied somewhat, each gruit producer adding additional herbs to produce unique tastes, flavours, and effects. Other adjunct herbs were juniper berries, ginger, caraway seed, aniseed, nutmeg, and cinnamon or even hops in variable proportions; many of these ingredients may have psychotropic properties too. Some gruit ingredients are known now to have preservative qualities.
Some traditional types of unhopped beers such as sahti in Finland, which is spiced with juniper berries,and twigs, have survived the advent of hops, although gruit itself hasn't.
The 1990s microbreweries movement in the USA and Europe has seen a renewed interest for unhopped beers and quite a few have tried their hand at reviving ales brewed with gruits, or plants that once were used in it. Notorious current commercial example would be, to name but a few, Fraoch (using heather flowers, sweet gale and ginger) and Alba (using pine twigs and spruce buds) from Williams Brothers in Scotland, Myrica (using sweet gale) from O'Hanlons in England, Gageleer (also using sweet gale) from Proefbrouwerij in Belgium, and the Cervoise from Lancelot in Brittanny (using a gruit containing heather flowers, spices and some hops).
Filtered beer is beer which has been cleaned of significant contact with yeast. There are several methods used for clearing yeast from beer.
Some methods involve filtration media such as sheets or candles, while others use a fine powder made of, for example, diatomaceous earth, also called kieselguhr, which is introduced into the beer and recirculated past screens to form a filtration bed.
Filters range from rough filters that remove much of the yeast and any solids (e.g. hops, grain particles) left in the beer, to filters tight enough to strain color and body from the beer. Normally used filtration ratings are divided into rough, fine and sterile. Rough filtration leaves some cloudiness in the beer, but it is noticeably clearer than unfiltered beer. Fine filtration gives a glass of beer that you could read a newspaper through, with no noticeable cloudiness. Finally, as its name implies, sterile filtration is fine enough that almost all microorganisms in the beer are removed during the filtration process.
Bocks have a long history of being brewed and drunk by Roman Catholic monks in Germany. During the Spring religious season of Lent, monks were required to fast.
In the twentieth century, bock beers gained an undeserved reputation (primarily in the United States) for being brewed from the dregs of previous brewings. This is impossible, as the "dregs" were not clearly defined and the leftovers from the brewing process are not fermentable. The rumour may have started because some brewers used inferior ingredients or a large quantity of adjuncts in their bocks.
Steam beer may be defined as a highly effervescent beer made by brewing lager yeasts at ale fermentation temperatures. It has two distinct but related meanings:
Historic steam beer, by all accounts bad-tasting, produced in California from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s;
Modern California Common beer, the official name for the beer family which includes Anchor Steam® beer.
Historic steam beer, associated with San Francisco and the U. S. West Coast, was brewed with lager yeast without the use of refrigeration. It was an improvised process, originating out of necessity, perhaps as early as the Gold Rush. It was considered a cheap and low-quality beer, as shown by references to it in literature of the 1890s and 1900s.
Modern steam beer, properly known in the brewing community as California Common beer, was originated by Anchor Brewing Company, which trademarked the name Anchor Steam® Beer in 1981. Although the modern company has corporate continuity with a small brewery which was still making traditional steam beer in the 1950s, Anchor Steam beer is a craft-brewed lager. The company does not claim any close similarity between it and turn-of-the-century steam beer.
Explanations of the word "steam" are all speculative. The carbon dioxide pressure produced by the process was very high, and one possibility is that it was necessary to let off "steam" before attempting to dispense the beer. According to the Anchor Brewing Company, the name "steam" came from the fact that the brewery had no way to effectively chill the boiling wort using traditional means. So they pumped the hot wort up to large, shallow, open-top bins on the roof of the brewery so that it would be rapidly chilled by the cool air blowing in off the Pacific Ocean. Thus while brewing, the brewery had a distinct cloud of steam around the roof let off by the wort as it cooled, hence the name.
Oktoberfest is a two-week festival held each year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany during late September and early October. It is one of the most famous events in the city and the world's largest fair, with some six million people attending every year.
The event traditionally takes place during the 16 days up to and including the first Sunday in October. The schedule was changed following German reunification in 1990 so that if the first October Sunday is the 1st or 2nd then the festival will go on until the October 3rd (German Unity Day). Thus, the festival is now 17 days when the 1st Sunday is October 2nd and 18 days when it is October 1st. The festival is held on an area named the Theresienwiese (Field [or meadow] of Therese), often called “d’ Wiesn” for short. Beer plays a central role in the fair, with every festival beginning with a keg of beer tapped by the Mayor of Munich who declares “O'zapft is!” (Bavarian: “It’s tapped!”). A special Oktoberfest beer is brewed for the occasion, which is slightly darker and stronger, in both taste and alcohol. It is served in a one-liter-tankard called Maß. The first mass is served to the Bavarian Minister-President. Only local Munich breweries are allowed to serve this beer in a Bierzelt, a beer tent which is large enough for thousands.
Ale is a type of beer brewed from maltedbarley using a top-fermentingbrewers' yeast. This yeast ferments the beer quickly, giving it a sweet, full bodied and fruity taste. Most ales contain hops, which impart a bitter herbal flavour that helps to balance the sweetness of the malt and preserve the beer. The other major style of beer is lager, which is bottom-fermented.
Ale typically takes 3 to 4 weeks to make, although some varieties can take as long as 4 months. The Sumerians are credited with discovering beer in approximately 3000 BCE. They made ales in a shorter time than we do now because they did not add any hops. Lagers take a lot longer than ales to make and tend to be less sweet.
Stout and porter are dark beers made using roasted malts or roast barley. There are a number of variations including Baltic porter, dry stout, and Imperial stout. The name Porter was first used in 1721 to describe a dark beer popular with street and river porters of London that had been made with roasted malts. This same beer later also became known as stout, though the word stout had been used as early as 1677. The history and development of stout and porter are intertwined.
Porter was first recorded as being made and sold in London in the 1730s. It became very popular in Great Britain and Ireland, and was responsible for the trend toward large regional breweries with tied pubs. With the advent of pale ale the popularity of dark beers decreased, apart from Ireland where the breweries of Guinness, Murphy's and Beamish grew in size with international interest in Irish (or dry) stout.
A Trappist beer is a beer brewed by or under control of Trappist monks. Of the World's Trappist monasteries, seven produce beer; six in Belgium and one in the Netherlands. These seven breweries are authorized to label their beers with the Authentic Trappist Product logo that indicates a compliance to various rules issued by the International Trappist Association.
The Trappists, like many other religious orders, brewed beer to fund their work, and monastery brewhouses existed all over Europe. Many of them were destroyed during the French Revolution and the World Wars. Among these monastic breweries, the Trappists were certainly the most active brewers. The growing popularity of Trappist beers drew some unscrupulous brewers with no connection to the order to label their beers as "Trappist". After some unsuccessful lawsuits, the order successfully sued one such brewer in 1962 in Ghent, Belgium.
In 1997, eight Trappist abbeys — six from Belgium, one from the Netherlands, and one from Germany — founded the International Trappist Association (ITA) to prevent non-Trappist commercial companies from abusing the Trappist name. This private association created a logo that is assigned to goods (cheese, beer, wine, etc.) that respect precise production criteria. There are currently seven breweries that are allowed to have their products wear the Authentic Trappist Product logo: Bières de Chimay, Orval Brewery, Rochefort Brewery, Westmalle Brewery, Westvleteren Brewery, Achel Brewery, and De Koningshoeven Brewery.
It is called a barley wine because it can be as strong as wine; but since it is made from grain rather than fruit, it is in fact a beer. In the United States barley wines are required for this reason to be called "barley wine-style ales." This is taken by some to imply that they are not truly barley wines; in fact it only means that they, like any barley wines, are not truly wines.
Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Japan, accounting for nearly two thirds of the 9 billion liters of alcohol consumed in 2006. Major brewers include Asahi, Kirin, and Sapporo, while small local breweries supply distinct tasting beers. Lager beers are most common, but beers made with lower grain contents called Happoushu (low malt beer, sparkling alcoholic drink) have captured a large part of the market due to lower taxes.
Japan has liberal laws in regards with the selling and consumption of alcohol. Beer can be purchased at a wide variety of outlets, including supermarkets, convenience stores, kiosks at train stations, and in vending machines. Some vending machines have motion activated advertising that play beer commercials and jingles on small TV screens embedded into them.
Australian beer is mostly now lager. Although Australia was settled predominantly by the British, it was found that, before the availability of modern temperature control systems, the brewing, distribution and storage of British style ale was difficult in many parts of Australia due to high summer temperatures and often sudden day-to-day weather changes in Southern parts of the continent. The introduction of refrigeration lent itself to lager production, as well as enabling beer to be served cold.
The majority of the large Australian breweries are now owned by the conglomerates Foster's Group and Lion Nathan. A notable exception is Coopers, which is the only large brewery that is still privately owned. Boutique brands of beer are fast becoming the flavour of the masses which is forcing the large brewhouses to change their ideas on what the drinkers want. Australia's numerous microbreweries are gaining decent market share.
Despite its heavy international presence, the so-called original Australian beer, Foster's Lager, has relatively low appeal throughout Australia.
Lager is a type of beer which was first brewed in Central Europe some 500 years ago, and has since become the most popular type of beer in the world. The word comes from German and means "storage". Traditionally, the beer is stored for several weeks or longer before being served. Lager is a general term that includes several variations or styles, such as Pilsener, Vienna and Märzen.
As the modern definition of lager relates only to the method of fermentation, lager beers' characteristics are quite varied.
The default lager encountered in worldwide production is light in color and usually represents the helles, pale lager or Pilsener styles. The flavor of these lighter lagers is usually mild and the producers often recommend that the beers be served refrigerated. However, the examples of lager beers produced worldwide vary greatly in flavor, color, and composition.
In color, while helles and pale lager represent the lightest lagers at as pale a color as 6 EBC, the darkest are Baltic porters which can be as dark as 400 EBC; darker German lagers are often referred to as Dunkel lagers.
The flavor of a lager can be quite simple, with the most mild being light lagers. The most complexly-flavored lagers are usually the darkest, although few lagers feature strong hop flavoring compared to an ale of similar alcohol by volume. In general, however, lagers display less fruitiness and spiciness than ales, simply because the lower fermentation temperatures associated with lager brewing cause the yeast to produce fewer of the esters and phenols associated with those flavors.
In strength, lagers represent some of the world's most alcoholic beers. The very strongest lagers often fall into the German-originated doppelbock style, with the strongest of these commercially produced, Samichlaus, reaching 14% ABV.
Fermentation is the process of deriving energy from the oxidation of organic compounds, such as carbohydrates, using an endogenous electron acceptor, which is usually an organic compound. This is in contrast to cellular respiration, where electrons are donated to an exogenous electron acceptor, such as oxygen, via an electron transport chain. Fermentation does not necessarily have to be carried out in an anaerobic environment, however. For example, even in the presence of abundant oxygen, yeast cells greatly prefer fermentation to oxidative phosphorylation, as long as sugars are readily available for consumption.
Fermentation, as a step in the brewing process, starts as soon as yeast is added to the cooled wort. This is also the point at which the product is first called beer. It is during this stage that sugars won from the malt are metabolized into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Fermentation tanks come in all sorts of forms, from enormous tanks which can look like storage silos, to five gallon glass carboys in a homebrewer's closet.
A wheat beer glass is a glass that is used to serve wheat beer, known also as Weizenbier or Weißbier. The German glass generally holds 0.5 litres with room for foam or "head". It is much taller than a pint glass, and is considerably wider at the top than at the base, with a slight hourglass taper toward the bottom. This design purportedly allows greater production of foam, as well as increased exposure to air when the glass is tilted back. In other countries such as Belgium, the glass may be 0.25 litres or 0.33 litres.
Because of its unique shape, extra care must be taken when pouring a beer into a wheat beer glass to produce the desired head volume. The traditional method of pouring Weißbier is to first rinse the glass with cold water, then, without drying the glass, hold the bottle and glass almost horizontally while slowly pouring the beer. When the level of the beer touches the lip of the bottle, slowly bring the glass upright. When there is less than one inch (or a few centimeters) of beer left in the bottle, swirl the bottle vigorously to pick up the sediment and create foam, which is poured on top. If done correctly, the foam should just crest the lip of the glass without pouring over.
Draught beer (also known as draft beer or tap beer) has several related though slightly different understandings. The majority of references to draught beer are of filtered beer that has been served from a pressurised container, such as a keg or a widget . A narrower meaning is beer that is served from a keg (or tap), but not from a can, bottle or cask, is also used. A more traditional definition is beer that is served from a large container, which could be either a keg or a cask. The different understandings may at times overlap and cause confusion. Some traditionalists object to the more modern use of the word when applied to canned beer. The slight usage differences of the term is due to the history and development of beer dispensing.
A public house, the formal name for a pub in Britain, is a drinking establishment licensed to serve alcoholic drinks for consumption on or off the premises in countries and regions of British influence. Although the terms often have different connotations, there is little definitive difference between pubs, bars, inns, taverns and lounges where alcohol is served commercially. A pub that offers lodging may be called an inn or (more recently) hotel in the UK. Today many pubs in the UK, Canada and Australia with the word "inn" or "hotel" in their name no longer offer accommodation, or in some cases have never done so. Some pubs bear the name of "hotel" because they are in countries where stringent anti-drinking laws were once in force. In Scotland, only hotels could serve alcohol on Sundays until 1976.
The Hofbräuhaus am Platzl is a world famous beer hall in the city center of Munich, Germany. This inn may be the world's most famous inn originally built in 1589 by the Bavarian dukeWilliam V to avoid buying beer for his troops from Lower Saxony. The general public was admitted only in 1828 by then king Louis I. The building was completely remodeled in 1897, when the brewery moved to the suburbs. In the bombing of WW II, everything but the main inn ("Schwemme") was destroyed; it took until 1958 to be rebuilt.
India Pale Ale (IPA, also known as Imperial Pale Ale), is a distinct style of beer and is characterized as a sparkling pale ale with a high level of alcohol and hops, thus having an increased bitterness.
IPA descends from the earliest pale ales of the 17th century, when the term "pale ale" probably simply distinguished ales which were light in color compared with brown ales of that day. By the mid-18th century, pale ale was mostly manufactured with coke-fired malt, which produced less smoking and roasting of barley in the malting process, and hence produced a paler beer. One such variety of beer was October beer, a pale well-hopped brew popular among the landed classes, who brewed it domestically; once brewed it was intended to cellar two years.
Double India Pale Ales (also abbreviated as Double IPAs or IIPAs) are a strong, very hoppy style of pale beer. Also known as Imperial IPAs, perhaps in reference to the Russian Imperial Stout, a much stronger version of the English Stout, these beers are essentially India Pale Ales with higher amounts of malt and hops. Double IPAs typically have alcohol content above 7% by volume. IBUs are in the very high range (60+). Such "style" labels can seem arbitrary however, since the aforementioned Ballantine IPA in its original formulation was certainly well above these benchmarks.
Beer has been produced in Scotland for approximately 5,000 years. The Celtic tradition of using bittering herbs remained in Scotland longer than the rest of Europe. The two main cities of Scotland, Glasgow and Edinburgh, are where, historically, the main breweries developed; and Edinburgh, in particular, became a noted centre for the export of beer around the world. By the end of the 20th century, small breweries had sprung up all over Scotland.
Despite a widespread belief that beers in Scotland used fewer hops than in England, all the available evidence shows that the Scots imported hops from around the world and used them extensively.
Adjuncts are unmalted grains, such as corn, rice, rye, oats, barley, and wheat, used in brewingbeer which supplement the main mash ingredients (such as maltedbarley), often with the intention of cutting costs, but sometimes to create an additional feature, such as better foam retention.
Ingredients which are standard for certain beers, such as wheat in a wheat beer, may be termed adjuncts when used in beers which could be made without them — such as adding wheat to a pale ale for the purpose of creating a lasting head. The sense here is that the ingredient is additional and strictly unnecessary, though it may be beneficial and attractive. Under the BavarianReinheitsgebot purity law it would be considered that an adjunct is any beer ingredient other than water, barley and hops; this, however, is an extreme view and is not standard.
The term adjunct is often used to refer to corn and rice, the two adjuncts commonly used by pale lager brewing companies as substitutes for barley malt. This use of ingredients as substitutes for the main starch source, usually to lower the cost of production, is where the term adjunct is most often used.
Adjuncts can be broadly separated into solids and liquid syrups. Solid adjuncts are ingredients such as cereals, flakes, grits and flours which must be added to the mash tun in order to convert the starch into simple sugars which the yeast can utilise during fermentation. Some cereals have a higher gelatinisation temperature than the standard mashing temperatures and must be cooked in a cereal cooker to gelatinise the starch before adding to the mash. Liquid syrups, on the other hand, are designed to be added directly to the kettle and therefore can be used to reduce loading on the mash and lauter tun and effectively increase the brewhouse capacity.
Other benefits of using adjuncts include reducing cost, improving consistency, diluting wort nitrogen (thereby improving shelf life) and reducing colour (or increasing colour with roasted cereals and caramels.)