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Posted 01/07/2023 in Resources

What's in BEER? Discover what makes up the humble brew.

What's in BEER? Discover what makes up the humble brew.

Beer used to be a chore left for the ladies to do alongside baking the bread for the family to eat. Today brewing is an art enjoyed by many, from big brewers to home brewers. The equipment maybe higher tech, bigger and better, but the principles of brewing beer has not changed much. Beer itself, is a natural product, with the main ingredients used to brew most beers being water, malt, hops, and yeast.


Water is the key ingredient in beer and makes up about 90% of the brew. Without water you have no beer. It is the body of he beer that carries the flavour, the better the water, the better the beer.


A vital ingredient to the beer is the grain, which becomes malt, which becomes beer. Malt is the sugar, yeasts love to eat which gives beer it’s alcohol, almost all its colour and drives a lot of a beer’s flavour profile. It is the heart of every good brew. Most malts are made from barley, being the most common, wheat, oats, and rye are used too. Malt styles can range from light, pale to amber, brown, chocolate, and black. Lighter malts are used to make ales and lagers, the darker roasted malts, are used in beers like porters, and stouts.


Hops are a climbing vine that produce flower cones which give beer it’s aromatics and bitterness, and believe it or not, hops help to preserve the beer. There are many hop varieties that brewers use depending on the beer style they are creating. Bitterness in beer is measured by IBU, International Bitterness Units, which is the amount of hop alpha acids in beer. The higher the IBU, the more bitter the beer. Some craft brewers put the IBU on the beer label as a guide to give drinkers an indication of the bitterness of the beer. IPAs are a good way to experience the aromas and bitterness of different hops, and combinations.


Yeast is a living organism, and a brewer’s best friend, the secret weapon in many good brews. Yeasts can be top fermenting, bottom fermenting or wild yeasts, depending on the style of beer and temperature. Yeasts gives beer its alcoholic potency and brings a brew together through the fermentation process, that lets the yeast create magic, and feast on the malty sugars, which converts into alcohol and carbonation.

Other Ingredients

Beers are not limited to the four ingredients, with many brewers experimenting, and adding other ingredients to their recipes, from chocolate, coffee, fruit, herbs, spices, and more, creating unique beers with even more distinctive flavors, aromas and appearance.

Unlike wine where the centerpiece is the grape, region, soil, altitude, beer on the other is a band of flavors, bringing a combination of ancient grains, hops, and secret yeasts together with skilled brewing to create beer with layers of taste, flavor, and aroma.

Whatever the combination and variety used in the brew, the fun in learning about beer and its ingredients is trying lots of different beers!


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