Four Fundamental Factor of Beer
Beer is made from just four key ingredients:
Beer is just water …combined with the other three ingredients below. Interestingly, water in every location throughout the world has a different mineral content; Dublin is great for making stouts such as Guinness, while the waters of Pilsen in the Czech Republic are perfect for making pilsners.
Malts give the beer its colour, contribute to the beer’s flavour and also provide the fuel in the form of fermentable sugars for the yeast to turn water into beer. There are a wide range of malt colours which explains why the colour of beer can vary significantly, from a very light gold hue to almost jet black. The flavour of the malts can also vary strongly, with the lightest of malts contributing little in the way of flavour, through to roasted malts which can deliver chocolate and coffee notes.
Hops is added to give beer its flavour, aroma and bitterness. Hops are the female flower added to the brewing process at various stages depending on the objective. Typically you will find multiple hop varieties are used as they have different qualities that deliver on the flavour, aroma and bitterness components, although a new trend is single hop beers. In the past 10 years there has been a massive increase in the varieties of hops available. This has been driven largely by changing tastes, particularly in the USA, where consumers are seeking highly aromatic, flavourful hops with profiles of pine, grass and various fruits.
If there was a God particle in beer then this would be it. In simple terms yeast eats the fermentable sugars in the form of malts and burps out a combination of CO2 (carbonation), alcohol and different flavour compounds. Yeast strains are varied the world over, with a large number of breweries having proprietary in-house yeast strains. While the yeast used for most beers does not add significant flavour cues, this does vary, with Belgian Pale Ales in particular having a much greater yeast driven flavour profile.
So there you are, four simple ingredients that are hugely complex and contribute significantly to creating great beer.