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Beer Brewing FAQ
What is Zymurgy?
What is brewing?
What is extract brewing?
How do I brew beer?
What are some good brewing websites?
What are some good books on brewing?

What is Zymurgy?

What is brewing?
Outline of Brewing
Brewing begins with malted barley, which is the sprouted, then dried and/or roasted, barley seed. The malt is coarsely crushed and mixed with hot water to form a mash. During the mash, compositional changes occur, brought about by enzymes in the malt. The hot aqueous solution leaches the contents out of the crushed malt kernels and gelatinizes the starch; the enzymes reduce them to soluble fractions. This extract is rinsed from the insoluble malt particles during sparging. The sweet solution is called wort.

The wort is boiled with the flowerlike cone of the hop vine for bitterness and flavor, and to clarify the wort. The wort is cooled, and active brewers' yest is added to ferment it. The yeast forms carbon dioxide and alcohol from the sugars extracted from the malt; carbon dioxide carbonates the beer. This fermentation may be carried out in several stages, and the beer moved from one vessel to another to separate it from flavor-impairing sedimented yeast, malt, and hop residues.

The beer is bottled, kegged, or casked so that it may be served carbonated.
(Noonan, New Brewing Lager Beer, pg. xvii)

What is extract brewing?
Since the mashing process is somewhat complicated, requires additional gear, and takes a fair bit of time to do, many people buy the liquid or powdered extract of the mash, avalable from several companies. Since much of the final flavor is determined by the enzyme activity in the mash, you are losing some control for added convenience. Some people also run partial mashes and add extract to make a full 5 gallon batch, or add some extract to boost an all-grain brew. You can also add specialty grains to an extract brew. <cliche>There are as many ways to brew as there are brewers!</cliche>

How do I brew beer?

Some basic instructions, with pictures, for a first extract batch using a concentrated 3 gallon boil that is then diluted to 5 gallons, a common way to start since you only need a 4 gallon kettle:

A brief description of all-grain brewing:

A lengthy online book on brewing:

What are some good brewing websites? - Lots of useful info - Good place to get equipment / supplies online - Homebrew Digest, a lot of useful stuff here - Helps you turn your recipe idea into reality - Beer Judge Certification Program website

What are some good books on brewing?
New Brewing Lager Beer - Gregory Noonan. A somewhat advanced book for scientist types who want details
Designing Great Beers - Ray Daniels. Good for recipe formulation
Dave Miller's Homebrewing Guide - Dave Miller. A well-known writer and well-known book
The Complete Handbook of Homebrewing - Dave Miller.
Brewing the World's Great Beers: A Step-by-Step Guide - Dave Miller.
The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing - Charlie Papazian.
Home Brewers Companion - Charlie Papazian.
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