Sunday, April 23, 2017

Beer: The Brewing Process and how it effects Kashrus. Part 1: Malt

Beer: The Brewing Process and how it effects Kashrus
      While everyone likes their beer, not everyone knows how it is made. Therefore leaving them wondering about differences in style, color, flavor, and of course Kashrus. What makes some beers Kosher and others not? The answer to that is of course, the ingredients, but even that is not so simple.
Therefore I have decided write about the brewing process and how it could potentially effect the Kosher Status of your favorite brew.
     Beer is essentially brewed with four ingredients, which are Barley or Malt, Hops, Yeast, and Water.

Image result for brewing barleyImage result for wheat,
     The most important ingredient in the beer is the grain. The grain most often used is Barley.
However, brewers also use Wheat, Oats, Rye, and to a lesser extent rice and corn (famously used in light beers). The reason why the the grain is the most important part of the beer is because it provides fermentable sugars which allows the beer to turn into alcohol, later, when the yeast is added.
The barley is first malted which is a  process that helps bring out the fermentable sugars. The grain is soaked in water which tricks the grain into thinking it was planted and begins to germinate. Then, before it can start sprouting, the water is drained and the barley gets cooked or kilned.
Image result for kilning barley
This is a extremely delicate process in which the barley gets laid out on a kilning floor similar to the picture above, and high temperatures are applied. The heat accomplishes two things, it stops the germination process. And secondly it gives the barley (now called malt) it's color and flavor. Similar to the way a  coffee bean is roasted. If it is roasted lightly, it will give light color and flavors, and if it is darkly roasted, the coffee will be darker and have a more robust flavor. So to with the barley in the beer. If it is lightly malted it will be pale in color and not as dominant in the flavor profile. And if it is heavily roasted, the resulting beer will be dark in color and have a more prominent flavor similar to chocolate and sometime coffee. The malt is then ground and ready to use in the beer.

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