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What ingredients are used to make beer?  Here I list of the main ingredients used to make beer.  Other ingredients can and are used depending on the type of beer you brew. 

Water - Water makes up about 90% of beer.  Today water chemistry can be changed and water can be purchased at your local grocery store, but in the past many beers has unique flavor depending on what part of the world the beer was made, in part due to the water from that region.

Barley - Barley is a cereal grain that is not particularly good for making bread, but excellent for beer.  Many types of barley are used from Two, Four and Six Row barley.  Two-row has a higher starch to husk ratio, while Six-row has a higher concentration of enzymes and is more economical.  Barley must be processed into malt before it can be used to make beer.

Malting: Malting is done by soaking the grain, which causes the grain to start germinating. When rootlets begin to sprout the grain is dried, crushed and roasted.  The roasting step stops the germination process, leaving needed enzymes active and plays a large part in determining the color and flavor of the final product.

Hops - Humulus Lupulus, also known as hops are a flowering vine which produce pine-cone like flowers that was once used as a preservative for beer (so I have been told).  Today we mainly use hops for the resins and essential oils located in there lupulin glands which add flavor (bittering) and aroma.   The bittering comes from boiling the hops and can be distinctive depending on which hop variety is used and how long you boil them.  The aroma hops are used for aroma and are added during the end or after the boil.  Hops help balance the sweetness of the malt.  Many home brewers try to grow there own hops since they are fairly easy to grow.  Hops are usually dried before use. Most hops in the U.S are grown in Yakima Valley in Washington. 

Yeast - Eat, belch and sleep, that's the hard life of yeast..  Yeast is one of the most important parts of brewing beer.  This unicellular fungi, is what converts the sugars of the wort into CO2 and alcohol.  In the process the yeast can also add characteristic flavors to the beer.  These flavors can be due to the particular yeast strain that you use or the temperature that you ferment the beer.  Many home brewers have also started culturing there own yeast for economic reasons and because it can be fun.  The more you know about yeast strains and how they are cultured the better and can only improve your beer making.

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