Despite the fact that in most countries it has not yet caught on among the general public, the world of craft beers is a reality that is increasingly present among consumers. Thanks to the wide variety of yeasts, malts and barleys used in its elaboration, we will discover that beer is an area as complex (or perhaps more so) than that of wines .
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What is craft beer
In short, craft beers are those that are made following their own recipe to give it a different and personal taste, away from the typical beers that we find on the market.
Beyond its elaboration, we find a great variety of ingredients whose quantity can also vary . And we are not just talking about hops, malt and yeast, we can add fruity touches, citrus, and even more daring aromas and tastes such as hot sauce.
Most of the beers that we find in the supermarket are of the lager type, which means that they have been fermented at a low temperature and, therefore, have a fairly smooth and refreshing taste, ideal for the average consumer. However, if you have not gone beyond supermarket beers, you are missing a wide range of nuances.
Labeling is important
When a craft beer is made, it has to compete with thousands and thousands of brands that can be found in specialized stores. For this reason, it is important to accompany the beer with good labeling or packaging .to make it attractive at first sight for the customer.
Types of beer
Before proceeding to detail the elaboration of any craft beer, we present the basic types of beer so that you can put some concepts in order.
As we have pointed out before, lager beer has been brewed and fermented at a low temperature , between 0 and 4 degrees Celsius. This process is relatively simpler and cheaper, and therefore the majority of beers in large supermarkets are of this type.
However, we should not associate a lager beer with poor quality. They are very sparkling and refreshing, and their flavor will also depend on other aspects such as the quantity and proportion of their ingredients.
The Pilsen variety is very popular for its light and refreshing aroma , although there is also the Munich (darker and more aromatic) or the Vienna, with a reddish and sweet touch.
On the contrary, Ale-type beers ferment at temperatures between 15 and 25 degrees, which gives them more body, aroma and flavor . Thus, most craft beers are inclined towards high fermentation.
Depending on the peculiarities of its elaboration, the Ale are divided into more subcategories. The most famous are the Bitter Ale (with a bitter touch), the Pal Ale (made with a paler type of malt and less hops) or the IPA.
IPA (Indian Pale Ale)
Special mention deserves this variety of English beer, very popular and that you will surely find in many craft beer labels. Its origin dates back to the export of beer to India by the British Empire. So that the beer would not turn sour during long ocean voyages, they raised the alcohol and hop levels .
DIPA (Double Indian Pale Ale)
The Double IPA or DIPA is an even more alcoholic and hopped version, so they tend to be very bitter and have a high alcohol content (7 to 10, approximately). Despite this fact, they are not difficult drinks to drink, and those who are already instructed in the taste of hops will find them very appetizing.
3. Self-fermented beers
This third type of beers is made exclusively in Brussels, although the technique has already been exported by artisans around the world. No yeast is added, so their fermentation occurs spontaneously, as a result of the natural fauna of the brewery. They are peculiarly acidic and of an intense yellow due to the presence of wheat.
How to make a craft beer
Homebrewing is a growing trend, and luckily making beer at home is within the reach of anyone with a little time. We are talking about a relatively simple recipe, although depending on our knowledge of the different types of malt or hops, we can play around until we find the ideal flavor. The possibilities are endless.
The basic ingredients to obtain about 15 liters of beer are the following:
- 30 liters of water without chlorine.
- 4.5 kilos of barley malt.
- 25 grams of hops.
- A sachet of yeast (exclusive for making beer)./li>
5 easy steps to make beer
Before starting with these steps, you should check the cleanliness of the devices you are going to use. The presence of batteries can ruin the entire result.
Place all the barley malt in a pot of hot water until it reaches a temperature of between 67 and 70 degrees. Stir frequently so there are no lumps. After about 90 minutes, you will have a kind of sweet must, since all the starch will have been transformed into sugar.
Boil the must for one hour. Meanwhile, add the hops to obtain the bitterness and aromabeer characteristics. When you’re done, stir the mixture so that the residue goes to the bottom of the pot.
This is when the must must reduce its temperature. There are several methods, including the serpentine method, which consists of passing the mixture through a copper tube cooled by ice . If you do not have enough material, you can place the pot in a pile with ice.
Find a container like a water drum or a camping fridge, pour in the must and add the yeast . It is very important that the container where the fermentation takes place has an air trap and(that the air can go out but not enter). A good home method is to use a water can with a balloon punctured at the end.
Then leave the container for 10 days in a dark place at about 19 degrees .
5. Maturing and bottling
Once the fermentation is finished, transfer the beer to another container and discard all the layer of yeast that has been left in the fermenter. Let the beer sit for a week before bottling.
In parallel, boil the sugar in water until you get syrup. Calculate that about 7 or 8 grams of syrup will be needed for each liter of beer. When you have it ready, add the syrup to the beer without letting the ingredients come into contact with the air, otherwise they will oxidize.
Bottle the beer and let it rest for another ten days . Go tasting your craft beer until you check that it has gas. It is then when you can already taste if you are an expert brewer or brewer. Health!
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