Fermentation: The ABCs of Beer #2

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Fermentation is a metabolic process that turns sugar into gases, acids and alcohol. In beer brewing, fermentation is the magical process that transforms wort into the alcoholic, carbonated beverage we all know and love. Some describe the process as an art, with different styles and timings leading to distinctly delicious results. Here are some key terms anyone interested in fermentation should know.
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The genus of single-celled yeasts that ferment sugar and are used in the making of alcoholic beverages and bread. The conversion of malt starch into fermentable sugars is called saccharification.

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The bittersweet sugar solution obtained by mashing the malt and boiling in the hops.

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The gaseous by-product of yeast fermentation process that gives beer its signature fizz.

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The generic term used to describe the alcohol produced by yeast during fermentation.

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The first stage of fermentation and lasts between 2 and 20 days.

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This is forms in the first few hours of fermentation and consists of the protein, polyphenols, and hop material that settles in the bottom of the fermenter. It is best to remove the cold break before active fermentation starts and re-suspends the fermentation.

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The second phase of fermentation and allows for the slow reduction of any remaining fermentables.

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The process of adding clarifying agents to beer during secondary fermentation.

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The process by which beers are fermented for a relatively short period at high temperature, with the yeast rising to the top. Ale-type beers are top fermented.

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The process by which beers are fermented for a relatively long period of time at cooler temperatures, with the yeast settling at the bottom. Lager-type beers are bottom fermented.

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The process of adding clarifying agents to beer during secondary fermentation.

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The branch of chemistry that deals with fermentation process.
We hope you’ve learned something new in the second edition of the ABCs of Beer. Next week we will be looking at the other processes involved in beer making.


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