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Beer 101: The Fundamental Steps of Brewing

How to Brew Beer, Anchor Brewing Mash Tuns
Mash Tuns at San Francisco's Anchor Brewing (Photo credit: CJ Martin)

 

Lautering

Lautering is the process of separating the wort from spent grain as efficiently as possible. Generally, it is done in a separate lauter tun, although the process of mash filtering can now be done by large-scale or small-scale brewers.Lauter Tun

A lauter tun has a perforated or slotted bottom with runoff ports. The solids from the mash settle on the bottom and form a filter for the wort.

Lautering consists of three steps: mashout, recirculation and sparging. The mashout consists of raising the mash temperature to 170 degrees Fahrenheit, which stops enzymatic reactions and preserves the fermentable sugar profile of the wort, and also makes the wort less viscous and easier to work with.

Next, the wort is drawn out from the bottom of the lauter ton and recirculated, causing loose grain particulates to be filtered out naturally by the grain bed, allowing for more wort clarity.

Once the wort is transferred, the remaining spent grain, which consists of grain husks and particles left over from the mashing, requires sparging. Sparging is the process of rinsing the spent grain with heated water to get as much of the sugars as possible from the remaining grain for the wort. 

After sparging, the spent grain is commonly recycled as feed for cattle and hogs, or can be used to make bread.

Boiling

Once a brewer has wort, it is sterilized through a boiling process in a kettle, which halts enzyme activity and condenses the liquid. During the boil, which typically lasts from 60 to 120 minutes, hops are added.

Hopping Hops for Brewing Beer

The qualities of aroma, taste and bitterness that hops impart to beer depend on what point they are added. Hops can be added early in the boil for bittering, with more time boiled resulting in more bitterness. They can be added mid-boil for flavor, or late boil for flavoring and aroma.

Hops can also be added at stages after the boil during whirlpooling (flavor/aroma), fermentation (dry-hopping for aroma) or maturation (dry-hopping for aroma).

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Comments

Pat Mulloy's picture
This is a good overview of the process of brewing. It covers the essentials and avoids getting too granular. Most regional package breweries offer tours. For a real treat, take the article with you as you go through a tour and see how everything goes together.

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Comments

Pat Mulloy's picture
This is a good overview of the process of brewing. It covers the essentials and avoids getting too granular. Most regional package breweries offer tours. For a real treat, take the article with you as you go through a tour and see how everything goes together.

Pages

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