Posts tagged education
Beer 101: Pale Ale, IPA, Double IPA - what's that all about?

Pale Ale - To understand Pale Ale, you first need to understand what malt is. Malt is a germinated & dried cereal grain, and typically in beer it's barley. Dried barley does not ferment well, but malted barley does. So the barley goes through the malting process: it's first soaked so it sprouts, then further germination is halted by heating/drying it with hot air.

Because the heating and drying process was hard to control before the 1700's, ales, such as porters and stouts were usually dark because the malt was 'dark roasted' . Then as more controllable fuel sources emerged, the malt could be dried yet kept lighter. Beers made this way became known as Pale Ales, and were originally more expensive.

IPA - India Pale Ale. The distinction for an IPA is that it is made with more hops. The type and amounts of hops & malt, as well as alcohol content can vary, hence there is wide diversity within this style — as we are learning is true with every style of beer. IPA’s can also be classified into English & American. English IPA’s are made with English hops and tend to be earthy & woody. American IPA’s are often more hoppy, with pine and bitter grapefruit flavors.

Double IPA - Also called Imperial IPA, is what the name suggests; double the hops or even triple, though the amount of malts is often increased to balance the bitterness. This is a uniquely American style, meaning Americans always have to take things to the extreme.

Beer 101: Just 4 ingredients...but what do they do?
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It may be the world’s 3rd most popular beverage and 11,000 years old, but what makes beer? And why are there so many different kinds?

We’re well beyond the 500 year old German Purity Laws that said beer could only contain Barley Malt, Hops, and Water (Yeast was added in the 1800’s after Pasteur discovered it was the power behind fermentation).

While Barley is still a popular grain, others can be used as well. Grain gives beer it’s color, flavor, maltose (a sugar that feeds the yeast for fermenting), proteins that contribute to the foam or head, and dextrins which are a carb that contributes to mouthfeel.

Hops, also contribute to flavor, oils in the hops add to the aroma, bitterness offsets the sweet sugars from the grain, and the acid it hops repel bacteria to extend it’s shelf life.

Yeast, as mentioned is the engine behind fermentation, turning maltose (sugar) into alcohol and CO2.

Finally water is the main content.

With a variety of Grains, Hops, Yeast strains, and even different minerals in water, you see why beer vary. Add to that different techniques and additives and the possibilities are limitless.