An Introduction to the Brewing Process

Christopher B. McIlroy & Aaron C. Bandremer
32.443 Introduction to Biochemical Engineering
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY 12180

Comments or questions:

Since early times beer has played an important role in our society. It brings people together in local pubs and breweries generating camaraderie within communities. As technology has progressed, brewing techniques have been developed and refined. As a result, we are currently consuming the finest beers ever produced. This is due to our increased knowledge in the fields of biotechnology, microbiology, and chemistry.

The process of beer brewing consists of several steps, which result in a beverage that has a unique taste. The most important operation of the brewing process is fermentation. By definition, fermentation is a process by which yeast and natural enzymes convert carbohydrates in fruits and grains into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This knowledge has been known for ages, but we are just beginning to apply state of the art technology to control and improve the process. The following presentation is intended to educate the "casual observer" of the brewing process. The four main ingredients for making beer are:

  • Water: Majority of the mass

  • Malted Barley: Source of fermentable sugars

  • Hops: Spices and condiments

  • Yeast: Organisms which convert sugar to carbon dioxide and ethanol

    Now that we know the major ingredients which constitute beer, we can take a look into the process by which beer is made.

  • Evolution of brewing: Time line tracing the history of brewing

  • A Little Yeast Biology: An intro for the "lay man"

  • Fermentation Biochemistry: Reaction of glucose to ethanol

  • Brewing Schematic: Displays the six major process units

  • Introduction to Home Brewing: How to get yourself started!

    Question: Where did Ice Beer originate, and how was it produced?
  • Answer

    Here is a link that may be of interest - it is link to a plethora of other beer links.