Beer starts with water, although in the brewing trade it is refered to as `liquor`. The first thing to be added is malt. Malt itself is partially fermented barley grain, this is where the beer gets it’s sugar from, the grain is then roasted and crushed. The flavour and apperance of the beer is affected by the amount that the malt has been roasted. The crushed malt is mashed in with the liquor to extract the sugar from the malt into the liquor and after an hour or so a thick, sweet porridgey liquid is formed, this is then run off into a `copper`.The used malt is then sold off.
In the copper the liquid, now known as `wort` is boiled up and hops are added. Hops in general give the beer it`s bitterness and like malt, there are many different kinds of hops. After the hops have been boiled into the wort they are drained off and the beer is coolled to a temperature where yeast can be added. Again, like malt and hops, there are of different yeasts, all of which affect the final outcome.
The yeast ferments in the wort and turns the sugar from the malt into alcohol and carbon dioxide. After a few days this `primary` fermentation is over and the beer is transferred into conditioning tanks where a second more gentle fermentation takes place. A few days later and the beer is racked off into casks where `finings` are added. Finings are a glutinous substance that slowly sink through the beer and drag the yeast particles still present in the beer down to the bottom, leaving a clear or `bright` beer, which is then sold.