Education

Not All That Familiar with Beer? Don’t Worry! We’re Here to Help!

There are many types of beer from the American Pale Ale all the way to the Imperial Stout. Beer is characterized by many different features:Beer Glasses

  • Appearance: The visual characteristics such as color, clarity, and the nature of the head
  • Aroma: What first hits your nose
  • Flavor: The taste of the beer from the malt, hops, and yeast
  • Mouthfeel: The way the beer feels on the tongue
  • Gravity: The measurement of the alcohol content
  • Ingredients: The 4 main ingredients of beer are barley, hops yeast and water

Ales

Brewed with top fermenting yeast at warmer temperatures, ales are fuller-bodied, with hints of fruit or spice and a hoppy finish. Generally robust and complex with a variety of fruit and malt aromas, ales come in many varieties.

Ales are often darker than lagers, ranging from rich gold to reddish amber. Top fermenting, and more hops in the wort gives these beers a more assertive, individual personality.

Blonde Ale: Very light in color and crisp and clear with low-to-medium bitterness and some sweetness
Brown Ale: Dark amber or brown in color with light bitterness and more malty flavor
Cream Ale: Golden ale with a mild and sweeter taste
Pale Ale: Copper colored, robust and with a strong hoppy flavor
India Pale Ale (IPA): An even hoppier version of the pale ale
Red: Red or light brown in color and moderate to heavy in flavor with hints of caramel
Porter: Dark , almost black, brewed with roasted malt
Stout: Not as sweet to the taste as a Porter with a rich creamy head and can be brewed with unmalted roasted barley to achieve a coffee-like taste

Lagers

Lager originates from the German word lagern which means ‘to store’ – it refers to the method of storing it for several months in near-freezing temperatures. Crisp and refreshing with a smooth finish from longer aging, lagers are the world’s most popular beer.
A lager, which can range from sweet to bitter and pale to black, is usually used to describe bottom-fermented brews of Dutch, German, and Czech styles. Most, however, are a pale to medium color, have high carbonation, and a medium to high hop flavor.

American Lager: Pale in color with a modest hop flavor. Sometimes brewed with rice or maize as well as barley
Pilsner: Golden in color with a dry, crisp, and somewhat bitter flavor.
Dunkel: Dark in color with smooth malty flavor
Bock: Color can range from light copper to brown with a persistent off-white head. Malty and toasty in flavor with no distinct hop notes

Beer Ingredients

Malted barley is the source of the sugars which are fermented into beer. The malting process allows the grain to partially germinate, which makes the seed’s resources available to the brewer and then the grains are dried until the brewer is ready to use them.

The brewer then mashes the barley which is the hot water soaking process that provides the right conditions for the enzymes to convert the grain starches into fermentable sugars. Some malts are kilned or roasted at higher temperatures to lend different tastes.

Hops are the flowers (also called seed cones or strobiles) of the hop plant Humulus lupulus. They are used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent in beer, to which they impart a bitter, tangy flavor.
There are many varieties of hops with some of the most popular being Cascade, Chinook, Columbus, Brewer’s Gold, Nugget, and Willamette.
Alpha acids in hops are the precursors to the beer’s bitterness and while there are beta acids as well, they are lost mostly in the brewing process. Beer bitterness is measured as International Bitterness Units (IBUs) and measures the intensity of the bitterness of the beer.

Yeast are single-celled microorganisms that reproduce by budding. They are biologically classified as fungi and are responsible for converting fermentable sugars into alcohol and other byproducts. Top fermenting yeasts rise to the top during fermentation and prefer warmer temperatures; while bottom fermenting yeasts settle out to the bottom and prefer cooler temperatures.

There is also spontaneous fermentation where the beer is exposed to the open air to allow for natural/wild yeast to infect the beer; this type of fermentation leads sour non-filtered beers and is very popular in Belgium.

Water is a deceptively understated and underrated force in the making of any beer. Hugely variable throughout the world, it is abundant with minerals and organic compounds that can affect the beer. Things to look out for is the pH levels, hardness and alkalinity.

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 Brockport, New York 14420
67 North Main Street
 Phone: 585-637-2296
585rochesterbeer@gmail.com
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