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Beer is made with malted grains (mostely barley or wheat), hops, yeast, and water. In some beers other ingredients are used like fruits, herbs, or spices for creating a special style of beer. Each of these ingredients add to the characteristic flavour of the beer.


Beer consists of about 90% of water. This is why the water is a very important ingredient of the beer. Merely few breweries have their own water spring with pure water and the right salts and minerals.
Large breweries use softened water with salts added to make a constant water quality. This is why a brewer can make the same beer on many different places on earth.
Traditional beers are usualy brewed with water from springs which has been de-ironed.


Many different types of grains are used with the making of beer. Barley is probably most known. From the grains, starch is extracted which is made into sugar at the brewery. When making a white beer, wheat or a mixture of wheat and barley is used.


Hops were discovered by monks. In 736 it was grown in Hallertau in the south of Germany. Hop is a right-turning climbing plant of about 3,60 metres in height. Only unfertilized female blossoms are suitable for brewing. Hops are important for preservation of the beer.


Yeast is a one-cel plant which multiplies thru celsplitting. There are many different kinds of yeast, but few are suitable for brewing. Yeasting turns sugar into alcohol and carbondioxide and gives the beer its aroma and flavour.
Before 1800 yeasts from the air were used. Nowadays only Geuze's and Lambics use these spontanious-yeasting.

Other ingredients

Besides the four main ingredients of beer, a lot of brewers use a great variety of extra ingredients to improve the flavour or color. Some of these ingredients are:

  • Sugar
    This is the most common adjunct in beer. It ferments
    easy and give more alcohol. Caramel is also used to
    give the beer a darken the beer.

  • Flaked maize
    Maize processed into flakes makes the beer dry and light-colored.

  • Rice
    Rice can be used as an partial alternative for grains. The American beer Budweiser uses rice to give it a clean, crisp finish.

  • Honey
    This is a old flavour enhancer used in cokking and drink making.

  • Chilli
    The use of chilli comes from Mexican lagers. The taste is unusual.

  • Herbs
    The belgian brewer Hoegaarden adds Coriander to the beer.

  • Fruits
    Apples, oranges, cherries, raspberries and bananas are added to the beer. Some with great success. The Belgian beers Kriek and Frambozen use cherries and raspberries.

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