Definition of beer - an attempt
We are pleased to present one of our new projects: the launch of a blog focusing on alternative fermenting methods using yeasts and bacteria cultures.
In addition, it will examine different craft brewing methods.
The development of beer styles is dependent on the raw materials available in the brewing region as well as the socio-cultural environment. We anticipate interesting posts and a lively discussion on this subject.
The blog is open to all authors currently making meaningful contributions to the world of sour beers. Here you will find the contact form if you are interested in authoring an article yourself.
This introductory post comprises a general write-up on beer without a direct focus on wild beers, and discusses the current brewing environment in Germany. We hope it inspires other authors to make their own written contributions.
Definition of beer
What is beer? Here is one definition: Beer is a beverage made mainly from crop containing starch (grain, but also potatoes, pumpkin, chestnut, etc.). The starch is converted into sugar by enzymatic processes, and the sugar is fermented. As a rule, the enzymatic processes are initiated by malted grain. However, there are exceptions, e.g. quinoa beer brewed in parts of South America. Here the pseudo-cereal is chewed, and the human saliva instigates the transformation of starch into sugar by means of enzymatic processes.
Crop containing a large amount of starch as a beer basis theoretically means 50.1% malt, raw grain or other starch-containing crop. Theoretically, the remaining quantity can be made up by other flavouring additives, mostly fruit. However, from the aroma and taste point of view, their limit is most probably between 30% and 40%. There are different reference points, though: the amount of the other flavouring substances (fruit) can be indicated either in proportion to the weight of the grain bill (dry) or as a percentage of the volume of the young beer (for lambic).
A definition of beer based on its flavour is very difficult. The range from a pilsner/helles (pale lager) to a lambic or a Flanders Red Ale, such as the Duchesse de Bourgogne with its distinct balsamic aroma, is very far reaching and can hardly be covered by a definition along the lines of “Must taste like beer”