blog header banner
How Beer is Processed

It's is the oldest and most widely-consumed alcoholic beverage in the world, with origins tracing back to the early Neolithic Era, or 9500 BC. During the construction of the Great Pyramids, Egyptian workers were paid four to five liters of beer a day for both refreshment and nourishment. Around 3000 BC, beer spread throughout Europe. Early European beers contained fruit, honey, spices, and even narcotic herbs. Hops were finally introduced in the year 822 AD.

Today, the brewing industry is a global phenomenon. In 2015, the United States was the second-largest producer of beer worldwide, producing about 224 million hectoliters of beer, following China. In 2016, Americans spent more than $107.6 billion on beer, outpacing sales of wine, spirits, and water.

In recent years, the greatest increases in beer sales have come from the craft beer category, which increased 10% from 2015 to 2016—well ahead of the overall beer category, which increased only 1.3% - 3.5%.

As for consumption, Americans drank an average of 27 gallons of beer per capita in 2013, with 6% percent of U.S. adults consuming beer every day. Before you crack open your next cold one, find out how your favorite beer is made in our slideshow: 

Malting and Milling

Step 1: Malting and Milling - Creates the color and flavor of the beer and pulls out the starches for fermentation.

Mashing and Lautering

Step 2: Mashing and Lautering Converts the starches into sugars and removes the wort from spent grains.

Boiling

Step 3: Boiling Hops are added into the boiling wort to create bitterness.

Fermenting

Step 4: Fermenting Yeast is added to eat up the sugars and create the all-important alcohol.

Conditioning and Filtering

Step 5: Conditioning and Filtering Let the beer sit. During this time, the yeast will eat any off-flavors that were created during fermentation.

Pasteurization and Packaging

Step 6: Pasteurization and Packaging Pasteurization kills any remaining yeast. Then it's time to bottle the beer.

Beer

Step 7: Enjoy! Here's a toast to beer!

IFT members and Food Technology subscribers: click here to learn more about the beer-making process and recent processing innovations.

Get More Brain Food

Read More Blog Posts

More Brain Food

Reflections and Considerations in the Wake of COVID-19

IFT’s Chief Science and Technology Officer Maria Velissariou, PhD, reflects on the impact of COVID-19 on the global food supply chain, consumer behavior, and food security, and challenges science of food professionals to consider some tough questions as they redefine the path forward.

2020 Virtual Fun Run + Fitness: Do It for You and Our Future Food Scientists

During Feeding Tomorrow’s Virtual Fun Run + Fitness event, build healthy habits that will last a lifetime while making a difference in the lives of future food scientists.

Pride Month Reinforces the Importance of Respect for Others

IFT member Kartheek Anekella, PhD, shares his perspectives on the meaning behind Pride Month, the importance of respect, and the supportive community he’s found within IFT.