There’s more to a pint than what meets the eye. Brewing is often more science than art, and Lab and QA/QC Manager, Jessie Smith, is going to walk us through the basics, starting with the core ingredients that make up every pint of SingleCut. From the desk of Jessie:

Hops and malt are the ‘sexy’ ingredients when it comes to brewing. But the real MVP in every beer recipe is water. After all, 95% of beer is water. So what makes it so important?
Many beer styles base their water profiles on how beers have been brewed historically. For example, the pilsner style comes from Pilsen where Bavarian brewers used the local water. It was known for being soft and devoid of minerals. That water profile has been recreated in modern pilsner beer styles.

Today, many brewers strip their water and will start from scratch. This involves building the water back up with minerals to create the profile desired depending on the style of beer being brewed. Sulfates, chlorides, magnesium, calcium, and sodium are important additions to every beer recipe. Chlorides will enhance the malty and sweet flavors while sulfates will bring forward the hop bitterness and dry mouthfeel.
These elements may seem like small additions, but they make a big difference in the finished beer.

Humulus lupulus is the name, bitterness is the game. Hops provide aroma and bitterness in the age of juicy and hazy IPAs. But their original purpose was much more functional.
During the 1800’s, a beer needed to be developed that would withstand a long ship journey and still be drinkable. Heavily hopped beers became the answer. We know now that hops have inherent antimicrobial properties making them a useful ingredient in beer. The less chance for bacteria to grow in the product, the better. But hops also provided a bitterness that wasn’t common in the styles of that time.

Today, hops are a crucial ingredient when defining a beer. The amount and timing of the hop addition will create a unique profile for each recipe. Hops that are added during the boil step of the brew undergo isomerization, a process that releases the bitter components. Another hop addition point is during fermentation, which is also known as dry hopping. Since the beer isn’t being boiled at this step, the hops do not impart any bitterness. This is where we see a big impact on aroma. These aromas can include pine, citrus, tropical, earthy, spicy, and floral notes.

Malt is the ingredient that marks the start of the brewing process. Malt starts as barley which goes through a plethora of steps to get what a brewer needs from it. Barley experiences heat and moisture to become malt, which is now in the form that makes sugars more available for extraction. The malt is then milled to break open the outer shell to expose the center. When the malt is mixed with boiling water, we’re left with the equivalent of cereal milk, sugary water which is what the yeast will feed on.
There are two components to a brew, base malt and specialty malt. Base malt provides the sugars and nutrients that yeast will need during the fermentation process. There is also the addition of specialty malts. These don’t add much nutrients or sugar, but will add color and flavor depending on the beer style desired.

While all of the individual ingredients are important in making a beer recipe, yeast is the silent worker that makes everything happen. Without yeast, we wouldn’t have beer.
Simply put, brewers provide a safe and happy environment for yeast to do their thing. By removing the oxygen from the fermentation vessel, the yeast take a metabolic pathway where they make alcohol and CO2 to survive. This is where they essentially eat up all the sugars from the malt and poop out alcohol and CO2, the elements that we need to make beer.

While they’re creating alcohol, the yeast are also creating many other byproducts which help to enhance the flavor of the beer. Ale yeast, which ferments at warmer temperatures, is known for giving off fruity flavors. While lager yeast likes colder temperatures and tends to be more crisp and clean. It can be difficult to pick out these flavors underneath all the hops and malt, but the yeast type can be an important addition to the flavor of a beer.”

Jessie Smith
QA/QC Manager