- monosaccharides (simple sugars)
- maltose (a disaccharide, or two-part sugar)
- maltotriose (a three-part sugar)
- sucrose (a carbohydrate)
- dextrin (a carbohydrate)
It’s this complex mixture of sugars and other carbohydrates that the yeast will later work its magic on. But first, the wort must be boiled.
Hops To The Boil - Wort is sanitized by boiling, and hops are added in three different steps during the boiling process to give the final product its distinct flavors – which won’t fully develop until it ferments. First, bittering hops are added to give the sweet wort more balance. This usually takes about an hour. Next, flavorful hops, usually with citrus, floral, or earthy tastes, are added to the boil. These are added 15 to 20 minutes prior to the end of the boiling process. The final hops are added at the end of the boil to create aromatic qualities.
Kettle Adjuncts - Kettle adjuncts may be added during boiling provide a sweet taste. (Kettle adjuncts should not be confused with mashable adjuncts such as grains, which contain starch, and must be added earlier, to the mash.) Molasses, maple sugar and honey are common kettle adjuncts. Brewers may add as much as 30 percent honey to achieve a strong honey flavor, but any amount over 15 percent requires the addition of yeast nutrients for effective fermentation. Some brewers also use corn sugar, rice syrup and cane sugar as adjuncts to boost the beer's strength.
Tasting the Wort - After it has been boiled and cooled, wort should not taste like finished beer. To first-time home brewers, tasting wort may seem discouraging. It lacks the fermentation and flavor qualities that are typical of beer, and new brewers may wonder if they did something wrong. Experienced brewers, however, can taste the wort to predict if it will yield a good finished product. They know that as time passes and the yeast works its magic, the wort's taste and mouth feel will evolve.
Fermentation - The next step is fermentation, which produces alcohol and carbonation and turns the wort into beer. This process usually takes several days or weeks depending on yeast choice, container type and other factors. We’ll cover this in a future post.
Visit Rock Harbor Pub and Brewery, the only brewpub in Rockland, Maine, for the freshest, most flavorful brews on the Midcoast. See our list of brews.