Fermentation Riot All Grain Beer Brewing

Brewing Biochemistry Basics

The brewing process has evolved over many thousands of years to the state is in today. Modern bewers today utilize knowledge of chemical reactions to better control the final product of there beer, resulting in improved consistency.

To start with nearly all biological substances are made up of the six elements:

All organic molecules contain carbon. However, there are an infinite amount of ways that carbon can be bonded and linked with other elements.

Brewing is based on the use of organic compounds from raw materials such as malt, hops, and adjuncts. The key organic compounds which are related to brewing are Proteins, Carbohydrates, Lipids, Phenols and Polyphenols.

The key element found in all protein is Nitrogen. This is often supplied from malted barley and are broken down during malting. This provides the brewing yeast with amino acids which are used to build more yeast cells. Protein is a another critical aspect to beer foam (head) or beer haze.

Carbohydrates consist of mainly carbon, oxygen, and hydrogren. These are often known as the sugars, starches, and celluloses which are the energy for living organisms. However, there is significant differences in the complexity of carbohydrates. These differences in the structure and bonding of the carbohydrate impact the energy delivery to the yeast during fermentation.

Lipids are fatty acids. These are great for yeast viability but also act in a negative manner and suppress bear foam (similar to soap). Wort trub can consist of high contents of lipids which if oxidized can give the off flavor of soapy or goaty. High content of lipids will result in cloudy wort. Lipids are created by yeast as they metabolize, oxidized hops, and the main contributor is malt (consisting of long chain and unsaturated). Different types of malts will have different contributions of lipids.


Catechin Image Catechin may function as an antioxidant while other phenols may contribute not so desireable results.

Phenols are large and complex hydrocarbons which can originate from malt, hops, yeast, water, sanitizers, and nearly anything else that can come into contact with your beer. As there may be many phenols present in a beer some of these phenols will bind with other phenols forming polyphenols (multiple phenol groups). These polyphenols can function both positively and negatively toward the beer. Often polyphenols are discussed in the topic of beer haze from tannins from simple malt and hop phenol combination. Over time the complex of tannins and proteins forms an insoluble molecule that creates a permanent haze. Oxidation is often a large contributor to accellerating the creation of the insoluble particles.









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