Do you know that over the centuries the requirements to beer production have significantly increased; the ingredients, however, have remained the same?
High-tech production lines today ensure the invariable taste of the drink in every bottle of the batch. Even though many technologies have changed over the years, the pillars for production of this noble drink have remained the same: water, grain, hops, and yeast.
Facts about beer
- Before the IX century hops was not used in brewing.
- Legend has it that before the discovery of the brewers’ yeast by scientists, brewers used to drop their pants into the tank. Thus, the wort started fermenting and turned into beer.
Water makes 90% of beer. Therefore, the purity and balance of this ingredient guarantee irreproachable taste and quality. Our breweries use only purified water for brewing. It should be noted that water differs greatly in different regions of Russia. For example, in Saint Petersburg water is very soft and similar to water in the Czech Republic in terms of its composition. In addition, specialists consider St. Petersburg water to be one of the softest in the world. This is one of the reasons why the Northern Capital is considered, amongst other things, the beer capital of Russia.
The key point in preparing water for beer production is its treatment. Before meeting malt and other ingredients water for beer must be pure and clear as a tear.
Water treatment at Baltika
For these purposes we use a whole sequence of filters at our breweries: sand, ion exchange and carbon filters. Water from water wells or water supply system is cleared of the tiniest impurities, suspended solids and particles. At the output water is ideal for beer production.
If the public supply water is not quite suitable for brewing, brewing companies can use artesian water from special wells like, for example, at Baltika breweries in Khabarovsk and Yaroslavl.
Grain and malt
Apart from water beer production also needs malt. Brewers receive it from grain crops.
Conversion of grain into malt is called malting. Barley, wheat, rice, rye, oats, sorghum and other grain are left to germinate and are then dried. During germination ferments needed for brewing form and accumulate. Grain germination proceeds in a natural way. Brewers follow the recipes of mother-nature, however, helping it. Technologists create optimal conditions for germination: grains are first washed and then steeped in water. After that a germ starts developing inside every grain. This is when the necessary substances form in grains.
The next step of the magic is drying of the germinated grains. Drying turns the grain into pale malt used for brewing of pale beer. For dark beer production it is possible to use dark, caramel or roasted malt apart from pale malt. It is additionally necessary “to do some magic” on the germinated grains: use other germination modes and higher drying temperature.
For special flavor brewers add unmalted grain to beer. This can be barley, rice, corn, wheat, sorghum, oats, rye, millet and other grain crops. In terms of starch unmalted grain is similar to malt. The main difference is that unmalted grain does not contain active ferments. This enables brewers to create new beer brands with a wonderful taste bouquet.
Fact about beer
In the famous Belgian wheat beer of Wit variety 50% of grain bill is unmalted autumn wheat.
Some brewers in Belgium also add 10% of unmalted oats into mash for wort production.
What are further metamorphoses of malt?
It is specially grinded and mixed with water, filtered, gradually heated, then hops is added and the mixture is boiled. Thus the wort that you can read about here comes into being.
Agricultural project of Baltika
Brewers pay a lot of attention to the of grain. For example, the raw materials for Baltika’s malthouses are supplied from different countries of the world, including Europe. Russian suppliers are agricultural enterprises in the regions of Tula, Voronezh, Lipetsk, Kursk, Penza, Ryazan, Tambov, Orel, Chelyabinsk, Omsk, Novosibirsk and other regions in cooperation with which our company is implementing its own agricultural project.
Every year Baltika import seeds of grain crops from Europe to Russia and gives them to its partner agricultural enterprises. The main selection factor is that the grain variety must be approved by international brewing institutes as well as Baltika’s research center. Jointly with agricultural enterprises Baltika’s specialists control the process of growing, harvesting and preparation of grain and then malt.
Hop and hop products
Hop gives the drink its noble and inimitable bitterness and aroma. It is a natural preservation agent due to its high content of bitter acids. Hop cones are almost weightless, are pressed into granules and hermetically packaged in vacuum bags. The hops prepared in such a way is called a hop product. It is compact, convenient for transportation and storage. Hop-cones accounts for 5% only in the global hop deliveries. The other 95% used for brewing are hop pellets and hop extracts.
Fact about beer
In the Russian language “hopped” means “alcoholic”; in fact, however, hop does not influence alcohol formation in beer. It contains bitter alpha acids ensuring a longer storage period of beer and influencing the beer aroma by adding hoppy, fruity, herbal and flower flavours.
Yeast is a little helper of the brewer entirely responsible for alcohol formation in beer. Nothing else creates the strength in this noble drink. Remember: no brewery ever adds alcohol to make beer strong! The role of yeast is not just to create alcohol: it helps the drink to acquire the most delicate notes of taste and aroma comparable to the variety of wine flavours by their richness.
From the point of view of biology yeast are living microorganisms referring to fungi. A yeast cell has a round shape, fissions fast and has a tiny size – from three to seven microns in diameter.
Yeast can live both with and without oxygen. In the first case the cells propagate actively while in the second case fermentation takes place with the formation of carbon dioxide and alcohol. Yeast in beer wort first propagate and then produce alcohol with organic substances. Thus yeast create the recognizable character of the drink.
Special yeast strains
There are special “tough” yeast strains that allow creation of extremely strong beer brands of up to 18% by volume. And there is more to come. The strength of Baltika 9 beer is achieved through a certain yeast strain. Baltika has developed a unique formula by selecting specially alcohol-resistant yeast. When the alcohol content in beer is over 6%, the action of ordinary yeast stops and it is deposited on the bottom of fermentation tanks.