You need four ingredients to make craft beer: water, yeast, malt and hops.
But more than that, to make great craft beer, you really need quality ingredients. I’ve been selecting these ingredients for many years now.
So here are some tips as to what I look for when choosing the basis of beer.
Water is super important in brewing. It not only represents the biggest percentage of what is in a beer, it also has a big influence on the flavour. The dissolved minerals in water can make a beer seem fuller or more bitter.
So when I create a recipe, I also create a water profile to fit each recipe.
A basic rule of thumb: soft water leads to light coloured beer; hard water to dark coloured beer.
But of course there are exceptions to the rule – depending on the brewery.
I can’t overstate how important yeast is. Without it, we wouldn ’t have beer, bread, wine, spirits, and a whole host of other amazing things.
Yeast’s role is to convert sugars into CO2 and alcohol. In the brewery, we use different strains for different beers, depending on what we’re looking for.
There are over 300 banked brewing yeast strains in the world, all with their own unique abilities. To keep things simple, for our Ale, we use warm fermenting yeast at 20°C; and for Lager, cold fermenting yeast at 10-14°C.
Beer wouldn’t be beer without malt: it’s the source of the fermentable sugars used by yeast to create alcohol and CO2.
In brewing we have our foundation base malts used for all recipes. But we can augment these with speciality malts. These malts are toasted or roasted to provide the abundance of flavours you’ll experience in beer. Like the chocolate and coffee taste in a Stout and the rich toffee and caramel flavours in a Pale Ale.
Hops are the darling of the global craft beer movement! In times past, they were used as a preservative in beer. Now we use them to provide bitterness as a counter balance to the sweetness provided by malt.
But where does hops really show up? In the aroma. Pine, citrus, tropical and grass are all used to describe the oil in a hops that provides these wonderful flavours.
In modern brewing we are using more hops than ever before; and in new and interesting ways.
We hand-select our ingredients – to make sure we’re getting the best possible products. It’s the basis of our beer, and ultimately the quality of Fraser’s Folly.