The A to Z of Speciality Beer :: Part 2

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In this, the second instalment in our A to Z of speciality beer series, we are exploring our Jermanus wild yeast strain, microbreweries and patersbiers. J is for Jermanus yeast, one of three yeasts used in our brewing process. This wild yeast strain, which imparts our beer with its distinctive flavours and aromas, is protected by the Van Steenberge Brewery. K is for kettles. These huge stainless steel or copper tanks are used in the brewing process. They boil the wort with hops and sugar, allowing the flavours of the hops to be released into the mixture, before the hops are filtered from the liquid in a whirlpool. It is this liquid that then becomes the beer. L is for labeophilist. This is the name for a collector of beer bottles and/or their labels. L is also for lautering. A process by which, brewers look to separate the wort from the grain. The mash (formed from malt grains and water) is filtered in a lauter tun to extract the sugars. This is traditionally a three-step process: mashout, followed by recirculation, and finally, sparging. The extracted sugary wort is then boiled together with hops to form the basic substance of beer. M is for malt. These grains form the base of the beer itself and are the ingredients that ultimately form alcohol. Malt also plays a large part in determining the flavour and strength of the beer. There are many different kinds, and each one has a big impact on the ultimate flavour and aroma of a beer. It also contributes to the colour – the darker the malt, the darker the beer. Discover more in our article, “All About Malt”. M is also for microbrewery. These are breweries that operate on a small scale, brewing in small batches that are often only distributed locally, or on a very small scale. Typically brewing speciality and craft beers, microbreweries put emphasis on quality, technique and flavour. N is for natural carbonation. This process is created through the bottle or keg conditioning of the beer, where sugars and/or yeast are added to ferment the beer and cause the production of carbon dioxide. Typically, more yeast and smaller bubbles are present. The alternative would be forced carbonation, where carbon dioxide is inserted rapidly into the beer. O is for Oud Bruin, or “Flanders Brown”. This beer style originated in the Flanders region of Belgium, and is characterised by a reddish brown colour, and a sourness caused by the secondary fermentation and long bottle ageing typical of this style. P is for patersbier. Otherwise known as a “father’s beer” or “table beer”, this is traditionally a beer brewed by monks exclusively for their own consumption, and not for sale. Patersbiers, including Westvleteren Blond, are usually weaker in strength than the beers brewed by monks for their community. Q is for Quadrupel. This beer style, similar to Dubbel and Tripel, has a Trappist association. It signifies a beer that is stronger than Dubbel and Tripel, although it is difficult to pinpoint other characteristics of this style, as there is much variation between Quadrupel beers. Would you add any different terms to the list? Leave us a comment below. In the final article in our A to Z of speciality beers series, we will cover everything from refermentation to St. Stefanus to unpasteurised beer. Did you miss our first article? You can read it here.

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