By Justin Dolezal, Foodable Contributor
There are four basic ingredients that make their way into 99% of the beers that people enjoy on a regular basis: water, which makes up 90-95% of a beer's mass; yeast, the living compound that turns sweet flavored water into beer; hops, the flowering plant that imparts flavor, bitterness, and acts as a preservative; and grain, which gives beer sweetness and body. In most beers, this grain is malted barley, which is particularly suited to making beer. It is generally easy and economical to grow, its husk protects the grain within and allows better drainage during mash production, it contains the enzymes necessary to convert starches into the sugars necessary to feed the yeast in the brewing process, and its low protein content yields clear, vibrantly-colored beers.
It would be a major mistake to assume that beer ends with barley, however. Brewers have been using a variety of different grains for centuries, each of which can add valuable traits to beers that contain them. Flavor, body, mouthfeel, and color can all be enhanced by using various grains in the brewing process. Several of these grains are outlined below. Look for them in the next beer you drink- odds are you may have been enjoying them without even knowing it.Read More