|Ingredients in Beer|
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The basic ingredients in beer are affectionately referred to as the four food groups. They are water, malt, hops and yeast.
Water comprises more than 90% of beer. In the past, the mineral content of water influenced greatly the flavor of the final beer and was specific to the region of the earth from which it came. Today, almost any water can be chemically adjusted to create the exact style of beer desired, although pure water supplies are still prized greatly.
Barley is a basic cereal grain not particularly good for milling into flour and making bread or bakery goods. But it is great for beer. There are three major types of barley. These are differentiated by the number of seeds at the top of the stalk. Barley seeds grow in two, four and six rows along the central stem. European brewers traditionally prefer the two-row barley because it malts best and has a higher starch/husk ratio than four or six-row barley. Brewers in the US traditionally prefer six-row barley because it is more economical to grow and has a higher concentration of enzymes needed to convert the starch in the grain into sugar and other fermentables.