A drink that one could call beer is fairly easy to produce. Brewing a good beer is a whole different matter, despite the fact that the ingredients are always the same. Let no one say that he drinks beer because there is water in it, although even the strongest beer consists of almost 90% of it. Water is a very important taste component. Most brewers use springwater, which differs naturally from one region to another depending on the soil and the micro organisms that live in it. Nowardays, modern installations permit a constant monitoring of the warer, which results in a much more constant product.
Barley is traditionally used for brewing beer. The corn has about 65% of starch, about 10% proteins. The rest is water, minerals, tannin and fat. The starch will deliver fermentable substances (sugars), the proteins will feed the yeast. Barley is a 'dressed' grain, which means that it has a lot of chaff, which will be the first natural filter in the brewing process. Depending on the market prices, brewers also add a portion of rice or maize which contains more starch but less proteins. Wheat develops sugars more difficultly, contains more proteins and is therefore hardly suited to produce heavy beer. Moreover, the use of it is always traceable in the end product.
By its composition, hop contributes to a large extent to the flavour of the beer, the foam and the conservation. Especially the hop resin attributes to the bitterness of the beer, while the tannins improve the foam forming. Hop generates a number of complex aromatic substances in beer, especially in the case of dry hopping, where extra hop is added during the brewing process after the boiling. Because hop is a natural product, the composition and therefore the bitterness differs from one year to another. Brewers who prefer a constant product switch to extracts, which can be applied very precisely and therefore lead to the same result.