Brewing is the production of beer by steeping a starch source (commonly cereal grains, the most popular of which is barley) in water and fermenting the resulting sweet liquid with yeast. It may be done in a brewery by a commercial brewer, at home by a homebrewer, or by a variety of traditional methods such as communally by the indigenous peoples in Brazil when making cauim. Brewing has taken place since around the 6th millennium BC, and archaeological evidence suggests that emerging civilizations, including ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, brewed beer. Since the nineteenth century the brewing industry has been part of most western economies.
The basic ingredients of beer are water and a fermentable starch source such as malted barley. Most beer is fermented with a brewer's yeast and flavoured with hops. Less widely used starch sources include millet, sorghum and cassava. Secondary sources (adjuncts), such as maize (corn), rice, or sugar, may also be used, sometimes to reduce cost, or to add a feature, such as adding wheat to aid in retaining the foamy head of the beer. The most common starch source is ground cereal or "grist" - the proportion of the starch or cereal ingredients in a beer recipe may be called grist, grain bill, or simply mash ingredients.
Steps in the brewing process include malting, milling, mashing, lautering, boiling, fermenting, conditioning, filtering, and packaging. There are three main fermentation methods, warm, cool and spontaneous. Fermentation may take place in an open or closed fermenting vessel; a secondary fermentation may also occur in the cask or bottle. There are several additional brewing methods, such as Burtonisation, barrel-ageing, double dropping, and Yorkshire Square.
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