Malting: Craft breweries start with high-quality malted grains, usually barley, which have been germinated, dried, and roasted to develop different flavours and colours.
Mashing: The malted grains are mixed with hot water in a process called mashing, which activates enzymes to convert starches into fermentable sugars.
Lautering: The liquid portion of the mash, now known as wort, is separated from the solid grain husks through lautering. The wort is collected, while the spent grain is usually discarded or repurposed.
Boiling: The wort is then boiled and hops are added at various stages. Hops contribute bitterness, flavor, and aroma to the beer, balancing the sweetness of the malt.
Fermentation: After boiling, the wort is rapidly cooled and transferred to a fermentation vessel. Yeast is added, which consumes the sugars in the wort, converting them into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Conditioning: Once primary fermentation is complete, the beer may undergo secondary fermentation or conditioning, which allows for further flavor development and clarification.
Filtration and Carbonation: Some craft breweries choose to filter their beer to remove any remaining sediment. Carbonation is then added, either naturally through bottle conditioning or forced carbonation through CO2.
Packaging: The final step involves packaging the craft beer into bottles, cans, or kegs for distribution and sale.