|THE MAKING OF BEER- & Its Kosher Considerations
Beer is classified according
to its alcohol content, the bitterness level produced by the hops. The principal kinds of
beer are as follows:
Lager: Hops fermentation 10-12 days. After fermentation starts, it continues at
a slow pace with the beer stored in cellar conditions. When fermentation is completed, the
yeast and some additional substances settle out from the beer. Alcohol content would be
between 3% & 4%.
Ale: Fermentation time of 6-10 hours whereupon the yeast is skimmed off the surface
of the liquor. The yeast is of a different type than that employed in producing the lager
beer. No hops are added and the beer is sweet with an alcohol content of 3%.
Porter: A heavy, sweet ale with an alcohol content of 5%, and contains hops.
Stout: Very similar to porter, but with a higher content of hops.
Malt: The beer is sweet and black, is made with a rapid fermentation that leaves a
low alcohol content.
The principal constituents of beer are water, alcohol that is generated from the
fermentation of the sugar originating in barley malt and an extract of hops that imparts
to the beer its particularly bitter taste. The first stage in brewing, which does not
necessarily occur in the brewery, is preparation of the barley.
The barley that serves for preparing the malt is usually of a special species that is
grown specifically for this purpose. The two types of barley used for this purpose, are
the six-rowed barley that grows in the western parts of the USA, Canada, Europe &
Australia, and the two-rowed barley that grows in the Far East and in Europe. The malting
starts with the soaking of the barley grains in water at 140F-160F; the water is changed
several times, till it reaches a moisture content of 45%.
The barley grains germinate in 4-6 days and start sprouting. In the course of
germination there appear in the grain enzymes that decompose the starch of the grain into
individual molecules. The glucose molecules in the malted grain are now ready for
conversion into alcohol and carbon dioxide by means of yeast that is naturally in the air
and in the grain. This action of yeast is that which causes grain dough to become chometz
When the malting process is completed the grain is dried in an oven. (Mashing) The
drying temperature sets the color of the beer, because high-temperature drying converts a
part of the sugar molecules into a dark substance. In addition, the roasting in the oven
affects the grain material, adding taste to the beer. In addition concentrated caramel
imparts color to the beer, & is produced separately. The sugar molecules are converted
into a dark coloring and are added to the standard malt.
The dry grain that is obtained after roasting is rather stable. It can be shipped over
long distances and be stored for a year or more. It is therefore possible to have beer
that was sown before the previous Passover and can avoid chodosh problems. It depends in
how late the current & the previous spring was as far as planting times.
Brewing: The process of brewing beer itself starts actually with the milling of
the malt in order to extract the starches and sugars that it contains. The milling is
performed in a manner that would minimize damage to the endosperm & the grain's shell.
After milling, the flour is crushed, kneaded & cooked in water at different
temperatures in the course of which more starch molecules are converted into sugars.
Enzymes naturally present in the grain cause this decomposition just as this happens
during malting. The cooking causes the sugars and starch parts to dissolve in water.
Insoluble parts of the barley grains remain in the water.
Upon termination of cooking the liquid is filtered and the clear part is called WORT.
Fermenting Beer With Yeast: The amount of sugar that is used in fermenting beer
is less than that used by making wine. The yeast will therefore remain active after the
fermentation. The alcohol content will be between 3-4%.
The beer liquor that is boiled also sterilizes it from bacteria & therefore it is
possible to re-use the yeast & it is very often re-used many times over. These yeasts
have to be concentrated when reusing, it can be done by centrifuge or by coagulators of
gelatin or vegetable coagulators.
The beer industry employees yeast cultures whose coagulating substance is agar agar
extracted from algae-a kosher substance, However, it may also contain in minute amounts
peptones which are protein derivatives. The peptones may be extracted from plants and from
A part of the carbon dioxide gas that is generated in the course of fermentation is
captured in the closed vessel & dissolves in the beer. This will cause foaming and an
antifoam agent will be used which needs kosher supervision. There is also a need for
additional foam stabilizes needed in the final product. A common stabilizer is propylene
glycol alginate, although inherently may be of a kosher origin it may have been produced
on equipment that was used for non-kosher esters.
The production of true, clear beer requires the addition of an enzyme. This enzyme may
be derived from microorganisms that were grown on a culture bed containing non-kosher
nutrients. The yeast within the culture gets its nutrients from the peptones, develops
within the vessels that contain the beer liquor. The question what effect that has on the
beer as far as kosher is concerned.
A problem frequently encountered in the marketing of beer is the appearance of a haze
that is caused by chilling the beer. This problem is combatted by the addition of papain
to the beer "chill-proofing". There are therefore added enzymes to decompose the
proteins and allow their re-dissolution. The method of extracting the enzyme from the
papaya fruit is by using an amino acid "cysteine" which serves as an
antioxidant. Cysteine is extracted from animal & human hair.