An introduction to wort
Wort is a liquid containing malt sugars that is created during the beer brewing saccrification process. During saccrification, the starches in the malts are broken down and converted into sugars.
By adding hops to the liquid and boiling, hop extracts are infused into mixture.
Yeast then feed on the natural sugars in the word to produce the alcohol and carbon dioxide found in the final product.
Pure spring infusion water
Europe, where beer grew up as part of the local culture, typically has hard water with a high mineral content. Japan’s water sources, on the other hand, tend to be soft and contain fewer minerals.
At Coedo, we think of the infusion water we use as the medium in which delicate beers are suspended and contained—and as such, its importance cannot be overemphasized. For this reason, we always use soft, natural spring water.
We never add or remove minerals, but instead use the water nature provides in its pure state. This is because we are convinced that the Japanese terrain can also provide a perfect environment in which to brew beer.
Starch to sugar (saccrification)
Once the crushed malts are released into the infusion water, our artisans carefully and deliberately begin raising the temperature of the mixture. As the heat and ph level are adjusted, the enzymes that had been lying dormant in the malts begin to activate, converting the starches held inside the malts into sugar. The brewers keep an eye on the equipment inside the mash tun as they gently stir the malts suspended in the water (a mixture known as mash) to get them to spread out in a uniform way.
Eventually, steam begins to rise from the mixture, carrying with it a sweet, delicate aroma.
Bringing out the flavor
During the saccrification process, we use an infusion method to raise the temperature of the entire mash mixture. We remove a portion of the mash and heat it to boiling, then return it to the wort in the mash tun to heat the entire mixture. This traditional method is called decoction, and is used in different ways depending on the type of beer being brewed.
Painstaking attention to detail as we bring out the flavors of the malt results in beers that are uncommonly rich and delicious.
Once a sufficient amount of sugar is formed in the mash, the mixture is transferred to a filtering vessel. If the wort is left to rest in the filtering vessel, the large husks from the crushed malts will move to the bottom, while the smaller husks will float to the top, naturally separating the mixture into different layers.
These layers then serve as natural filters, and the wort gradually turns into a clear amber liquid.
This process is actually quite similar to the natural purification process of water, where rain falls and begins to penetrate through the various levels of earth—soil, pebbles, rocks, and so on—eventually gushing forth as a clear spring.
This is just another reminder that beer is just another beautiful part of nature.
Once the wort is made, hops are added in and the mixture is boiled to complete it.
Hops are the cones that grow on a perennial flowering vine that has been traditionally cultivated in the cooler climates of central Europe—where the beer culture originally developed. Hopes grown to add just the right bouquet are called aromatic hops, while those grown to have the perfect bitterness are called bitter hops. The best way to think of hops is as a herb that is added to flavor the beer. Hops have an incredibly distinctive aroma, which is by turns described as grassy, flowery, citrusy, spicy, piney, earthy, or woody.
Noble hops have been cherished as a certain kind of aromatic hops that are exceedingly fragrant and particularly mild in terms of bitterness. Noble hops have a long tradition, and are known by four different names depending on the region in which they grow: Hallertau, Tettnanger, Spalt, and Saaz.
Hops can be said to be grown over latitude 35 degrees. In more recent years, original strains of high-quality hops are being discovered and unveiled in parts of the New World that share the central European climate, including North America, New Zealand, and Tasmania. We look forward to the development of new varieties in Japan, followed by well known “Sorachi Ace” which was developed in 1980s in Hokkaido of Japan.
From wort to beer
Spring water, malt, and hops.
Once it is chilled, wort that skillfully balances its three natural ingredients will be introduced to its better half—the yeast that will turn it into beer.
The most exciting part of the brewing process is yet to come.