Science behind beer flavor and aroma

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At this point in our brewing careers, we each know the simple ingredients that are used to create delicious, refreshing beer. Do you know how your hops, malt, yeast, and water play critical roles in the final taste profile of each of your brews? Let’s dig a bit deeper into each ingredient in this article of the Session.

We start with malt, one of the most important ingredients in beer. One can liken the malt of a beer to the foundation of a house, and how it builds the flavor profile for each brew. Malt is a sprouted grain that can be roasted to different degrees–from light to dark. Light roasting of malt leads to a sweet, pale malt flavor while dark roasts provide a richer flavor to your finished beer. At the Session, we recommend using a high proportion of wheat malt in order to achieve a light, crisp spring/summer flavor as the seasons begin to change!

After settling on our malt, the next key ingredient in determining your brew flavor profile is hops. Do you like drinking a beer with a bit of bitterness to the taste? Do you like your brew to have a nice, refreshing, citrusy aroma? If you answered yes to both, add more hops to your brew! Beer that has that floral scent and leaves a drinker with a bit of a kick on the palate is full of hops. Controlling the amount of hops you add to your brew will have a huge impact on the final flavor.

Yeast and water–the final two ingredients to create your beer–also will play a significant role in how your brew tastes! When picking your yeast, ensure you choose a strain that produces a flavor you prefer–from fruity, to spicy, to subtle, to earthy, and more!

Similarly, the quality of the water you brew with will differentiate your beer flavor. For example, water high in calcium will give your beer a crisp, clean flavor while water high in sulfate will leave your brew with a dry, bitter flavor.

In conclusion, despite beer only having four ingredients (including water), each ingredient makes a dramatic difference in your beer flavor. Be sure to do your research before purchasing ingredients to guarantee the flavors you are looking for in your final product. From The Session, brew well, be happy, and CHEERS!

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