Thousands of different beers can be brewed with just four natural ingredients:
Beer consists of more than 90% water. Pure water is therefore an important ingredient for brewing good beer. Many breweries purify the water that they use even more so that it always has the right, special composition. Depending on the type of beer, this water may contain traces of minerals.
Grain is an important ingredient for the taste, alcohol and color of the beer. The brewer uses malting barley for most beers. This is a grain that is specially grown for brewing beer. Brewed barley contains a lot of starch and a specific amount of proteins (between 9.5% and 10.5%). Brewed barley is first malted before it is suitable for brewing. Other grains are also suitable for brewing beer. For example, wheat (malt) is an important constituent of wheat beer. But beer is also sometimes brewed with oats, corn and even rice.
Hops is a climbing plant that occurs naturally in the Netherlands. The brewer uses the flowers of the female hop plant to give beer the characteristic bitter taste. In addition, hop gives firmness to beer foam and is a natural preservative. In addition to hops, the brewer can also choose to use other flavorings in the beer. Think of herbs such as anise, coriander or licorice. Fruits, whether or not processed, are also used in some beers. The best known examples are orange peel in some white beers or cherries in kriek beer.
Yeast is indispensable for making beer. Yeast is a single-cell species that is able to convert sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. In addition, it is also an important seasoning. Each yeast strain (yeast culture) has its own aroma and taste and, in combination with the other ingredients, ensures a unique beer. If the yeast remains in the beer, the beer is cloudy. For clear beers, the yeast is filtered before filling.