This section is from the book "Practical Dietetics With Special Reference To Diet In Disease", by William Gilman Thompson. Also available from Amazon: Practical Dietetics with Special Reference to Diet in Disease.
The lager-beer industry was introduced into the United States about the year 1842.
Beer contains alcohol in strength varying between 3 and 8 volumes per cent (sometimes even 10 per cent). Besides this alcohol and much water, beer contains a variety of ingredients, such as bitter and resinous extractives from hops, sugar, dextrin, albuminates, glycerin, free acids, and ash - the latter only as a trace. The sugar of beer is fattening, and the bitter matter is more or less of a stomachic tonic.
By process of manufacture much beer is made to contain only water, alcohol, and bitter principles. Hop extracts possess a narcotic influence, and hence beer may give rise to drowsiness, whereas other alcoholic beverages - Kke champagne or whisky - prove enlivening. This effect is, however, quite variable.
Beer produces biliousness in persons of weak digestion. It is sometimes called "fluid bread," but the expression conveys a wholly exaggerated idea of its food value, although it is certainly fattening when drunk in large quantity.
Malt is the name given to any germinating cereal, but to prepare it for beer brewing, malt is made from barley grains as follows: The grain is steeped in water at a temperature which causes germination and the development of diastase. It is next couched and "floored," during which process germination continues, and it is finally kiln-dried.
Brewing of beer is accomplished as follows: The prepared barley malt is first cleaned by screening, sifting, and blowing, is crushed and then "mashed " or infused with water in large tubs at a proper temperature. This process extracts the existing sugar and dextrin and aids in converting the residue of starch into maltose and dextrin. The "wort" thus formed is a solution of diastase, dextrin, sugar, proteids, and salts. It is drawn off, and the residue of grain is washed with hot water by a process called "sparging," which extracts any remaining useful material. The wort is run into copper kettles and boiled for about four hours. During the last hour hops are poured in. The boiling concentrates the wort, extracts the hop essence or lupulin with tannin, causes coagulation and precipitation of any albuminous substance, and finally it checks further fermentation for the time being. The wort is next cooled and yeast is added in the proportion of about a pound to the barrel. The yeast sets up a new fermentation, which converts the saccharine substances into alcohol and carbon-dioxide gas. This fermentation is retarded by continued application of cold.
When it is concluded, the beer is drawn into settling tuns, and then into casks, where it is stored from five to eight months, after which it is ready for bottling. While resting in the casks the beer is subjected to " fining " - i. e., beech-tree shavings are added to it, to collect any floating solid particles. This process allows so much carbonic acid to escape that a second fermentation is sometimes set up by adding new beer to the old in the proportion of 1 to 5.
Beer which is kept long fermenting increases in alcohol and diminishes in extractives. Its natural intensity of colour varies with the method of drying the malt, and increases with long boiling.
White beer is brewed from wheat instead of rye. It is less clear than rye beer, paler, and more frothy and sour.
The low Bavarian beer is fermented by a variety of saccharo-myces, which acts at a temperature of 6° to 8° C.
Certain varieties of saccharomyces, acting at different temperatures, set up undesirable fermentation in both beer and wine, making them sour, and developing peculiar odours.
Ale is made from pale malt by processes resembling the brewing of beer. It contains from 3 to 6 per cent of alcohol. Strongly alcoholic ales are less used than formerly, having been largely supplanted by the lighter varieties and by beer. The amount of hops used determines the bitterness of the ale, and their aromatic bitter principles furnish the peculiar flavour. Bitter ale has been so far fermented as to contain but little sugar.
Porter is made from pale malt with the addition of high dried malt, which gives it colour and flavour. It contains about 6 per cent of alcohol, and is regarded as more digestible than ale of the same alcoholic strength (Pavy). Both ale and porter contain sugar and acid, but these substances are present in less degree in malt liquors than in wines.
Stout is similar to porter, but is characterised by a preponderance of extractives.
The stronger malt liquors, such as porter, stout, and heavy ales, are nutritive and fattening.
All stale, flat malt liquors without a "head " are apt to nauseate and prove unwholesome.