Both wine and beer are alcoholic beverages. The alcoholic content of beer ranges from 2.4% to 12% (stout).Wines has an alcoholic content of 12% to 18%. This is much less than the alcoholic content of rum (35% to 75%) or whiskey (40% to 60%).
Both beer and alcohol are mild alcoholic beverages and wine is often considered more as an accompaniment to fine dining. Wine is also often called a ladies drink. If wine is a lady’s drink then beer is clearly a beginner’s drink. Mild beers have a pleasant taste and give a very mild kick, making it easy for first time drinkers to join in the party.
There are four basic ingredients in beer: barley, water, hops and yeast. The process involves extracting the sugars from the grain (barley), adding yeast which turns it into alcohol and CO2.
The steps in beer making are:
Malting – After harvesting the grain is processed. Barley is the grain most commonly used, but wheat and rye also work. Processing the grain involves heating, drying and cracking. Thus the enzymes needed for brewing are extracted.
Mashing – The processed grains are steeped in hot, but not boiling, water for about an hour. This activates the enzymes that can break down and release the sugars present in the grain. After an hour the water is drained out leaving sticky, sweet liquid called wort.
Boiling – Next the wort is boiled for an hour. Hops and other spices are added several times during the process of boiling. Hops are small green fruit of a vine plant. They are shaped like cones. Hops are added to provide a bitterness to balance out the sweetness of the wort. They also improve the flavour, but their most important function is to act as a natural preservative.
Fermentation – After the wort is cooked it is strained and filtered and put in a filtering vessel. Yeast is added and the beer is left to ferment for a couple of weeks, at room temperature in the case of ales and at colder temperatures as with lagers. During this process the yeast consumes the sugars and produces CO2 and alcohol as a waste product.
Bottling – Once the fermentation is complete the beer is bottled. At this stage the beer is un-carbonated and flat. The flat beer may be carbonated artificially as is done with soda. Alternatively the beer may be carbonated naturally by the CO2 being produced by the yeast.
Ageing – Beer can be aged for a few weeks and up to a few months.
Young adults need to be at least eighteen years before they can legally drink beer.
Beer is the universal chill out drink and it is associated with youth and merriment.
The art of making wine out of grapes has been part of human history for the last 5,000 years. Records of wine making in Egypt date back to 2500 BCE. The Old Testament often refers to wine. The Ancient Middle Eastern cultures knew and practised the art of wine making.
The basic ingredient in wine is grapes. The grape V. vinifera is the standard species used in Europe. In North America V. labrusca is used. The fermented juice of any species of grape, extracted through a process of crushing and pressing, is called a wine. If any other fruit is used the name of the fruit is mentioned such as blackberry wine or peach wine.
Wine making – The process has many less steps than beer making. Home- made wine is very common, especially among the Italians. Grapes are harvested and the stems are removed. The grapes are then pulped to extract the juice. This is done by crushing and pressing. If making red wine the juice is left to ferment in the pulp. In the process of making white wine the juice is strained out and then left to ferment.
The technique of using a cork stopper and pasteurization has made it possible to age wine for more than a year without the risk of spoilage.