The art of brewing beer
Brewing beer is a 100% natural process. HEINEKEN got its start when its founder fundamentally improved the process by which beer was made in a brewery that had existed for 251 years. The basic recipe is still closely guarded, and the principles of its success have remained the same: quality ingredients and a perfectly controlled brewing process.
HEINEKEN beer is made from the purest ingredients. We use only malted barley, hops, water and yeast.
Barley Barley is the major raw material used in brewing beer. Before it can be used for brewing, the barley grain must be malted. Malting helps make the starch and protein (by its natural enzymes) in barley available for brewing by breaking down the natural cell wall that surrounds the starch. Starch will be converted to sugar, which will produce alcohol during fermentation. Malting also forms the colour and flavour that the barley will lend to the beer.
Hops Hops is one of the flavour-makers of beer, and also contributes to its shelf life. The resin from the female hop flower cones is used to help balance the sweetness of the barley with a refreshing bitterness.
Water Beer contains almost 95% water. Water plays an important part in giving beer its characteristic flavour, as different sources contribute to unique beer flavours.Clean, high quality water is essential not only to our beer, but also to life everywhere. We are actively working in the communities that we're a part of to protect clean water supplies.
Yeast Yeast converts malt sugars into alcohol during fermentation. There are two types: bottom and top fermenting yeast. Beers fermented with bottom yeast are called lagers and those that use top-fermenting yeast are called ales. In 1886 in Amsterdam, Dr.Elion, a student of Dr. Louis Pasteur, discovered the famous HEINEKEN A-yeast, a strain that is still used today only by HEINEKEN.
Beer contains gluten, which comes from the grain from which it is brewed. Gluten is a protein type naturally present in all grains, of which only a fraction ends up in the final beer. The proportion depends on the kind of grain that is used. The use of barley results only in traces of gluten in the beer whilst wheat contributes considerably more. It also depends on the brewing process. Generally speaking: the clearer and blonder the beer is, the less gluten it may contain.
Some people are allergic to gluten and have to follow a diet that minimises or excludes their gluten intake. Whether beer can be part of such a diet or not, is dependent on the extent of the allergy and the beer type consumed. In many cases lager beers pose no problem for people who have a gluten allergy. However, it is up to the individual to assess his or her sensitivity, and/or to consult a medical doctor or dietician in case of questions.
How beer is made
HEINEKEN beers are brewed using solely water, barley, hops and yeast. The barley is malted (soaked to initiate a natural geminating process), ground, mixed with water and then heated. Step by step, the temperature increases so that the starch in the malted barley is converted into sugars. After the solids have been filtered out, the result is 'wort' (malt sugars), which is then brought to the boil. During the boiling process the brewers add the hops. Using only the female flowers of the hops plant gives beer its characteristic bitter taste and improves its storability.
Fermentation, filtration and bottling After the wort has been boiled, the next step is fermentation. First, the wort has to be cooled down to 8 degrees Celsius. Yeast is added to the wort and the process of converting the sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide can then begin. This takes place in special fermentation tanks, where the beer remains for several days.
The result is 'young beer' which, when cooled down to freezing point, is pumped into storage cellars for post-fermentation. One of the aims of this storage is to improve the beer's taste and clarity, and help it keep longer. Once storage is completed, the remaining step is filtration, after which a superb-tasting, bright and clear beer is filled into bottles, can or kegs. Filling and bottling are automatic processes to ensure completely hygienic conditions.