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It may be one of the oldest alcoholic beverages known to man, but how much do you know about the brew that goes into the bottle? Taste our suds-soaked quiz and find out.
1. The four main ingredients in beer are:
A: Malt, water, sugar, hops
B: Water, hops, yeast and malts
C: Wheat, water, yeast, hops
D: Sugar, yeast, wheat, water
2. Wort is:
A: A virus-derived flaw that infects beer during the brewing process
B: The liquidy leftovers from steeping and then straining crushed brew grains in hot water
C: A batch of beer that goes bad during the brewing process
D: Something I don’t even want to associate with beer, thank you very much!
3. Which is not a style of beer:
D: They’re all styles of beer.
4. What does IBU mean?
A: A hop-laden style of beer
B: Another term for ABV
C: The scale that measures a beer’s bitterness
D: The International Beer University, renowned for its topnotch brewer’s ed program
5. Which statement is accurate:
A: Ales ferment at warmer temperatures with yeast on top whereas lagers ferment cooler and from the bottom.
B: Lagers ferment at warmer temperatures with yeast on top, where as ales ferment cooler and from the bottom.
C: Both ales and lagers ferment at the same temperature from the top.
D: Both ales and lagers ferment at the same temperature from the bottom.
6. Hops may be added at different times during the brewing process:
C: Stop with the quiz already, we’re ready for a beer!
7. Which of the following is a type of hop?
D: All of the above.
E: None of the above.
8. A beer engine is:
A: The motorized mechanism that powers an electronic brewing system.
B: An experimental car motor converted to run on beer.
C: A manual pump used to dispense cask beers.
D: Beer engine? Good question, but I cracked open a beer three questions ago!
1. B. How can four such seemingly simple ingredients transform into one of the world’s most complex beverages? The German Purity Law (also known as the Reinheitsgebot) of 1516 stated that beer could only be made from water, hops and grain (this was before the discovery of yeast, which was later added to the list), and today, many brewers still adhere to these guidelines. Of course, other brewers experiment with additional ingredients, but when it comes to beer basics, the combination of water, hops, yeast and malts is typically the place they’ll start.
2. B. Wort is a key component to the brewing process. Essentially a soup made by steeping crushed malts in hot water to convert the starches to sugars (these sugars will later act as yeast food), the wort is this strained liquid that gets transferred to the brew kettle before hops and yeasts are added.
3. D. Didn’t recognize a single one? With hundreds of different styles of beers, it can be hard to know what’s what, but as you continue your beer studies, be sure to expand your tastings beyond traditional Pilsners and pales—a veritable world of beer awaits! And just in case you’re taking notes: Roggenbiers are similar to hefeweizens with rye subbed in for wheat; rauchbiers are rich and smoky, thanks to the use of malts smoked over an open flame; and grodziskies are old-fashioned European brews made entirely from smoked wheat malts and bucket loads of hops.
4. C. Though we think the International Beer University would make an awesome alma mater, IBU actually stands for “international bitterness unit” and measures the bitterness in a beer. Low-IBU beers tend to have a subtle hop profile, while beers with higher IBUs (double IPA, anyone?) tend to offer up a considerable hop wallop with every sip.
5. A. Remember this: lagers lie, as in the yeasts in lager production lie at the bottom of the tank and ferment the beer slowly and at a cool temperature. Ales, on the other hand, ferment from the top at warmer temperatures that speed up the overall fermentation process. Can you detect a difference between the two? You bet. Lagers are traditionally light and crisp, whereas ales can be fuller-bodied.
6. A. Depending on the style of beer being made, brewers may call on different hops at different times throughout the brewing process. Some hops are used for aroma, some for flavor and others for bitterness, and all may be added to the brew kettle at different times.
7. D. From Fuggles to Saaz, and a host of others in between, the variety of hops available to brewers continues to grow. In Europe, Germany and the Czech Republic dominate the hop fields, and in the U.S. hops mostly stretch their bines along the West Coast, throughout Washington State, Oregon, Idaho and California.
8. C. (Though if you answered D we’ll give you a pass). Cask beers are gravity-fed, meaning they rely on a beer engine to manually pump a beer from the firkin (aka: cask) through the tap and into your glass, as opposed to the more common practice of using gas to push a beer through the draft line.
7-8 correct: Bottoms up—you deserve a beer! Clearly you enjoy not only a frosty pint (or two), but also the knowledge that comes with it. Still, beer education is on going, therefore we recommend you continue on with your studies—perhaps with a pint of roggenbier, witbier or grodziskie.
4-6 correct: Nice work, your beer studies are coming along quite well. You’re somewhat acquainted with the study of suds, yet could still stand to take a few more sips. Why not read up on starting your own beer cellar, learn about this lesser-known style of beer and drink in this boundary-pushing brew?
0-3 correct: Quick—somebody pour you a beer! You’ve got a lot to learn, but thankfully you’re in for a mighty tasty study session. Your homework? Read up on all-American beer styles (like this story on cream ales or this one on lagers) and learn about some of the different hop varieties sweeping modern suds (in this story)—but not before taking a trip to your local bottle shop to pick up a mixed six-pack of new-to-you brews.