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The science of alcohol
The science of alcohol

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2.4 Fermentation

Following the boil, the wort is run into a vessel called the hopback (Figure 8, Step 6), where the hops settle and the wort is strained and transferred into a fermentation vessel. Next follows rapid cooling to a temperature at which yeast can be added (approximately 16–17°C). When the yeast is added to the wort the actual process of fermentation begins.

As a chemical equation, this would be written as:

cap c sub six times cap h sub 12 times cap o sub six right arrow sum with, 3 , summands two times cap c sub two times cap h sub five times cap o times cap h plus two times cap c times cap o sub two plus e times n times e times r times g times y
(Eqn 1)
  • Can you write out an equivalent word equation for the process of fermentation?

  • Sugar/glucose → ethanol + carbon dioxide + energy.

The time needed for fermentation varies between breweries, but at Hook Norton it is around one week. Following completion of fermentation the beer is transferred into a new tank, sometimes referred to as a conditioning tank or, at Hook Norton, casks.

You will learn about the process of conditioning and storage in Week 4 and see how it further impacts on the finished beer.