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alcoholic beverage made by brewing and fermenting cereals, especially malted barley, usually with the addition of hopshop,
herbaceous perennial vine of the family Moraceae (mulberry family), widely cultivated since early times for brewing purposes. The commercial hop (Humulus lupulus
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 as a flavoring agent and stabilizer. One of the oldest of alcoholic beverages (there is archaeological evidence dating to c.3000 B.C.), beer was well known in ancient Egypt, where it may have been made from bread. At first brewed chiefly in the household and monastery, it became in late medieval times a commercial product and is now made by large-scale manufacture in almost every industrialized country, especially Great Britain, Germany, the Czech Republic, and the United States.

Although British, European, and American beers can differ markedly in flavor and content, brewing processes are similar. A mash, prepared from crushed malt (usually barley), water, and, often, cereal adjuncts such as rice and corn, is heated and rotated in the mash tun to dissolve the solids and permit the malt enzymes to convert the starch into sugar. The solution, called wort, is drained into a copper vessel, where it is boiled with the hops (which provide beer with its bitter flavor), then run off for cooling and settling. After cooling, it is transferred to fermenting vessels where yeast is added, converting the sugar into alcohol. Modern beers, typically lighter than ancient, contain about 3% to 6% alcohol.

Beers fall into two broad categories. Ales are made with yeast that ferments more quickly at warmer temperatures and tends to rise to the surface. Lagers use yeast that ferments more slowly at cooler temperatures and tends to settle, and they are aged at cold temperatures for weeks or months, hence the name [Ger., Lager=storage place]. Most major American beers are lagers; many are Bohemian Pilsners, a golden-hued lager. Bock beer, said to take its name from Einbeck, Prussia, where it was first made, is a heavier, usually darker lager. Pale ale is generally a light to dark amber, strongly hopped beer. Porter is a strong, dark ale brewed with the addition of roasted malt to give flavor and color. Stout, an ale which is darker and maltier than porter, has a more pronounced hop aroma and may attain an alcoholic content of 6% to 7%. Light, or low-calorie, beer is lower in alcohol content. Ice beer is a higher-alcohol beer produced by chilling below 32°F; (0°C;) and filtering out the ice crystals that form.

In the 1980s, consumer dissatisfaction with the taste and choice offered by major breweries led to the growth of more traditional "craft" breweries and microbreweries—firms that produce fewer than 15,000 barrels annually—especially in the United States. By 2010 there were in the United States several dozen regional craft breweries, more than 600 microbreweries, and more than 1,000 brewpubs (a microbrewery that sells mainly through its own restaurant or bar).


See G. Oliver, ed., The Oxford Companion to Beer (2011).


(bē`ər), in the Bible. 1 Unidentified place, to which Gideon's son Jotham fled. 2 Unidentified place, E of the Dead Sea between the Arnon and the Jordan, where Israel camped and dug a well. The little song quoted is one of the oldest poetic pieces in the Bible.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Beer, asteroid 1,896 (the 1,896th asteroid to be discovered, on October 26, 1971), is approximately 6.6 kilometers in diameter and has an orbital period of 3.8 years. Beer was named after the prominent astronomer, Arthur Beer, who was a spectroscopist and spectrophotometrist. J. Lee Lehman, perhaps unaware of the astronomer Beer, gives this asteroid a “literal” interpretation, associating it with addiction, particularly addiction to alcoholic substances.


Kowal, Charles T. Asteroids: Their Nature and Utilization. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Ellis Horwood Limited, 1988.
Lehman, J. Lee. The Ultimate Asteroid Book. West Chester, PA: Whitford Press, 1988.
Schwartz, Jacob. Asteroid Name Encyclopedia. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1995.
The Astrology Book, Second Edition © 2003 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an aromatic, carbonated beverage with a low alcoholic content and with the bitter taste of hops. Beer is produced by the fermentation of wort from barley malt, hops, and water. To produce different types of beer the barley malt is partially replaced by rice, corn, or barley flour, as well as by sugar. Beer is a refreshing, thirst-quenching beverage. The various types of beer contain anywhere from 4 to 10 percent of easily assimilated nutrients, mainly carbohydrates, a small amount of amino acids, other products of protein metabolism, and minerals. In addition, beer contains 1.8–6 percent alcohol, 0.3–0.4 percent carbon dioxide, organic acids, and bitter substances and tannins from the hops.

The manufacturing process involves making the malt from the barley, producing the wort, fermenting the wort with brewer’s yeast, aging, filtration, and bottling. In malting it is necessary to clean and sort the barley, soak the grains, germinate the grains to form the malt, dry the green malt, remove the shoots, and soften the malt. The dried malt has a sweetish taste and characteristic odor. The wort is obtained by polishing and grinding the malt and then mixing it with water. The resulting mash undergoes various fermentation processes at certain temperatures. The most important of these processes is the conversion of the malt’s starch to sugar. The mash is filtered when the conversion is completed, and the transparent wort is boiled with hops. As a result, the wort becomes light and aromatic. The hops are then removed, and the wort is cooled in settling vats in closed plate heat-exchange units.

The wort is fermented with special types of brewers’ yeasts in special containers at a temperature of 5°–9°C for seven or eight days (depending on the type of beer). The fermentable material forms alcohol and carbon dioxide. After fermentation, the young beer is aged in closed cylindrical vessels (lager tanks), in which the temperature is 0°–2°C. The beer becomes filled with carbon dioxide, undergoes clarification, and takes on a full flavor. Aging lasts 21 to 90 days. There are also continual and accelerated beer-brewing processes, in which the fermentation and aging steps are shortened. After aging, the beer is filtered to remove the yeast and then bottled.

There are dark and light beers. Light beer has a subtle aroma and a distinct bitterness from the hops. Dark beer is less bitter and tastes more of malt. Light malt is used to make the light varieties, while dark beers are made with special dark or caramel malts.

Light beers of the USSR include Zhigulevskoe, Leningrad-skoe, and Rizhskaia; among the dark beers are Ostankinskoe, Ukrainskoe, and Porter.


Mal’tsev, P. M. Tekhnologiia soloda i piva. Moscow, 1964.
Chukmasov, M. A., and N. M. Lazarev. Tekhnologiia i oborudovanie pivovarennogo proizvodstva. Moscow, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(food engineering)
A lightly hopped, fermented malt beverage brewed by bottom fermentation.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. an alcoholic drink brewed from malt, sugar, hops, and water and fermented with yeast
2. a slightly fermented drink made from the roots or leaves of certain plants
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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