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Alcoholic beverage made by the fermentation of cereals; traditionally barley, but also maize, rice, and sorghum. The first step is the malting of barley: it is allowed to sprout, when the enzyme amylase hydrolyses some of the starch to dextrins and maltose. The sprouted (malted) barley is dried, then extracted with hot water (the process of mashing) to produce wort. After the addition of hops for flavour, the wort is allowed to ferment. Two types of yeast are used in brewing: top-fermenting yeasts, which float on the surface of the wort, and bottom or deep fermenters. Most traditional British beers (ale, bitter, stout, and porter) are brewed with top-fermenting yeasts. See also barley wine.

UK beers, brown ale, and stout: around 3% alcohol by volume, 2–4% carbohydrate, 75–110 kcal (315–460 kJ) per 300 mL (half pint). Strong ale is 6.6% alcohol, 6% carbohydrate, 210 kcal (880 kJ) per 300 mL (half pint). Ale is a light-coloured beer, relatively high in alcohol content, and moderately heavily hopped. Bitter beers are darker and contain more hops. Porter and stout are almost black in colour; they are made from wort containing some partly charred malt; milk stout is made from wort containing added lactose. Porter was first brewed in London in 1722, as a low cost beer for market porters.

Lager is the traditional mainland European type of beer, sometimes called Pilsner lager or Pils, since the original lager was brewed in Pilsen in Bohemia. It is brewed by deep fermentation.

Lambic, geuze, and weisse are strong sour beers made from barley or wheat, mainly in Belgium and Germany. Krieken lambic is cherry flavoured.

Subjects: Medicine and Health — Cookery, Food, and Drink.

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