The Process ~ Mash
It all starts with malted barley. Malting is the process that produces enzymes in the grain which, at the right temperatures, will convert the starches contained in the grain into fermentable sugar. Barley can be malted to many different degrees; from highly roasted chocolate malts (extremely dark) to a much lighter pale malt. Each type adds a different flavor and color to the beer.
A special combination of malts is then mixed with hot water in the mash tun. This "mash" is then held at specific temperatures for varying lengths of time to help determine the individual characteristics of the beer.
During this time the starches in the grain are converted into fermentable sugars.
The "lautering" process then washes the sugars from the grain with hot water. This produces the sweet "wort" (pronounced wert) which is pumped into the kettle. The spent grain makes great feed for local livestock.