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Beer is produced mainly through a process known as fermentation

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Introduction

BEER PRODUCTION Beer is produced mainly through a process known as fermentation. Fermentation is a result of anaerobic respiration of the yeast in the "wort" - the mash of barley and wheat that the beer is brewed from. How does this work, and what is anaerobic respiration? Some organisms can survive while they get their energy without oxygen gas being directly involved in their "breathing". Respiration is a complex chain of chemical reactions that releases energy from energy-rich molecules, such as sugars. The cell needs the energy to be able to work properly. During respiration, the cells move electrons around, using complex chemical reactions. ...read more.

Middle

The respiration during fermentation is anaerobic, or 'without oxygen'. When yeast respires without oxygen it produces alcohol, and this is really very important. The yeast makes the alcohol that makes alcoholic drinks alcoholic. This alcohol is actually a waste product of the cells, along with carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide gas helps make the beer fizzy. Alcohol and carbon dioxide might be waste products for the yeast cells, but they certainly are not a waste product for the man down in the pub, with a nice head on his beer. Here is a basic form of the fermentation equation, which you might find useful: Fermentation breaks down sugars to form alcohol, carbon dioxide, and energy. ...read more.

Conclusion

As the grapes are trodden into a pulp, the sugary juices from inside the grape and the yeast from the surface are mixed up. The yeast turns the sugar into alcohol, but it doesn't do this because it likes us and wants to do us a favour. It does this because it is 'feeding' on the sugar and breaking the sugar down to get energy to live. We do something very similar with the sugar in our bodies. The process is called RESPIRATION. In humans we use oxygen to break the sugar down and so this is called AEROBIC RESPIRATION. Fermentation does not use oxygen so it is called ANAEROBIC RESPIRATION. Glucose ? ethanol + carbon dioxide + energy To carry this out the yeast cells produce enzymes to break the glucose down. ...read more.

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