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A Beer...for the Grown-Ups

Far from putting children off, beer's association with adulthood actually adds to their enthusiasm for watching and learning with this lovely little film.

Beer making is like brewing a cup of tea, but with a little bit of organic chemistry thrown in! The quality of the ingredients are all important of course, as is the quality of the water with which the ingredients will be mixed. So naturally enough, the film begins with the fields of barley from which our beer will be made, and the river that keeps the brewery supplied.

Far from being an unhealthy drink, beer was often considered the only drink that was safe. This was in the bad old days before people knew much about germs, and while drinking water was often full of them, the water in beer was always boiled and so the germs were killed. The alcohol in the beer then kept new germs at bay. So, provided you didn't drink too much of it, beer was often the best thing to quench your thirst with.

The film was made at the Black Sheep Brewery, a place filled with polished copper pipes, giant kettles, and wooden and slate vessels. As the film takes us through the delicate and skilful processes of brewing a perfect pint, you will learn about each of the special jobs that the brewer and his tools must get exactly right.

The basic idea is simple: bake your barley, boil it in water, and flavour it with hops. This leaves you with a sweet brown liquid that you can feed to clods of living yeast cells. The yeast produces gas for fizziness, and alcohol to give the beer strength and keep it clean.

When the yeast has done its work, the beer is filtered and stored in barrels topped up with fish innards; these are the 'finings' that brewers use to stop their beer from going dull and cloudy. A good beer must be pleasing to the eye, as well as to the pallet!

Duration: 5:04

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This film is also available on the DVD:
'The Magic of Making - Volume 4'.