Category:Fermented beverages

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Despite the varying names given to them, all fermented beverages (and many fermented foods) come from the same roots and share many of the same characteristics. This article discusses the varieties of fermented beverages and the differences between them.

Alcoholic beverages

When we speak about fermentation, alcoholic beverages like beer and wine come to mind first. These beverages are all created by essentially the same process; a sugar solution is created, then infected with one or more strains of yeast or bacteria which consume some of the sugar and convert it to alcohol.

Alcoholic beverages are usually called by one of several names based on the source of the sugar in the initial sugar solution. The most common sources are grain, fruit, and sugar, but other sources of fermentable sugars, such as vegetables, are sometimes used as well.

Beer and other grain-based beverages

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Most cereal grains are composed mainly of starch, which must be converted to sugar before it can be fermented. In the case of modern beer, this is done by malting the grain to encourage the growth of enzymes, then mashing it to allow the enzymes to convert the starch. The resulting sweet wort forms the basis for fermenting, usually by yeast but also by bacteria.

However, there are other ways to extract a fermentation base from grain. One parallel tradition involves baking the grain into bread and then soaking the bread in liquid to use as a fermentation base; this is how Kvass is produced. Chicha may be produced by mashing maize or by chewing it, allowing the enzymes in human saliva to create the same reaction. Sake is made by allowing a mold called koji to grow on rice; this mold creates the enzymes which convert the rice.

Wine and other fruit-based beverages

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Wine made from grapes is the most famous fruit-based beverage, and is usually considered its own category. However, there is very little difference in the fermentation process between grape wine and other fermented fruit beverages. The name of these other beverages varies depending on the fruit used. Fermenting apples gives cider or applewine; fermenting pears gives perry; fermenting most other fruits gives a beverage sometimes called country wine or sometimes simply referred to as "wine".

Mead and other sugar-based beverages

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Various sugars can be used as adjuncts when making other fermented beverages, such as beer and wine. However, any foodstuff high in sugar can be used as the basis for fermentation.

The most famous sugar fermentation is mead, which is a general term for a fermented beverage made with honey. However, other natural and refined sugar sources, such as maple sap or sugar cane or beet, can also form the basis for beverages with similar properties.

Kombucha is a beverage fermented from table sugar with the addition of tea as a flavoring. Toddy is one of many names for a fermented beverage popular in Africa and India made from the sap of certain types of palm tree.

Starches, blends, and other fermented beverages

Starchy foods, such as potatoes, cassava, manioc, and other starchy vegetables are also used to make some forms of indigenous fermented beverages. In a pinch, almost any plant material can form the basis of a fermented beverage; one example is Babine, a traditional beverage made in Zaire from the leaves of the avocado tree.

In addition, any number of fermentation sources can be blended in one beverage. A few of these mixtures have their own names, especially when honey is one of the fermentables; for example, a blend of honey and grain is called a braggot or a honey beer, and a blend of honey and grapes is called a pyment, and a blend of honey and apples is called a cyser. Fruit in general has long been an ingredient in ceratin styles of beer, and brewers are also beginning to explore the use of wine grapes in beer.

Non-alcoholic beverages

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Ginger Beer

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Kefir (alternately keefir, kephir, kewra, talai, mudu kekiya, milkkefir, búlgaros) is a fermented milk drink that originated in the Caucasus region. It is prepared by inoculating cow, goat, or sheep's milk with kefir grains. Traditional kefir was made in skin bags that were hung near a doorway, and the bag was knocked by everyone passing through the doorway to help keep the milk and kefir grains well mixed.[1]

Fermented Foods

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Fermentation (usually by non-alcohol-producing bacteria) can also be used to make foods such as cheese, bread, and sausage.


This category has the following 4 subcategories, out of 4 total.

Pages in category "Fermented beverages"

The following 4 pages are in this category, out of 4 total.