Difference between Whiskey and Beer
Key Difference: Whiskey or whisky is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from any form of fermented grain mash. Depending on the geographical region or type of whiskey that is being made, whiskey can be made from barley, malted barley, rye, malted rye, wheat, and corn. They are often aged in charred barrels. Beer is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages that is available and consumed world-wide. Beer is commonly made from malted barley or malted wheat and flavored with hops, herbs or fruits (occasionally).
Whiskey and beer are completely two different drinks that are both considered as alcoholic beverages. People that are just entering the world of different alcoholic beverages that are available often confuse many drinks. However, almost everyone is aware that beer and whiskey are actually two different drinks. They are made using different ingredients, different processes and have different tastes.
Whiskey or whisky is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from any form of fermented grain mash. Depending on the geographical region or type of whiskey that is being made, whiskey can be made from barley, malted barley, rye, malted rye, wheat, and corn. They are often aged in charred barrels. According to Wikipedia, the word ‘whiskey’ is the anglicisation of the Gaelic word ‘uisce|uisge’ meaning “water”. Distilled water was known in Latin as aqua vitae meaning “water of life”. The process of distillation can be dated back to the Greeks in Alexandria around the 3rd century AD; however they did not distill alcohol only spirits for fragrance purposes. The distillation process was passed down through the ages to Italy in the 13th century AD where the first distillation process of alcohol took place and alcohol was distilled from wine. The alcohol was originally used for medicinal purposes before it become consumable as a beverage. Whiskey first become popular as a beverage in Scotland before it spread to other neighboring countries.
There are various different types of whiskey and they differ in terms of base product, alcoholic content and quality. The main two types include malt whisky and grain whisky. Malt whisky is made primarily from malted barley, while grain whisky is made from any type of grain. Malting is when the grain is put under the process of germination. Germination requires the barley being placed in water for a certain amount of time and being constantly turned to ensure proper soaking. Whiskies can further be classified under:
- Single malt whisky: is whisky that is from a single distillery and is made from a mash that uses only one particular type of malted grain.
- Blended malt whisky: is a blend of different malt whiskies from different distilleries.
- Blended whiskies: is whiskey that is made from a mixture of malt and grain whiskies along with neutral spirits, caramel, and flavoring.
- Cask strength: These whiskies are bottled directly from the cask and are undiluted or only a little diluted. These are rare whiskies.
- Single cask: Each bottle of a single barrel whiskey is from an individual cask with the cask number labeled on the bottle.
Whiskies must be strengthened and aged in a barrel. They do not mature in the bottle, hence if a person keeps the whiskey bottle over a long time, it would not become any stronger in flavor or alcohol content. The alcohol content and mash content varies depending on the regulations of the geographic region. The whiskies require a charred oak barrel during the aging process, which provides them with the golden brown and amber coloring. Additional flavors and colors can be added to the alcohol depending on the regulations.
Beer is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages that is available and consumed world-wide. It is also the third most popular drink following water and tea. Beer is an alcoholic beverage produced by the saccharification of starch and fermentation of the resulting sugar. Beer is commonly made from malted barley or malted wheat and flavored with hops, herbs or fruits (occasionally). Beer has been around since the early Neolithic or 9500 BC, when cereal was farmed. The first recorded history of beer is found in the texts of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. According to many archeologists, beer may have been a crucial instrument in forming civilizations.
Beer recipe has also been found in a hymn to goddess Ninkasi in some of the earliest Sumerian writings. The modern beer that is made today was developed in 1516, when William IV, Duke of Bavaria adopted a food regulation known as Reinheitsgebot. The regulation only allowed the use of water, hops and barley-malt in beer. The producing of the beer is known as brewing, while places that are only dedicated to producing beer are known as breweries. Brewing can happen in either a brewery or at home. Producing beer at home or in small amounts is known as homebrewing.
The process of producing beer requires putting the ingredients through a strict process. First malted barley or malted wheat is added to hot water to create a mash, this is known as mashing and is done in a mash tun. The hot water turns the starch into sugars and create a sweet liquid known as wort. The wort is then filtered and separated from the mash into another container which is made of copper and is also known as copper. The remaining grain in the mash tun can be put through another process of washing to collect more fermentable liquid. However, the beer created from this liquid will be weak. The wort that was placed in the copper is boiled for an hour to separate the water from the starch and during this process hops are added to the liquid to give it a sweet, bitter flavor. The longer the hops are boiled, the stronger the flavor. The liquid is then filtered and cooled in another container. Some breweries may put the liquid through another batch of hops during filtering to provide a stronger taste and aroma. After the liquid cools, it is then added with yeast and left to ferment, which can take from a week to a month depending on the strength of the yeast and the beer. Once the yeast settles, the beer is then filtered into kegs, bottles or cans for distribution. Some breweries may also add clarifying agents to the beer to make the beer appear clear and bright.
There are various different varieties of beer:
- Pale Ale: This is a type of beer that uses top-fermenting yeast.
- Stout: Stouts and porters are beers that are darker in color and use roasted malted wheat or barley. These are also brewed with slow fermenting yeast.
- Mild: These beers have a predominantly malty palate. They are dark colored and have an ABV of 3% to 3.6% and can go up to 6%.
- Wheat: Wheat beer is brewed largely from malted wheat and uses only a small portion of malted barley.
- Lager: Lager is the English name for cool fermenting beers of Central European origin. It uses bottom fermenting yeast.
- Lambic: This is a Belgium beer that uses wild yeasts for fermenting.
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