In 1876, Adolphus Busch perfected the recipe, the brewing process and the taste of the American-Style Lager. While brewing technology has improved over the years, the 7-step process and the brewmaster’s role have stood the test of time.
Brewing brings together art and science. A brewmaster’s job is to control and to influence every step of the process to deliver a high-quality, consistent beer with every batch. Lagers like Budweiser and Bud Light are especially challenging and take about 30 days to brew, twice as long to make as many types of ale.
The 7 steps of the Budweiser brewing process are:
1. Milling: Barley malt and rice are ground and precisely weighed.
2. Mashing: Barley malt and rice are mixed with water; natural malt enzymes break down the starch from the grains into fermentable sugars.
3. Straining: The combined grain mash is strained, leaving a sugar-rich amber liquid called wort.
4. Brewkettle: Hops are added to the boiling wort in the brewkettles. Hops are the spice of beer, adding special flavor, aroma and character.
5. Primary Fermentation: The wort is cooled and clarified, and the yeast is added; for six days, the yeast ferments the wort to beer.
6. Beechwood Aging: During lagering, the beer is krausened, naturally carbonated and aged on beechwood chips for 21 days to mature the flavor of the beer. Anheuser-Busch is the only major brewer in the world using beechwood aging.
7. Finishing: To keep the lagered beer flavor and clarity intact after packaging, brewers must remove yeast and some unstable protein materials through a process called finishing. The beer is “chillproofed” and filtered for clarification before being released for packaging into bottles, cans or draught keys.
The result: a beer with perfectly balanced flavor and a crisp, clean refreshing taste.
Anheuser-Busch brewmasters personally oversee the entire process, and one of the most important steps is tasting. Each batch of Budweiser is tasted by our brewmasters at least 5 times during its life at the brewery. In addition, our brewmasters at all 12 U.S. breweries gather every day to check raw materials, taste samples of beers from various stages of the brewing process, and compare packaged beer between batches and breweries to ensure quality and consistency.