The most widely used cereal is barley as it is the best suited to malting. The malting process transforms starch into fermentable sugars. To do so, the ideal conditions of humidity, oxygen and temperature must first be reached to facilitate the germination of the barley. Warm air then dries and toasts the cereal, curbing the internal transformation of the grain until it is used at the brewery.
Once the barley has been transformed into malt, the Master Brewers must extract its full potential: flavouring and colour properties, sugars, proteins, vitamins and minerals. This is achieved by grinding the cereal to extract the enzymes, which give Alhambra beers their specific flavour and characteristics.
Once the best water has been selected, it is simmered slowly and the ground malt is added, mixed with corn starch to provide freshness and mildness. At this stage, the enzymes present in the cereal are transformed into fermentable sugars, which will be broken down by the yeast to ultimately create beer.
The malt must not be ground too intensely. This would hamper the necessary process of filtering the wort to remove the husk from the malt. The husk must be removed once it has provided its valuable enzymes. The process is similar to that of a strainer removing bran from cereal.
Once the wort has been filtered, it is boiled for two reasons: on one hand, for sterilisation purposes and, on the other, to remove a small amount of water through evaporation.
The Master Brewers add their blend of hops at certain temperatures and for a specific amount of time. If the hops are added at the initial stage of the process, they add bitterness to the beer. If they are added at the second stage, they add flavour. Aromas are obtained by adding the hops at the end. The recipe of each beer varies to obtain the desired aroma and flavour.
After boiling and hopping, a new sediment is formed in the beer. Based on a process known as whirlpooling, the hopped wort is filtered to produce each variety of Alhambra beer.
After removing the final sediment from the hops the wort is cooled. Yeast is extremely temperature-sensitive when exceeded. The hopped and filtered wort must be introduced at the temperature at which the yeasts function, depending on whether they are Lager (6-13 degrees) or Ale (15-24 degrees) yeasts.
During fermentation, the yeast breaks down the sugars from the wort and transforms them into alcohol and carbon dioxide (C20), creating aromatic substances that are unparalleled in terms of their complexity and delicacy. This must be done at a controlled temperature, low (6-13 degrees) or high (15-24 degrees), depending on the type of yeast used. If it is fermented at a higher temperature, Ale will be obtained, and at a lower temperature, Lager.
After fermentation, the beer is left to rest at a cold and controlled temperature in order to mature and round off its flavour. This process is extremely important, especially in the case of Lager, as the beer is kept at a low temperature so that it can mature, settle and so that any unwanted natural flavours, which are characteristic of young beer, disappear. Furthermore, elements that appear as a result of its production are deposited on the bottom of the tank (yeast, non-soluble proteins from the cereal, etc.)
This separates the bright, clear part from impurities and from any other components generated naturally during the process.
The pasteurisation process must be carried out before bottling the beer. The objective of this process is to remove micro-organisms that may alter the drink. This also enables the flavour of the beer to be enjoyed for longer.