What Is Wort?

Wort is the malty liquid that contains the fermentable sugars that are produced by the mashing process. The wort is filtered, boiled and cooled before yeast is added to initiate the process of fermentation.

In beer making, the wort is known as “sweet wort” until the hops have been added, after that is called “hopped or bitter wort”. Wort came from the Germanic word meaning “root”, in other words, the liquid is the root of the beer or whiskey. After the mashing process, the wort is transport into a kettle and then is flavouring with hops for being boiled. In old traditions, the kettle was made of copper but modern versions are made of stainless steel.

The wort boiled, it helps to sterilise the beer and it also allows hop bitterness to get in. Hops contain acids and oils, which gives the beer its bitterness and the aroma, with interesting results, like notes of pine, flowers and citrus.

At the end of boiling, sometimes hops are added again, then the brew is strained, the residues are filtered and the hot wort is rapidly cooled to a temperature favourable to the yeast (bacteria and wild yeasts are inhibited). If the wort is not cooled properly, the wort can cause off-flavors in the finished beer. Once sufficiently cooled, the yeast is added, or “pitched”, to begin the magical process of fermentation.


  • Beer (Eyewitness Companions) – Michael Jackson
  • Craft Beer & Brewing (Magazine) – WINTER 2014
  • The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbrewers Is Transforming the World’s Favourite Drink – Steve Hindy
  • Craft Beer World – Mark Dredge
  • Mastering Homebrew: The Complete Guide to Brewing Delicious Beer – Randy Mosher
  • How to Brew: Everything You Need To Know To Brew Beer Right The First Time – John J. Palmer




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