How Was Beer Brewed in Ancient Times?

In ancient times, beer was one of the most popular beverages in the world. It was enjoyed by people of all ages and classes, and it played an important role in religious ceremonies and social gatherings.

But how was beer brewed in those times? Let’s take a closer look.

The Origins of Beer

Beer is one of the oldest alcoholic drinks known to man. Its origins can be traced back to ancient civilizations like Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China.

In these cultures, beer was brewed using barley or wheat, which were soaked in water until they sprouted. The resulting malt was then dried and crushed before being mixed with water and left to ferment.

The Brewing Process

The brewing process in ancient times was quite different from what we see today. Here is a step-by-step guide on how it was done:

Step 1: Malting

As mentioned earlier, barley or wheat was soaked in water until it sprouted. This process is called malting and it activates enzymes that convert starches into sugars.

Step 2: Drying and Crushing

The malted barley or wheat was then dried over a fire to stop the germination process. The dried malt was then crushed using stones or wooden tools to break it down into smaller pieces.

Step 3: Mashing

The crushed malt was mixed with hot water to create a mash. The temperature of the mash was carefully controlled to activate enzymes that would convert starches into sugars.

Step 4: Boiling

Once the mash had been heated for several hours, it was boiled with hops or other herbs to add flavor and balance sweetness.

Step 5: Fermentation

After boiling, the liquid mixture – now called wort – had to be cooled down before being poured into a fermentation vessel. Yeast was then added to the wort, and the mixture was left to ferment for several days.

Step 6: Bottling and Aging

Once fermentation was complete, the beer was ready to be bottled or stored in large clay pots. The beer would then age for several weeks or months before being consumed.

The Role of Beer in Ancient Societies

Beer played an important role in ancient societies. It was used for both religious and social purposes.

In Mesopotamia, for example, beer was considered a gift from the gods and was often used in religious ceremonies. In Egypt, beer was a staple drink that was brewed by both rich and poor alike.


Beer has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. Although the brewing process has evolved over time, the basic principles have remained the same. From ancient civilizations to modern times, beer continues to be one of the most beloved beverages in the world – proof that some things never change.