Beer is traditionally, and in many countries, legally, defined as an alcoholic beverage derived from barley malt, with or without other cereal grains, and flavored with hops.
Barley malt is barley that has been purposely wetted, allowed to partly germinate, and then dried or kilned. This three-step process is called malting. Because barley is virtually the only cereal that is malted, it is often just referred to as malt. The drying stabilizes the malt and allows beer to be produced year round and in places far removed from where barley is grown. It thus differs from wine, which is only produced seasonally and only near grape-growing areas.
Other cereal grains that are used to make beer are rice, corn, sorghum, and wheat. The choice, depends on the individual brewer and often on the availability of the different cereals.
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