Below are some beer making terms or a beer terminology to get you started – to help you sound like an expert!
|The percentage of alcohol as measured in a particular volume of beer. (IE: 5% per 12oz)
|Alcohol by weight.
|The process of introducing more oxygen to your wort, a vital step the brewing process to ensure that your yeast will have enough oxygen to produce the most alcohol possible from your wort and in doing so maintain a good flavor profile for your beer.
|The air-lock is a one-way valve that allows excess pressure to be relieved during the fermentation process, but prevents outside air from entering and contaminating the beer.
|Also known as “ethanol” – It is the result of yeast consuming the simple sugars in your wort and converting them into CO2 and alcohol. Typical beers can range anywhere from 3.5%, to as high as 14% ABV!
|At the highest level, there are only 2 types of beers – Ales & Lagers. Ales are typically fermented with top fermented yeast and is usually fermented at slightly warmer temperatures.
|Refers to the % of sugar that can be converted to alcohol and CO2. Usually associated with the type of yeast used, as yeast with a higher attenuation rating will be able to convert more of the simple sugars to alcohol.
|A cereal grain – Barley is a base malt used in the production of beer and spirits.
|It is the “thickness” of the beer. Often this will correlate with the alcohol content of the beer, as more extract and sugars – mean more alcohol and a bolder bodied brew.
|A critical component of brewing almost any style of beer, boiling refers to the process of beer making where you are bringing your wort to a boil, all the while either steeping your grains, adding hops, extract & more to help define the beer. Boiling the beer also serves to help sterilize the batch and remove harmful and off tasting components of the wort, most notably: dimethyl sulfide.
(Note: That is why it is important that you do not boil your wort with the lid on.)
|A 22 oz. beer glass or bottle.
|The last state of fermentation, where beer reaches maturity. Often extra sugar is added prior to bottling to ensure that the beer will have enough sugar available to your yeast to achieve carbonation in the beer.
|A pressure release tube that is used in the bottling process.
|The separation of certain protein matter during the boiling stage (hot break) & cooling stage (cold break).
|For the homebrewers – this is essentially a large stock pot – where you bring your wort to a boil.
|The “Bung” is the rubber stopper that is used in conjunction with an airlock to isolate a carboy from the outside environment.
|The round hole in a cask or keg that is used to fill the vessel with beer and then be sealed off with the bung. For most homebrewers, this would be the mouth of your carboy container or food grade plastic fermenting buckets.
|A desirable trait for most beers to have, carbonation can be achieved several different ways, but most commonly this is done through adding a priming sugar before bottling or simply introduced as part of the pressurizing process of kegging.
|A large (typically 5 gallon) glass or plastic vessel that is used to ferment beer. Often the preferred method for fermenting beer by many veterans, as the glass variant is more resistant to scratches and bacteria.
|The term is used to reference the process in which carbonation occurs in the beer.
|A priming sugar used in bottle conditioning.
|More commonly referred to as “Tap Beer” – this term indicates that the beer was served from a keg, cask or serving tank.
|The process in which Hops are added at any point in the brewing process after the wort has finished its boil. This is typically done to impart aromatic qualities to the beer rather than bitterness.
|The technical term for alcohol, it is the colorless primary constituent of beer.
|A homebrewing process in which malt extract syrup or powder is used. (Typically for beginners)
|The process by which yeast consume the simple sugars in your beer, which results in their “waste” product of alcohol & C02.
|Meaning: “For Trade”. A term commonly seen on message boards & forums, where craft beer enthusiasts will offer to trade local brews with each other.
|The beginning of the life cycle for our grains & barley, where it begins to produce a small root.
|Gravity is the measurement of the density of your wort as compared to that of water. This measurement can be taken using a hydrometer to find your original gravity before fermentation and then your final gravity after. The 2 numbers are used to determine your brews final % ABV.
|A mixture of crushed malt & adjuncts mixed with hot water for the mashing process.
|A 1/2-gallon glass jug that is typically used to sell beer to patrons at local brew-pubs and micro-breweries.
|The foam present at the top of a poured beer.
|The craft of creating your own beer or wine from the comfort of your own home! In the United States, homebrewers are allowed to brew up to 100 gallons of beer annually -or- 200 gallons in a household where there are 2 or more adults of drinking age.
|Adding hops to the un-fermented wort.
|One of the key ingredients for beer. Hops are used to counteract the sweet/sugary content of beer with their very potent and aromatic bitter qualities.
|A graduated glass cylinder that is used to take a gravity reading of the beer before and after fermentation, which is then used to determine the beers final alcoholic content.
|International Bitterness Unit.
|Used to denote a particular beer as having more alcohol by volume than that of the usual version of that beer.
|India Pale Ale. This is a strong & hoppy beer, originally created to survive the long voyage over-seas in the 19th century. The extra Hops were added because they not only serve to make beer taste awesome, but they also act as a preserving agent in the beer.
|Krausen is the foamy head you usually find when an actively fermenting beer inside a fermenter is at its peak.
|Lambic refers to a type or style of beer making, where the beer is exposed to wild yeast in the air instead of being carefully isolated & sterilized. Typically yielding a dry or sour beer.
|Separating the spent grains from the wort produced during the mashing process.
|Is the scale used to measure/rate the darkness in malts.
|Malt is the result of barley that has been processed and steeped in water to allow for germination to begin. Once the grain/barley has started to germinate it is then dried in kilns to stop the germination process at this critical point, where it can be converted into soluble sugars in malt.
|The process in which crushed malt are mixed with hot water to convert the grain starches to simple fermentable sugars. This process also imparts additional flavor to the brew in the form of non-fermentable carbohydrates that will add color, body and flavor to the beer.
|An alcoholic beverage that is produced by fermenting honey (Also referred to as “honey wine”)
|A microbrewery is defined as any brewery that produces less than 15k barrels of beer annually.
|Grinding malt into grist.
|A term used in beer tasting to describe the thickness, taste & other sensations of a beer. More commonly referred to as the “Body”.
|Adding yeast to the wort.
|The first stage of fermentation in which most of the sugars are converted to alcohol.
|Adding additional sources of sugar to the beer prior to bottling to encourage carbonation during bottle conditioning.
|Transferring beer from one vessel to another – Usually referenced when bottling/kegging the beer.
|The 2nd round of fermentation, signified by moving the beer from one vessel to another. Moving the beer around serves to introduce oxygen into the mixture and encourage further processing of sugars by the wort. Secondary fermentation can last much longer – the length of which is typically determined by the type of beer being brewed and what traits the brew master is trying to achieve in the final product.
|Remnants of the brewing process that settle to the bottom of the fermenting vessels.
|A growing style of beers in the craft community. The intention here is to create a very drinkable, lower % craft beer that can be enjoyed several in a “session”.
|A cereal grain, like barley – which is usually found in “gluten free” or omission style beers.
|Specific to all grain brewing – To sparge: is to spray the spent grains with hot water in order to extract as much of the remaining sugars as possible.
|A strong Belgian style ale that is usually lighter in color and has a high ABV. Dangerously drinkable – These beers have a style all their own, usually introducing spices and fruits to help balance the beer.
|Introducing freshly harvested hops to the wort or fermenting beer to impart a different type of flavor profile than that of the more traditional “dry hopping”.
|Refers to yeast that is naturally occurring in the air. It can be used to ferment your own beer, it is ill-advised – as wild yeast strains are unpredictable in strain, quantity & overall impact on the result of your beer. See Lambic.
|A “white” style of beer, usually accompanied by coriander, orange peel or spices. A great breakfast beer!
|Wort refers to the un-fermented version of your beer. Typically, this is the state of your beer while boiling and before adding yeast.
|The foundation of all the beers in the world. Yeast is the micro-organism responsible for converting the simple sugars in your wort into delicious, delicious alcohol. There are hundreds of different strains of yeast, and just like the type of hops & malt you choose – Your choice in yeast will also play a key role in how your beer tastes!
Hope this beer glossary chart will help you on your homebrewing journey. Cheers!