Brewing Terminology

TermDefinition
ABCAlcoholic Beverage Control. Refers to the governing agency in the region that determines the laws and regulations surrounding the creation and distribution of alcoholic beverages.
(See http://www.ttb.gov/wine/state-ABC.shtmlwww.ttb.gov)
ABVThe percentage of alcohol as measured in a particular volume of beer. (IE: 5% per 12oz)
ABWAlcohol by weight.
AdjunctRefers to any unmalted grain or other fermentable ingrediants used in the brewing process. Most commonly used adjuncts include rice & corn but ingrediants like syrup and honey can also be a great source of fermentable carbohydrates.
AerationThe process of introducing more oxygen to your wort, a vital step the brewing process to insure 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.
Air-LockThe 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.
AlcoholAlso known as "ethanol" - It is the end 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!
AlesAt the highest level, there are really only 2 types of beers - Ales & Lagers. Ales are typically fermented with top fermented yeast and is usually fermented at slightly warmer temperatures.
AttenuationRefers to the % of sugar that is able to 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.
BAIn the craft beer community, this can have 2 different meanings depending on context.
>Beer Advocates (The beer rating community score for a beer)
>Barrel Aged
BarleyA cereal grain - Barley is a base malt used in the production of beer and spirits.
BlendingMixing two or more batches of beer together to create a unified flavor profile.
BodyQuite simply - 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!
BoilingA 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 steralize 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 don't boil your wort with the lid on!)
BomberA 22 oz. beer glass or bottle.
Bottle ConditioningThe last state of fermentation, where beer reaches maturity. Often times extra sugar is added prior to bottling to insure that the beer will have enough sugar available to your yeast to achieve carbonation in the beer.
Bottling WandA pressure release tube that is used in the bottling process.
BreakThe separation of certain protein matter during the boiling stage (hot break) & cooling stage (cold break).
Brew KettleFor the homebrewers - this is essentially a large stock pot - where you bring your wort to a boil.
BungThe "Bung" is the rubber stopper that is used in conjunction with an airlock to isolate a carboy from the outside environment.
Bung HoleThe 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.
CarbonationA 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.
CarboyA 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.
ConditioningThe term is used to reference the process in which carbonation occurs in the beer.
Dextrose(glucose)A priming sugar used in bottle conditioning.
Dimethyl SulfideAlso known as DMS, Dimethyl sulfide in high concentrations will impart the rather un-pleasant taste of cooked vegetables to your beer.
Draught BeerMore commonly referred to as "Tap Beer" - this term indicates that the beer was served from a keg, cask or serving tank.
Dry HoppingThe 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.
EthanolThe technical term for alcohol, It is the colorless primary constituent of beer.
Extract BrewingA homebrewing process in which malt exract syrup or powder is used. (typically for beginners)
FermentationThe process by which yeast consume the simple sugars in your beer, which results in their "waste" product of alcohol & C02.
FGFinal Gravity.
FTMeaning: "For Trade". A term commonly seen on message boards & forums, where craft beer enthusiasts will offer to trade local brews with each other.
GerminationThe beginning of the life cycle for our grains & barley, where it begins to produce a small root.
GravityGravity 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.
GristA mixture of crushed malt & adjuncts mixed with hot water for the mashing process.
GrowlerA 1/2 gallon glass jug that is typically used to sell beer to patrons at local brew-pubs and micro-breweries.
HeadThe foam present at the top of a poured beer.
HomeBrewingThe 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.
HoppingAdding hops to the un-fermented wort.
HopsOne of the key ingredients beer. Hops are used to counteract the sweet/sugary content of beer with their very potent and aromatic bitter qualities.
HydromterA 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.
IBUInternational Bitterness Unit.
ImperialUsed to denote a particular beer as having more alcohol by volume than that of the usual version of that beer.
For example: An imperial IPA would be stronger than an IPA, and an Imperial Belgium style quad would be....amaze-balls.
IPAIndia 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.
Jetting MachineA machine used to automatically wash bottles.
LambicLambic 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.
LauterSeparating the spent grains from the wort produced during the mashing process.
LovibondIs the scale used to measure/rate the darkness in malts.
LupulonesThe bitter tasting resin that is found in hops. (AKA - Beta acids)
MaltMalt 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.
MashingThe 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.
MeadeAn alcoholic beverage that is produced by fermenting honey (Also refereed to as "honey wine")
MicrobreweryA microbrewery is defined as any brewery that produces less than 15k barrels of beer annually.
MillingGrinding malt into grist.
MouthfeelA term used in beer tasting to describe the thickness, taste & other sensations of a beer. More commonly referred to as the "Body".
OGOriginal Gravity.
PitchingAdding yeast to the wort.
Primary FermentationThe first stage of fermentation in which most of the sugars are converted to alcohol.
PrimingAdding additional sources of sugar to the beer prior to bottling to encourage carbonation during bottle conditioning.
RackingTransferring beer from one vessel to another - Usually referenced when bottling / kegging the beer.
Secondary FermentationThe 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.
SedimentRemnants of the brewing process that settle to the bottom of the fermenting vessels.
Session BeerA 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".
SorghumA cereal grain, like barley - which is usually found in "gluten free" or omission style beers.
SpargeSpecific 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.
TrappistRefers to a beer that was brewed in a Trappist monastery.
TripelA 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.
Wet HoppingIntroducing 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".
Wild YeastRefers to yeast that is naturally occurring in the air, While it can be used to ferment your own beer, it is ill advised - as wild yeast strains are unpredictable in strain, qauntity & overall impact on the end result of your beer. See Lambic.
WitA "white" style of beer, usually accompanied by coriander, orange peel or spices. A great breakfast beer!
WortWort refers to the un-fermented version of your beer. Typically, this is the state of you beer while boiling and before adding yeast.
YeastThe 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 you beer tastes!
ZymurgyThe field of chemistry that deals specifically with the fermentation process.
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