Glossary of Brewing Terms
Adjunct: Fermentable ingredients used in brewing that do not contain enzymes such as corn, unmalted barley, and sugars. It is used primarily in light beers as a cost effective way to increase alcohol.
Aerate: The practice of forcing air into the wort, usually by vigorously pouring the wort back in forth creating a frothy head prior to pitching the yeast.
Airlock: A device plugged into a small hole in the fermenter used to allow carbon dioxide to escape during fermentation.
Ale: A top fermenting beer which usually takes less time than a lager. They are usually fermented at warmer temperatures and contain more fruity notes.
All-Grain Brewing: The process of brewing only using grains and no malt extracts.
Alpha Acid Units (AAU): A measurement for hops by taking the amount (oz.) of the hops multiplied by the percent of alpha acids in the hops.
Attenuation: The degree by which yeast converts sugars into alcohol.
Barrel: Measurement that equals 31.5 US gallons.
Beer: Beverage created from malted barley and hops.
Blowoff: The procedure of using a tube that is connected to the fermenter and submerged in a bucket of water to remove carbon dioxide and excess fermentation material.
Brewhouse: The entirety of the beer making equipment.
Brew Kettle: The pot in which the wort is boiled and hops as well as other ingredients are added.
Brew Pub: A restaurant where beer is brewed and served on premise.
Body: Describes the thickness or mouth feel of a beer. Heavy and light are common descriptions.
Bung: The stopper often times used in a carboy or barrel to seal the pouring hole.
Carboy: A glass airtight container, similar to a water cooler bottle, used to hold beer during fermentation.
Chill Haze: Cloudiness that occurs from refrigerated non filtered beer.
Conditioning: An aspect of secondary fermentation, including in the bottle, when the flavors of the beer are further enhanced.
Dry-hopping: The brewing procedure of adding addition hops to a secondary to increase hop flavor and aroma.
Enzymes: The part of the grain that when heated converts the starches into maltose, which is the sugar used in fermentation to form alcohol.
Ester: A strong flavor in the beer created during fermentation that is often fruity or spicy.
Extract Brewing: Brewing using only malt extract and no raw grains.
Fermentation: The process in which sugars are converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Fermenter: An air tight vessel used to house the beer during fermentation.
Fining: An additive used to help clear the beer by eliminating floating particles.
Grist: Milled grains used in brewing.
Heat Exchanger: A device used to speed up the cooling of the wort.
Hops: The main flavoring herd used to both bitter and create aroma in beer.
- Pellets: Ground and pressed hops.
- Plugs: Condensed whole leaf hops.
- Whole Leaf: Unprocessed hops.
Hopback: A straining device used to remove the hop particles from the wort.
Hydrometer: The device used to measure the gravity of a beer which resembles a floating thermometer.
Infusion: The simplest forming of mashing by submerging grains in hot water.
IBU: International bittering units. A term describing the amount of bitterness in a particular hop variety.
Krausen: A term describing the foaming head that occurs during fermentation.
Lactose: A non-fermentable sugar derived from milk used to sweeten a beer without adding to the alcohol content.
Lager: A style of beer that uses bottom fermenting yeast at cold temperatures.
Lagering: The process of fermenting and aging a beer at cold temperatures.
Liquor: The water used in brewing.
Malting: The process of taking “raw” grains and forcing them to germinate by submerging them in water then dried to convert insoluble starches into sugars for mashing.
Malt Extract: The result of mashing grains and extracting the sugars. Used in extract brewing.
Mashing: The process by which hot water is poured over malted grains to extract sugars.
Mash Tun: The vessel used for mashing.
Maltose: A fermentable sugar in malt used for brewing.
Microbrewery: A small brewery producing less than 15,000 barrels of beer annually.
Partial-Mash: A term used to describe the brewing process using both grains and extracts.
Pitching: The process of adding yeast to the beer.
Priming: The process of adding sugar after fermentation and before bottling to create carbonation.
Racking: A term used to describe the transferring of beer from the primary fermenter into a secondary fermenter. Used to remove the used yeast which can impart an off flavor in the beer if left in contact too long.
Secondary Fermentation: The point of fermentation when the beer is placed in a sealed vessel from a week to even a year.
Specific Gravity: The measurement used to decipher the amount of alcohol in a beer by measuring the density of the beer compared to water both before and after fermentation.
Sparge: The raising of the mash temperature at the end of the mash by “spraying” hot water onto the grain bed to remove the soluble sugars.
Terminal Gravity: The final specific gravity reading at the end of fermentation.
Wort: The liquid strained from the mash tun after the mashing is complete. This liquid contains the sugars and flavors that create the base for the beer.
Wort Chiller: A copper device used to speed up the cooling of wort before transferring to the fermenter.
Yeast: The micro-organism used to turn the fermentable sugars into alcohol.