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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:

    A 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.