Beer Glossary

ABV (Alcohol By Volume) The most common measurement of the strength of beer in terms of percentage of alcohol per volume of.
Adjunct A fermentable substance used in substitute of traditional grains, often used in lighter-bodied beers.
Ale Category of beer distinguished by the use of top fermenting yeast strains known as Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. The top fermenting yeast ferment at warmer temperatures and are more noticeable in the aroma and flavor of the beer.
Alpha Acid A chemical compound found in the resin glands of hop flowers and the source of bitterness in beer.
Attenuation The extent to which yeast consumes the fermentable sugars in a beer.
Barley A member of the grass family and a major cereal grain that is malted for use in the grist that becomes the mash in the brewing process and the source of fermentable sugars.
Barrel (BBL) A unit of measurement used by brewers. In the U.S., one barrel is equal to 31.5 gallons of liquid.
Beer Engine (Hand Pump) A device used to draw beer from a cellared cask without the use of pressured gas.
Body Determination of how heavy or light a beer feels in the mouth. For each style of beer there is an appropriate amount of body to be expected; generally classified as light, medium or full.
Bottle Conditioning A secondary fermentation that takes place in the bottle. The maturation can create new and complex aromas and flavors.
Brettanomyces (Brett) A strain of wild yeast that produces horse blanket or barnyard aromas in beer which are often referred to as “funky.” Brettanomyces is prominently featured in many Belgian ales such as lambic and gueuze but can be used in any number of other styles. This yeast also imparts a dry character which can be perceived as tartness but Brettanomyces is not the driving agent of the acidity found in sour beers.
Brewpub Pub that brews and sells at least 50% of its beer on site. Many craft breweries operate both a brewpub and separate production brewery.
Cask Conditioned Beer Beer that undergoes a secondary fermentation and maturation with yeast in a cask which creates light carbonation. Traditionally, these beers are served via a hand pump at a warmer temperature than a typical draught.
Diacetyl A volatile chemical compound and byproduct of fermentation which contributes to a butterscotch flavor in beer.
Draught (Draft) Beer Beer dispensed directly from a bright tank, cask or keg, via hand pump, air pressure or injected carbon dioxide.
Dry-hopping The process of adding dried hop flowers to fermenting or aging beer which increases a beer’s hop character and aroma dramatically.
Ester A volatile chemical compound and byproduct of fermentation typical of top fermenting ale yeast strains which impart a fruity character to beer.
Fermentation The chemical conversion that occurs when yeast converts sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Flocculation Used to measure the rate at which yeast settles to the bottom of the fermentation vessel. Yeast strains with higher flocculation will settle out of the beer faster once fermentation is complete creating a cleaner, clearer appearance.
Gravity The measure of density of the beer compared to water before or after fermentation. Before fermentation is known as original gravity (OG) and after fermentation is known as final gravity (FG).
Growler A 1/2 gallon vessel which can be filled at a brewery, brewpub or bar for the purpose of taking draught beer home. Typically made of brown glass.
Hops The common name for the herbaceous species of humulus genus. The flowering cones are used during the brewing process or fermentation to impart bitterness, flavor and aroma to beer.
IBU (International Bittering Units) A universal scale for measuring the bitterness of finished beer.
Lager A category of beer distinguished by the use of bottom fermenting yeast strains known as Saccharomyces Uvarum. The bottom fermenting yeast ferment at cooler temperatures which inhibits the production of esters and other fermentation byproducts therefore creating a crisper, cleaner beer.
Lauter To separate the solids from the liquid malt extract or wort.
Lovibond A universal scale used for measuring the color of brewing malts. The higher the number, the darker the malt.
Malt One of the four main ingredients in beer, malt is germinated cereal grains that have been dried in the malting process whereby the grains are soaked in water and then prevented from germinating any further by drying. This releases the enzymes that catalyze the conversion of carbohydrates into fermentable sugars. Ultimately, malts may provide a beer with color, aroma and flavor.
Mash The releasing of sugars derived from brewing malts by soaking the grains in hot water.
Mouthfeel Referring to the consistency or viscosity of a beer on the tongue.
Nitro (Nitrogen) Gaseous element that may be used to dispense beer when mixed with carbon dioxide. The nitrogen produces smaller bubbles and a creamy mouthfeel, typically used for stouts but can be applied to virtually any style of beer.
Noble Hops Group of hop varieties notable for the their unique aromas and flavors that typically possess lower levels of alpha acids resulting in a less bitter hop. These hops are from the “original” growing regions of Bohemia and Bavaria; specifically Tettnang, Hallertau, Spalt and Saaz.
Pitch The act of adding yeast to wort.
Priming The addition of sugar to beer during the maturation stage which initiates a secondary fermentation resulting in carbonation.
Reinheitsgebot Bavarian “Purity Law” of 1516 which required that nothing but malted grains, hops, yeast and water may be used in the brewing of beer.
Sour Beer A category of beer characterized by an intentionally sour taste and acidic profile due to the use of bacteria or wild yeasts such as Lactobacillus, Pediococcus or Brettanomyces. Techinically, any beer may be soured depending on the yeast used but is most common in Belgian ales.
SRM (Standard Reference Method) Standardized system used by brewers to specify the color of beer within a numerical scale. The higher the SRM number, the darker the beer.
Wort A solution created early in the brewing process once the grains come in contact with the water. Made up of simple sugars that are filtered from the mash during lautering. Wort is essentially un-fermented beer.
Yeast One of the four main ingredients in beer, yeast is the microorganism responsible for converting the sugars derived from malt into alcohol and carbon dioxide. There are many unique strains of yeast, all of which impart their own characteristics into the overall profile of the beer.
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